View Full Version : Wariner heads star-studded Drake Relays

04-28-05, 02:24 PM
More good Baylor pub.

Wariner heads star-studded Drakes

Posted: Thursday April 28, 2005 12:16PM; Updated: Thursday April 28, 2005 12:16PM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- The last time he ran at the Drake Relays, Jeremy Wariner fell flat on his face.

Now a two-time Olympic gold medalist, Wariner will return to Drake on Saturday for the first time since losing that 2003 race, determined to show why he has become the world's top 400-meter runner.

"This year, I'm running better than I did last year," Wariner said. "I'm just going to go out there and run a great race."

Wariner became an international sensation last year when he won the gold medal in the 400 at the Athens Olympics. He earned another gold by running the third leg on the winning U.S. 1,600 relay team.

But when he ran at Drake two years ago, he was just a skinny freshman at Baylor, though one who already had shown tremendous potential. Because of an injury to another runner, coach Clyde Hart had Wariner anchor the 1,600 relay, which the Bears had won nine straight times at Drake.

The streak ended when Arizona State's Lewis Banda edged Wariner by .01 seconds.

"I just got out a little fast and at the end, I felt the Arizona State guy right next to me," Wariner recalled. "I was trying to lean as far as I could to get the win. I just lost my balance and fell."

Wariner, who turned pro after the Olympics, won't have an easy time in this visit, either. Baylor's Darold Williamson, who anchored the winning 1,600 relay team in Athens, also will run the 400. Williamson, 21, was the only runner to beat Wariner last year.

"I think he and Williamson will come out of the corner, hit that 100-meter mark, they'll be side by side and battling it out to the tape," Relays director Mark Kostek said. "If we get that, I wouldn't be able to script it any better."

Wariner and Williamson are among the headliners in a field that includes Olympians, world leaders and outstanding collegians. The meet starts Thursday with distance races and high school field events.

Kostek, in his fifth and final year as director, beams at the names on his entry lists.

"It's probably the finest field of athletes I've put together in my five years here," said Kostek, who'll become Drake's associate athletic director for external affairs.

Those names include Perdita Felicien, the world leader in the women's 100 hurdles; Ben Kipkurui, who has run the world's fastest mile this year; Kelli Suttle, the leader in the women's pole vault; sprinter Churandy Martina, who has run the fastest 100 this year; Olympic silver medalist Matt Hemingway in the high jump; longtime favorite Joey Woody, winner of 12 Drake Relays titles, in the 400 hurdles, and two Olympic medalists in the pole vault -- Nick Hysong (2000 gold) and Toby Stevenson (2004 silver).

On the collegiate side, the 110 hurdles will feature Mississippi's Antwon Hicks and Oregon's Eric Mitchum, who have the two fastest outdoor times in the college ranks this spring. Hicks is a two-time NCAA indoor champion in the 60 hurdles.

Indiana's Aarik Wilson won the long jump and triple jump at the NCAA indoor met this year and will take aim at the Drake triple jump record of 55 feet, 3\ inches. He has a personal best of 55-9.

Alabama's Beau Walker returns after winning four times in the women's division last year, while Michigan's Lindsey Gallo comes back after anchoring three relay victories.

Walker, then a sophomore, won the 100 and 400 hurdles last year and anchored victories in the 400 and shuttle hurdle relays. Gallo anchored first-place finishes in the 3,200, 6,400 and distance medley relays.

"You look at the list and think, my gosh, I didn't realize how good it was," Kostek said. "It's just a deep field."

04-28-05, 02:26 PM
Lots of folks are out for Jeremy this year.

UNI, Homewood mull shot at Olympic champ

By JIM SULLIVAN, Courier Sports Writer CEDAR FALLS - Chris Bucknam is leaning.

There's no finish line directly in front of him. He's not even running at the upcoming Drake Relays. Yet Northern Iowa's track coach knows a decision on what to do with Dirk Homewood is around the next turn.

Homewood, the Panthers' star senior sprinter, has a chance to run in a special 400-meter dash Saturday at Drake. If he enters that race, Homewood will go against a field that includes 2004 Olympic gold medalist Jeremy Wariner.

For Bucknam and Homewood, it's not a track and field version of a slam dunk. The sprinter would not be available for a relay (probably the 4x100) if he competes in the special 400. Weather might also play a role in the choice.

Right now, the Panther head coach and Homewood are in no rush to reveal their plans. Yet that shot at an Olympic champion is very tempting.

"It will be a game-day decision," said Bucknam.

But the UNI coach added, "I would have to say we're leaning toward running (Homewood) in the 400 because he wants to run against an Olympic champion."

Homewood has met Wariner on the track before. They competed in an open 400 at an NCAA regional meet in 2003 and in a preliminary heat of the 4x400 at Drake two years ago. UNI, with Homewood anchoring, won that race before taking fourth in the finals.

Now, in 2005, Homewood could get another crack at Wariner. Or he could help UNI by passing on the special 400 and focusing on relays.

"I would love an opportunity to race against a high level of competition," said the Cedar Falls High School graduate. "But, there again, the Drake Relays is team-oriented.

"The obvious thing and one of the major goals is to be part of the UNI team and run in as many relays as I can."

One Panther relay that could perform very well at Drake is the 4x400. During the indoor season, Terrence Reid, Cody Eichmeier, Ryan Kedley and Homewood raced to a third at the NCAA meet while posting the second-best time in UNI history.

At Drake, the Panthers expect to see 4x400 powerhouses like Baylor and Texas Tech. That's fine with Homewood.

"We haven't really broken out of our shell yet," said the senior. "We're coming to that point where we start peaking. It would be awesome to do something spectacular at Drake.

