Elite hurdlers put on a show at Drake Relays

3 races feature new world standards for 2017

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DES MOINES — To say Saturday’s Drake Relays women’s open 100-meter hurdles field was stacked would be just a bit of an understatement.

Of the eight entrants, six have times in the event which currently rank among the top-10 in the world. Kendra Harrison won the race in a world-leading 12.56 seconds in the pouring rain at Drake Stadium.

“I wanted to prove to myself and everyone else that I could run in big meets,” Harrison said. “In London, it’s rainy there too, so if I can run in this, I can run there too.”

She’s referring to the IAAF World Championships, which will be held in August in London. Harrison, who missed out on the 2016 Rio Olympic games after finishing sixth at the Olympic Trials, seems to be ready to spend this season on a vengeance tour.

Harrison took the world record last year at London Müller Anniversary Games, winning in a blazing fast 12.20. It puts the 24-year old in prime position to contend for the next Olympic games.

While the Drake Relays maybe didn’t have quite the feel of the Olympics, even Dawn Harper-Nelson, a gold medalist in 2008 and a silver medalist in 2012 was a little shocked by just how good the field was.

“When they were talking about the competition, I was thinking to myself, ‘oh my god, we are so fast,” Harper-Nelson said. “I kid you not.”

They weren’t the only fast events.

The 100-meter hurdles was one of three hurdle events that saw new world standards set at the Drake Relays. Georganne Moline won the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 54.66, narrowly beating out Kori Carter.

World leader Ashley Spencer wiped out in the third turn of the race, the wet conditions certainly not helping.

That said, Omar McLeod was able to find plenty of success on Saturday, winning the 110-meter hurdles in a Drake Relays record of 13.04, just a tad off his PR of 12.97. It was an impressive run and a great way to start the outdoor season for the 2016 gold medalist from Jamaica.

“I didn’t really know where I was at, competitively,” McLeod said. “But this was a great, great race. Track record. It feels good.”

McLeod said he’d felt really good about his training coming into the meet, but needed some competition to help him get a feel. This were was first event of the season and the 110-meter hurdles field included four former Olympians.

An impressive group, one he was able to beat by two-tenths of a second.

Up and down the board, the Drake Relays were able to pull in a grand total of 68 former Olympians. So perhaps if the field in these events seemed a little stacked well, maybe, that’s because it was.

l Comments: jordan.hansen@thegazette.com

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