The More You Know: Tysen VanDraska

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IOWA CITY, Iowa — Junior Tysen VanDraska specializes in long sprints on the University of Iowa track and field team.

Last season, he anchored the sprint medley relay at the Drake Relays (3:18.11), ran the second leg of the team-leading 3,200-meter relay (7:45.02), and led the team-leading distance medley relay at the Florida Relays (10:12.53). He also ran his best collegiate 800 meters at the Florida Relays (1:49.65), ranking ninth on Iowa’s all-time top-10 list.

VanDraska is a native of Swisher, Iowa. During his sophomore season, he earned academic All-Big Ten and USTFCCCA all-academic honors.

What are you most excited for this year? 
“I am most excited for the Big Ten Outdoor Championships to be held here at Iowa.”  

What do you want to achieve this season?  
“This year, as a team, our main goal is to win the Big Ten Championships. Personally, I hope to contribute with a top three finish in the 800 meters.”  

What is your favorite memory as a Hawkeye?  
“My favorite memory is winning the Drake Relays 3,200-meter relay when I was a freshman. It was particularly special for us because all four of us were from Iowa and ran at the Drake Relays in high school.”  

What is your best advice for the freshmen?  
“Follow the lead of upperclassmen. We have a lot of All-Americans and Big Ten medalists on the team. If you want to be one of those guys someday, do as they do in everything.” 

What made you choose to come to Iowa?  
“The coaching staff played a huge role in getting me to come here. I could tell that they all cared about their athletes, were extremely knowledgeable and passionate about track and field, and wanted each individual to succeed.”  

If not track & field, what sport would you play? 
“I would definitely play ice hockey. I played hockey for 15 years before college and would gladly continue to play if I were not a track athlete.”   

What is one thing people don’t know about you?  
“I am a very skilled foosball player.”  

Do you have any pre-meet rituals?  
“Before a race, I like to play with a fidget spinner or solve a Rubik’s Cube just to keep my mind occupied.” 

When you’re not practicing, what is your favorite thing to do?    
“My favorite thing to do when not practicing is going to the movie theater and watching a movie.” 

If you could choose anywhere to live, where would you choose?
“I wouldn’t want to live anywhere but Iowa.”  

Where’s your favorite spot on campus? 
“My favorite spot on campus is the Pentacrest at night during the winter because it is always so calm and peaceful.” 

What is your favorite meal? 
“A medium-rare steak, corn, and a baked potato.”