"There are four Iowa kids on this (4x400) team. We want to make a big showing. It's a big meet for all of us. I'm not sure, but I don't think any of us have a Drake title yet. So it would be a big accomplishment for UNI track and field to win the 4x400 against that caliber of competition."

UNI expects to field competitive men's teams in a host of relays, including the 4x100, 4x200, 4x400, 4x800 and sprint medley. The women are also entered in the sprint relays.

"Ultimately, we'll go down to Drake to run, win titles and to place," said Bucknam. "It's kind of like a conference meet. If we get a great day and the winds are calm and things are right, we can run some fast times. We could qualify for nationals. But our first priority is to win some relays and do well."

Contact Jim Sullivan at (319) 291-1434 or jim.sullivan@wcfcourier.com

04-28-05, 02:29 PM
More stories about Jeremy & Darold

Published April 28, 2005

Relays stars enjoy watching each other compete


How can anyone keep up?

With more than 8,000 competitors in 113 events, even a seasoned track and field spectator could fall behind during this weekend's Drake Relays.

"I'm sure everyone has their favorite event and their favorite athletes," said Joey Woody, a world-class hurdler from Iowa City. "Sometimes, you get focused on those, and you miss some unbelievable things."

The all-Americans and elite performers at Drake Stadium struggle to maintain focus, and sometimes slip.

"I catch myself trying to see what other people are doing," said Perdita Felicien, a member of the Canadian Olympic team and a Relays crowd favorite. "I can't wait until I'm done, so I can watch the other athletes."

If the stars are spellbound, what chance does anybody else have?

"That's one of the toughest things about a big meet like this," said Greg Offerman, a returning high school champion from Charles City. "Not only am I an athlete, I'm a fan too. You've got to pick and choose."

Good idea. To get a head start on the 96th edition of the Relays, here's a preview of six must-see moments:

Today, 5:10 p.m. - Running events hit full stride when Michigan tries to defend its title in the women's 4x1,600-meter relay. Then, catch a glimpse of the high school boys' shot put, featuring Julian Vandervelde of Davenport Central, who leads the state with a toss of 56 feet 111/2 inches.

At 5:52, Sarah Wickman of Iowa City West tries to defend her title in the girls' 3,000 meters. She won last year's race as a freshman in 10 minutes 4.66 seconds.

"It was very surprising," Wickman said. "When I was in eighth-grade, I didn't really know what the Drake Relays was until I had a friend explain it to me."

Friday, 2:11 p.m. - Same distance. Two local favorites.

Des Moines East's Robert Thompson will attempt to prove he's still the fastest sprinter in the state when he enters the boys' 100. Iowa State's James Lopes, a former Des Moines North star, follows in a university 100 preliminary.

"I like to watch the college division 100," Thompson said. "I'll be watching the 400, too, because of (Jeremy) Wariner."

Friday, 3:30 p.m. - Charles City's Offerman can become the first three-time winner of the boys' 400 hurdles, but that didn't prevent him from tinkering with his technique.

He's spent the past few weeks adjusting his approach.

"I try to hit 13 steps up to the first five or six hurdles," Offerman said. "In the past, I've just gone out and run."

Shortly after Offerman crosses the finish line, the men's university long jump will begin. Iowa State's Tony Douglas tries to improve on last year's third-place finish.

Saturday, 1:05 p.m. - Burlington's Jenna Caffrey will compete in four races this weekend. The shuttle hurdle, however, has added significance.

"It makes it exciting because you can share the victory with a team," Caffrey said.

The women's invitational pole vault starts 10 minutes later. Two-time Olympian Kellie Suttle seeks her fifth win at Drake.

Saturday, 2:28 p.m. - Who do you root for?

The women's invitational 100 hurdles features Felicien and former Des Moines Roosevelt standout Lolo Jones.

Felicien hopes to rebound from an Olympic heartbreak, while Jones wants to make a triumphant return to her hometown.

"Come June and July, I want to be ready," Felicien said. "I'm going to be doing the full European tour again, and I can't shy away from competition when I go there."

The men's invitational high jump will probably take place before and after the showdown between Felicien and Jones. Olympic silver medalist Matt Hemingway plans to take aim at the Relays record of 7-7.

"I wouldn't rule it out," Hemingway said. "I should be ready to go."
Saturday, 4:33 p.m. - Golden rivalries punctuate the afternoon.

The invitational 400 pits Olympic champion Jeremy Wariner against former Baylor teammate Darold Williamson, who anchored the United States to a gold medal in the 4x400 relay at Athens.

"Coach (Clyde) Hart thought it would be a good idea to go back (to Drake) this year as a professional athlete," Wariner said. "I hope to actually run a lot better (in Des Moines) than I did in the past."

The men's invitational pole vault begins an hour before Wariner and Williamson approach the starting line. But Nick Hysong, gold medalist at the 2000 Olympics, and Toby Stevenson, a silver medalist last summer, should take off about the time fans are trying to catch their breath.

Trader Bear
04-28-05, 03:03 PM
Anyone see the Jeremy/Adidas ad in this month's Maxim magazine?

04-28-05, 03:55 PM
I don't get Maxim so I missed it. I may have to go check it out now and scan it in and post it.

Trader Bear
04-29-05, 08:36 AM
It's a 2-page spread, pages 36-37 of the Brittany Murphy issue. The ad is shot outdoors on the ice with a bunch of speed skaters at the storting line, and JW down on the blocks.

04-29-05, 08:58 AM
Ok, will look for it.

Trader Bear
04-29-05, 09:00 AM

Then click Climacool Revolution link

You get the ad. Pretty sharp.

04-29-05, 09:34 AM
Yeah that is better than a scan. Pretty slick.