By JACK ROSSI
DES MOINES, Iowa – Sophomore Ian Eklin’s new lifetime best in the 10,000 meters highlighted the first day for the Hawkeyes as they opened up the 108th Drake Relays on Jim Duncan Track on Thursday.
Eklin was one of seven Hawkeyes to compete for Iowa. With most of the events taking place on Friday and Saturday, Eklin still gave Hawkeye fans something to cheer for as he was in contention to win the 10,000 meters and take home a white flag.
“Honestly Coach Hasenbank and I were talking and realistically we were trying to go sub-30:30.00,” Eklin said. “That was the plan, but I felt really good and about halfway through I felt amazing and coach said to keep it smooth and stay in that groove.”
Aided by nearly perfect racing conditions, Eklin grabbed the lead with four laps remaining, but could not hold on as he settled for a consolation prize of a two-minute personal best, placing fifth with a time of 29:47.06.
“I was able to take the lead and I really wanted to make a push for it, but I didn’t have the legs and the guys kind of got me at the end,” Eklin said.
Eklin now ranks sixth all-time in Iowa history.
“I knew I as top 10, but I did not know I made it to the top six in school history,” Eklin said.
Freshman Tia Saunders, who competed at the Drake Relays for Iowa City West in high school, set a personal best in the 800 meters with a time of 2:11.99. Saunders leads the Hawkeyes in the event.
Sophomore Andrea Shine capped off the day in the 5,000 meters with a time of 16:40.17.
The Hawkeyes return to the blue oval tomorrow at 9:32 a.m. (CT) for the women’s 100 meter hurdle prelims.