Minn. to Des Moines for Drake Relays

Thousands will compete in the 99th annual relay at Drake University.

Nate Hackney

The Gophers women’s track team will travel to Des Moines, Iowa to compete in the 99th annual Drake Relays this weekend.

Historically one of the largest track meets in the country, Drake will play host to thousands of athletes during the four-day meet.

Last year, the Gophers women pulled off a rare feat, winning three relay races: the 4×800-meter relay, 4×1600-meter relay and distance medley relay.

The 4×800 team of juniors Jamie Cheever, Gabriele Anderson, Julie Schwengler and Heather Dorniden look to defend last year’s crown with their team completely intact.

While many would fold under the pressure, Anderson said the women are enjoying themselves.

“I don’t think I would call it pressure; we’re mostly excited to have the opportunity to repeat,” she said.

At last year’s Drake Relays, the foursome set a meet record, finishing in 8 minutes, 27.42 seconds.

For All-American junior Liz Roehrig, this weekend will be the first time she has ever gone to the Drake Relays.

Her freshman year, she rested through the Drake Relays, having competed in a heptathlon the week previous week.

Last year, she sat out the meet due to injury.

She said that this year she is most excited for the experience of competing in her first Drake Relays.

She will compete in only the long jump at Drake so she can fine tune mechanics for the final stretch of the season.

“Pretty much everything I am doing right now I just want to do technically right,” Roehrig said. “We’re not really worried about marks.”

Saturday, Roehrig will compete in the Kip Janvrin Open in Indianola, Ind., along with several other Gophers athletes.

Roehrig will compete in the 100-meter hurdles, shot put and javelin.

Roehrig heads into this weeked coming off a record-setting performance at last weekend’s Kansas Relays.

Roehrig was named Big Ten Field Event Athlete of the Week after finishing just 10 points shy of the Olympic Trials “A” standard.

Men’s track and field

The men also head to the Drake Relays this weekend with a small but highly-touted squad.

Indoor All-American junior Ibrahim Kabia, along with cross country All-Americans junior Chris Rombough and sophomore Hassan Mead will all be in action this weekend in Des Moines.

Big Ten Field Event Athlete of the Week Aaron Studt will also compete in the shot put, coming off a weekend in which he shattered his personal best throw by more than three feet.

Mead and Rombough will join seniors Eddie Kibira and David Van Ordsel to compete in the 4×1600-meter relay Friday afternoon.

Kabia will compete in the 100-meter dash preliminaries on Friday. If he advances, he will compete in the finals on Saturday afternoon.

Most of the team will compete in St. Peter, Minn. at the Gustavus Adolphus Drake Alternative Meet.