Athletics News

Drake Relays — Hurdlers And Wildcats

Drake Relays — Hurdlers And Wildcats

Cindy Sember took the 100 hurdles. Fan fave 41-year-old Lolo Jones joined the meet’s hall of fame. (LUKE LU)

DES MOINES, IOWA, April 24-27 — With the countdown to the U.S. Olympic Trials well underway, it was only fitting that the 114th running of the Drake Relays showcased a lot of Citius, Altius and Fortius.

Drake weekend is 6 weeks prior to the NCAA, 8 weeks before the first Trials weekend and fewer than 100 days until track starts in Paris. Time will fly over these next three months just as athletes do their own kind of flying on the track.

To that end, they want to get serious about “Citius” every week and it started on Drake’s blue oval as fast times made their spring appearance. The pro and collegiate hurdlers — as is the norm here — popped some top-notch times along with Kentucky’s men and women dominating various and sundry baton events.

Cindy Sember cruised to a legal 12.59 win in the 100m hurdles over Demisha Roswell (12.68) in a World Athletics Continental Tour event. But Sember ceded the crowd’s pre-race attention to 41-year-old Des Moines native and Olympian Lolo Jones, who got a rousing welcome and then grabbed 5th in a most credible 13.10. Jones had been inducted into the Relays athlete hall of fame a couple days earlier.

“I’m very, very happy with the win,” said Sember, after her fourth victory at Drake. “It’s still early in the season. I’ve been working on my strength in the weight room. I’ve been here so many times as a collegian and pro. It’s always great coming back.”

“This has been my home track at every stage of my life,” said Jones. “I still have 12.9 in my legs but the races [(track vs. bobsled] are a whole different ballgame. My start is killing me.”

Nebraska’s Darius Luff zipped 13.25 for the men’s highs, besting Cameron Murray (13.34) and Dylan Byrd (13.38).

The one-lap CT hurdle race was a good one for a fast-finishing Deshae Wise, who overtook Lauren Hoffman for the win at the wire in 55.52, 0.2 up on Hoffman. On the men’s side, it was Aldrich Bailey (48.82) taking the measure of Trevor Bassitt (48.93).

Drake’s track must seem like home to Kentucky coach Lonnie Greene, a Relays coaches’ hall of fame inductee this week, who saw his team celebrate with six relay wins en route to the Relays Cup for both genders. The men won the 4 x 100 in a Relays record 38.66 and the 4×4 in 3:03.06. The women did likewise in 44.38 and 3:31.88 after earlier notching a sprint medley…

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