DMR looks to match last year’s performance

The Gophers will take most of their roster to the Drake Relays in Iowa.

Minnesota senior runner Maggie Bollig practices at the Les Bolstad Golf Course on Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2013.

Daily File Photo, Amanda Snyder

Minnesota senior runner Maggie Bollig practices at the Les Bolstad Golf Course on Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2013.

Megan Ryan

There have been 104 Drake Relays in the history of the prestigious meet, but it’s hard to beat last year’s for the Gophers women’s track and field team.

Minnesota’s distance medley relay team last year relied on current senior Laura Docherty to pull the team from fourth to first, which helped Minnesota claim its second title in the Drake Relays event and broke the school record set in 2007.

This weekend, the Gophers aren’t putting too much pressure on themselves to one-up that result.

“Even though, obviously, we have this kind of historic tradition there … every year is a new year,” assistant coach Sarah Hopkins said.

And this year will be especially different. Not only will some big-name teams from across the country make an appearance at the meet after skipping it in past years, but Minnesota will compete without Docherty, last year’s star and distance runner leader.

After a long year of cross country and indoor track and field, Docherty is resting most of this outdoor season to save herself for the postseason. She competed amid an undisclosed injury and some discomfort during the indoor season.

“She’s really disappointed about [the] Drake [Relays] just because she obviously had a great experience there last year and is really tied to it,” Hopkins said.

Gophers senior Te’Shon Adderley will be the only member of the record-breaking relay team who will compete again this year. She ran at the Drake Relays for the first time last year and called it one of the greatest experiences of her life.

“Just the intensity there, it just wakens us up,” she said. “It just puts you in a different mood.”

Minnesota senior Maggie Bollig will be one of the new faces on the distance medley relay team, running the mile leg that Docherty championed last year.

“I’ve never been on a relay with any of the girls that are going to be on this team,” she said. “So I’m just excited to see what we can do.”

Bollig is aware of what a “very big deal” the Drake Relays are for the team. She is also running with a group of fifth-year seniors in the 4×1,600-meter relay, an event Minnesota holds the meet record in from 2010.

The Gophers also have records in the 4×800-meter relay from 2007 and the triple jump from 2003. Hopkins said the team feels privileged to compete at such a storied meet where the Gophers have a legacy of battling for the win.

With tradition looming, Adderley said Minnesota can only do one thing.

“Just expect greatness,” she said.