Parkos shakes fatigue at Drake Relays

Allison Younge

Gophers women’s track throws specialist Dani Parkos launched a personal record this weekend in the shot put at the Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa.
Parkos’ throw of 48 feet, 10 inches gave her a second-place finish at the Relays and the fourth-best throw in Gophers history. The mark provisionally qualified her for the NCAA championships for the third time this season.
Parkos didn’t stop there, however. She also competed in her primary event, the discus, and placed third overall with a throw of 158-3.
Questions surrounded Parkos (a native of Grand Forks, N.D.) on whether she would be able to focus on her events after the mental fatigue she has faced over the past two weeks concerning the flooding in her hometown.
After learning her home had been flooded by the Red River last week, she traveled to Fargo, N.D., for three days to spend time with her family. She came back Wednesday to prepare for the Drake Relays, which started on Friday. Her high marks this weekend gave no evidence of fatigue.
Following Parkos’ impressive lead were a pair of freshmen. Nicole Chimko placed third in the javelin with a toss of 154-9 and Christine Gulbrandsen finished fifth in the triple jump at 40-2.
Gulbrandsen’s mark ranks as the third-best in Gophers history. Chimko provisionally qualified for NCAAs at the Raleigh Relays earlier this season with a throw of 156-11.
Junior distance runner Kari Thompson accomplished a feat of her own at the Drake Relays. Thompson finished 10th in the 10,000-meters, recording the sixth-fastest time in Gophers history at 36:00.02.
Macalester Invitational
The athletes who didn’t attend the Drake Relays competed at the Macalester Invitational in St. Paul this weekend. The Gophers placed 10th as a team with 26 points. St. Thomas won the meet with 130 points.
Junior Andrea Swansby placed second in the 5,000 with a time of 18:41.25. Gophers senior Janet Howe followed by taking third in the 5,000 with a time of 18:50.05.
Freshman distance runner Tiffany Barron placed sixth in the 3,000 while sophomore Marissa McGill finished seventh in the 1,500.
Penn Relays
Sophomore Apasha Blocker provisionally qualified for NCAAs after placing second in the heptathlon Wednesday at the Penn Relays in Philadelphia. Blocker recorded 5,146 points for the runner-up finish.