Men's 4x4 Wins Preliminary, Six Others Qualify for Saturday's Finals

April 23, 2010

Photo Gallery

Iowa City, IA – Friday’s events at the 101st annual Drake Relays were largely preliminary running events and the University of Iowa track squads took full advantage of their opportunities, qualifying two relay teams and two individuals to Saturday’s final events. Additionally, Friday saw the beginning of the field events and high finishes for a few Hawkeyes.

The men’s 4×4 relay team will look to duplicate Friday’s result on Saturday, after winning the preliminary relay with a time of 4:08.97. It’s the first time this team, consisting of juniors Steven Willey, Chris Barton, senior Ray Varner, and sophomore Erik Sowinski, have run as a team this season. Coming into this weekend, Sowinski led the Big Ten and ranked 15th in the nation in the 400-meter dash. The men’s 4×1 team will have a chance to defend their 2009 title, as Friday’s fifth place finish of 41.01 will put them in Saturday’s finals. Sophomore Stephen Bee is the newcomer to the squad, as sophomores D’Juan Richardson, Patrick Richards, and junior Zeke Sayon were all part of the 2009 4×1 team.

Iowa’s women’s squad will be sending two of Friday’s individual event participants to Saturday’s finals, with junior Karessa Farley and senior Rhonda-Kaye Trusty advancing in the 100-meter hurdles and 100-meter dash, respectively. Farley won her heat and placed fourth overall in the 100-meter hurdles (13.90). She will be looking to out-do her second-place finish at last season’s Drake Relays. Trusty placed sixth in the 100-meter dash at 11.92. Farley and Trusty, along with junior Kara-Aretha Graham and freshman Raven Moore, earned Iowa a tenth-place finish in Friday’s 4×1 relay preliminaries (46.43).

“It was a tough day of near misses and some disappointment,” said Women’s Head Coach Layne Anderson. “We barely missed qualifying in a few events, like the 4×4 and 4×1. There were still some good things, we have Trusty and Farley moving on to tomorrow and we’ll have some other quality competitors on Saturday as well.”

Freshman Matt Beyers continued his successful first-year campaign in the javelin, placing third at 205-08. The reliable sophomore duo of Ryan Lamparek and Matt Banse placed third (57-2 3/4, 17.44) and eleventh (53-3 1/2, 16.24m), respectively, in the shot put. Both are collegiate bests. The women’s 4×8 team of sophomores Betsy Flood, McKenzie Melander, and juniors Bethany Praska and Lauren Hardesty placed fourth in Friday’s finals at 8:54.45. Iowa’s formidable distance group of juniors James Paul, Jesse Luciano, sophomore Chase Kadlec, and freshman Jeffrey Thode cruised their way to an eighth-place finish (17:01.46) in the 4×1,600-meter relay.

“I thought we had a good first day,” said Men’s Head Coach Larry Wieczorek. “We had two third-place finishes and we had two relays qualify for tomorrow, so we’re looking forward to some quality relays and good individual performances to close out competition.”

Friday’s qualifiers and a multitude of other Hawkeyes will wrap up the long week of competition at the Drake Relays on Saturday. Events are scheduled to begin at 8 a.m.