– U.S. stars Stephanie Brown Trafton, Jeremy Wariner, Lolo Jones, Adam
Nelson, Alan Webb, Christian Cantwell and Michelle Carter will headline
the 100th running of the Drake Relays on the campus of Drake University
in Des Moines, Iowa.
The second event of the 2009 USA Track & Field Outdoor
Visa Championship Series, the 100th Drake Relays will be televised
April 26 from 2 p.m.-3:30 p.m. Eastern Time on ESPN2.
This year’s Drake Relays, being held April 22-25 at Drake
Stadium, will feature 113 events, including 20 invitational events in
addition to high school and college competitions. Athletes from 66
countries will be competing in the meet, including 70 from Canada, 68
from Kenya and 49 from Jamaica. Officials expect 7,392 athletes,
representing 616 teams, will participate Thursday, Friday, and Saturday
at Drake Stadium.
Wariner to run 400 meters
A competitor in the invitational 200 meters in his last two Drake
Relays appearances in 2006 and 2007, 2004 Olympic 400m gold medalist
Jeremy Wariner will compete in his specialty Saturday at the Drake
Ranked #1 in the world at 400 meters from 2004-2007,
Wariner owns two Olympic gold medals in the 4x400m relay, and was the
silver medalist in the 400 meters at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Top
women’s entrant is 2008 World Indoor bronze medalist Shareese Woods.
Jones headlines 100m hurdles field
Moines nativeand crowd favorite Lolo Jones, the 2008 World Indoor
champion, will seek her fifth straight Drake Relays title in the Asics
Women’s 100m hurdles, in which she posted a meet record 12.72 clocking
in 2007. Jones, who won 10 of her 17 meets overall last year, including
the Olympic Trials in Eugene, Ore., ended the 2008 season ranked #1 in
Jones will face a strong challenge from 2003 world
champion Perdita Felicien of Canada, who returns to the Drake Relays
for the first time since 2005. Felicien is the owner of five Drake
Relays individual career titles and was named the outstanding women’s
performer of the 2002 and 2003 Drake Relays. In the men’s hurdles,
two-time defending Drake championand #5 world-rankedAnwar Moore, who
set a record of 13.39 seconds in winning the men’s invitational 110
hurdles in 2005, leads the field.
Webb returns to Drake Relays
record holder Alan Webb will return to the Drake Relays to compete in
the Visa Men’s Mile on Saturday for the first time since setting the
Drake Relays invitational mile record of 3:51.71 on April 28, 2007.
Later that summer on July 21 he set the American mile record of 3:46.91
in Brasschaat, Belgium. Also in the field are 2006 U.S. indoor 1,500m
champion Chris Lukezic and Mexican national record holder Pablo
Solares. The women’s 1,500m includes top American Sara Hall and 2007
Drake champion Jenelle Deatherage.
Brown Trafton headlines field event action
of the featured events of the invitational competition at Drake Stadium
will be the women’s discus, which returns to the Drake Relays for the
first time since 1988. Headlining the event will be 2008 Olympic gold
medalist Stephanie Brown Trafton, who will take one three-time Olympian
and American record holder Suzy Powell-Roos and three-time Olympian
Crowd favorite Christian Cantwell, who ended the 2008
season ranked #2 in the world, enters the Drake Relays Visa Men’s Shot
Put as the defending champion and a six-time winner of the event. The
2008 Olympic silver medalistwill face two-time Olympic silver medalist
and 2005 World Outdoor champion Adam Nelson and 2007 World Outdoor
champion Reese Hoffa.
The women’s invitational shot put will
feature America’s top four competitors from last season: Olympic Trials
champion Michelle Carter, four-time USA indoor champion Jillian
Camarena, two-time Olympian Kristin Heaston, and fourth-ranked Liz
World leaders featured in high jump competitions
Olympian Chaunte Howard and Texas junior Destinee Hooker both share the
2009 world outdoor lead in the women’s high jump with clearances of
1.92 meters/6 feet 3.50 inches. Hooker, who owns the Drake Stadium
record of 1.93m/6-4, cleared 1.90m/6-2.75 to win at the 2009 Texas
Relays, while Howard cleared that height April 4 at the Tiger Classic
in Auburn, Ala. Three-time OlympianAmy Acuff, who set a Drake Relays
mark of 1.93m/6-4 in the women’s invitational high jump in 2006, will
be looking for her fifth career title in that event.
The men’s invitational high jump will be headlined by 2008
Olympian Andra Manson, who posted the top outdoor men’s high jump in
the world this outdoor season at 2.35m/7-8.5 en route to winning the
Texas Relays. Manson will face 2008 Olympic Trials champion Jesse
Williams (ranked #1 U.S., #6 in the world), 2008 NCAA Indoor champion
Dusty Jonas, and veteran Olympians Jamie Nieto and Tora Harris.
Others looking to soar high at the Drake Relays will be the
men’s pole vaulters led by 2008 Olympic Trials champion and
fourth-place finisher at the Beijing Olympics, Derek Miles. He will be
challenged by his Beijing Olympic teammate Brad Walker, who is the 2007
World Outdoor champion, 2006 World Indoor champion and the American
outdoor record holder (6.04 meters/19 feet 9.75 inches). 2004 Olympic
Games gold medalist Tim Mack will be in the field, along with Athens
Olympic silver medalist Toby Stevenson. The men’s pole vault will take
place tonight at the Jordan Creek Town Center Mall in Des Moines.
Drake Relays heptathlon record could fall
2008 U.S. Olympian Jacquelyn Johnson should challenge the
Drake Relays heptathlon record of 5,788 points, set in 2008 by Fiona
Asigbee, from Columbia, Mo. Johnson owns a personal best of 6,347
points en route to finishing second at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials.
The last time Johnson stepped on the Drake Stadium track she captured
the heptathlon title at the 2008 NCAA Championships with 6,053 points.
For more information on the 2009 Outdoor Visa Championship Series, visit http://22.214.171.124/Console/www.visachampionshipseries.com