Iowa State stays in state for Drake Relays


Photo:Yue Wu/Iowa State Daily

Alexander Dillenbeck, runs in the men’s mile. Dillenbeck finished in second place.

Dylan Montz

The 103rd Drake Relays in Des Moines will provide the ISU track-and-field team with an opportunity to perform in front of fans close to home for the first time in the 2012 outdoor season. 

“It’s unlike any other track meet we’re at throughout the year,” said ISU coach Corey Ihmels. “If an Iowa State man or woman gets the baton and goes to the lead, you’re going to hear it. It’s the same for Iowa, [Northern Iowa] and Drake, as it should be.”

For junior Daniel Gruber, this weekend will be the first time he will get to compete in and experience the Drake Relays.

“I’ve only seen [Drake Stadium] on Flotrack[.org] with some videos and photos, but that’s about it,” Gruber said. “It looks awesome. I’ve heard that it is a big event in Des Moines. I think that it will be quite fun there.”

Gruber will compete in the 4×1,600-meter relay as well as run the 800-meter leg of the distance medley relay. Fellow teammate running the distance medley relay, sophomore Alex Dillenbeck said he wishes he would have had an experience like the Drake Relays in high school and that it is a cool experience to interact with so many different people, including the professional athletes.

“Most of them are still just normal track guys like us,” Dillenbeck said of the professional athletes. “They’re really easy to interact with and talk with. Once a track person, always a track person.”

Gruber also said he is most excited for the Drake Relay to see how the distance medley relay team will be able to perform.

“I think we have quite a strong [distance medley relay] with Rico [Loy] and Alex [Dillenbeck] and fast 400-meter runners,” Gruber said. “I hope we can realize our potential.”

Ihmels also said there might be a little more at stake at the Drake Relays by competing against all of the in-state teams, but that the Cyclones just need to stay focused on what they need to do on the track.

“At the end of the day, it’s just a track meet,” Ihmels said. “It’s a fun track meet and it’s a meet in our home state, which we don’t get to do very often, so it’s exciting.”

Competition at the Drake Relays began Wednesday with the first five events of the decathlon and will conclude Saturday evening at Drake Stadium.