Three Big Takeaways: Creazzola scores hammer PR at Drake Relays

Senior Antonella Creazzola (left) congratulates her teammate Danielle Hoyle during the women’s hammer throw at the Drake Relays on April 30, 2022 in Des Moines. Creazzola finished ninth overall in the hammer and broke her personal best in the process with a throw of 199 feet, 10 inches.

Adarsh Tamma

Iowa State wrapped up its week at the Drake Relays on Saturday in Des Moines, with athletes competing in nine events.

The Cyclones main focus was on the track, as they had four teams run in the distance and sprint medley relays on the final day of competition at the Blue Oval.

The Cyclone men’s squad, which came into the meet this week as defending Relays Cup champions, were unable to repeat their feat. They finished fourth with a total of 19 points from the six relay races contested, while rivals Iowa took the Cup with 36.

Iowa State women’s team finished seventh in their team standings, as they finished the weekend with a total of seven points.

Outside of the team events, the Cyclones also had a pair of top individual performances, as Katarina Vlahovic and Antonella Creazzola were both looking to close out their meets on a high note. 

Creazzola lays down the hammer

In the field events, Creazzola was Iowa State’s highlight of the day, as she established her second personal best in the women’s hammer throw. Creazzola’s top mark of 199 feet, 10 inches broke her previous PR by more than six feet, and launched her all the way up to the No. 2 spot on the Cyclones’ all-time list.

She now trails school record holder Hayli Bozarth, who became the only women’s athlete to throw more than 200 feet at the 2013 Big 12 Championships with a mark of 207 feet, 8 inches.

Creazzola got her best throw of the afternoon in the second round, as she started off the competition by throwing for 193 feet. After her second round success, Creazzola remaining four throws were all at least 185 feet.

This included her nearly beating matching her PR in the third round by recording a mark of 196 feet, 1 inch.

In the process, Creazzola finished ninth overall, as she one-upped her performance from a year ago. Her top throw also raises her stock in terms of the postseason, as she now is tied for the No. 27 spot on the NCAA West Preliminary leaderboard.

The top 48 athletes qualify for each individual event, meaning that Creazzola all but locked up her spot for the NCAA qualifier, which will be held at the end of May.

Creazzola’s teammate Danielle Hoyle finished the competition in 26th place, with her best throw of the afternoon coming in the second round by a mark of 152 feet, 6 inches.

Men’s team fall in distance medley relay

With the Cyclone men’s squad coming into Saturday looking to defend their Relays Cup title, they needed to produce a pair of top performances in both the sprint and distance medley relays having not fielded a team for the 4x100m.

Iowa State earned a massive 10 points from Friday, as their 4x800m quartet of Peter Smith, Cebastian Gentil, Darius Kipyego and Jason Gomez all ran splits below 1:51 to win and record a time of 7:17.47. That time is currently the fastest in the world, as well as the second-fastest in Cyclone history.

The sprint medley relay saw the Cyclones battle it out for the top spot with in-state neighbors Iowa, who came into the event having already amassed 22 points from the first three team events.

Through the first three legs, the Cyclones were towards the middle of the pack as Gentil handed off to Kipyego with the team in fourth place. Kipyego converted this position into a second place finish, as he was beaten to the line by the Hawkeyes’ Alec Still.

Still took Iowa to victory in a time of 3:18.06, while Kipyego clocked 3:20.39 for the Cyclones and earn the eight more points.

The distance medley relay proved to be not as great of a success, as the Cyclones finished eighth and earned just one point. They came into the event as defending champions, with their quartet of Gomez, Roshon Roomes, Daniel Nixon and Festus Lagat earning the title.

The crucial moment for Iowa State came in the exchange between the second and third legs, as Gomez fell after receiving the baton from Charlie Johnson. At that point, the Cyclones were near the back of the field, as Gomez tried to make up for the lost ground and handed the baton off to Chad Johnson for the anchor.

Johnson was able to make a bit of a comeback for the Cyclones, as he moved them up from 11th to eighth over the course of his mile-long leg. Iowa State finished with a time of 9:50.90, while their fellow Big 12 opponents Oklahoma State won in a finishing time of 9:40.60.

They ultimately made it a sweep in the DMR, with the Cowgirls also winning their race.

Vlahovic finishes top five in hurdles

In the 100m hurdles, it was junior hurdler Vlahovic again producing a strong performance for the Cyclone women. The event is clearly her specialty, and especially this season, as she came to the Blue Oval having already broken her personal best at the Sun Angel Classic with a time of 13.47 seconds.

Vlahovic was also competing without fellow Canadian and teammate Kaylyn Hall in the lineup, as she focused on the 400m hurdles for the week.

Hall’s time of 59.32 seconds had her place ninth in the event, as she ran her second sub-one minute race of the season.

Entering Saturday’s final, Vlahovic had finished fourth in her preliminary heat behind Michigan’s Aasia Laurencin. The pair would again meet in the championship-deciding race, as they would face also face competition from the Kentucky duo of Masai Russell and Darci Khan.

Russell was the runner-up in the 60m hurdles at the NCAA Indoor Championships in March.

Vlahovic was unable to catch Laurencin again, as she dominated the final by winning in a time of 13.30 seconds. Along with Russell, Khan and Vlahovic, Laurencin also beat reigning Big Ten Champion Destiny Huven of Wisconsin, who finished behind Vlahovic with a time of 13.56 seconds.

Vlahovic was denied a top-three finish by Khan, who nipped her at the tape by 0.008 seconds according to the official timers. Both runners were given the same time of 13.56 seconds however, which is Vlahovic’s second fastest time of the season.

She will likely see Russell and Khan again at the NCAA West Preliminaries, as all three athletes are currently qualified for the meet.

The Cyclones will have nearly a week’s rest before they return to the track on May 13 for the Big 12 Outdoor Championships. The meet will be held that weekend at the Fuller Track and Field Complex in Lubbock, Texas.