Drake Relays: The golden age of boys' throwers is upon us

5 of the top 12 all-time shot-put efforts have been thrown this year

Mount Vernon's Tristan Wirfs is the defending Drake Relays shot put champion, and has thrown 65-10 1/2 in the shot and 195-2 in the discus this season. (The Gazette)
Mount Vernon's Tristan Wirfs is the defending Drake Relays shot put champion, and has thrown 65-10 1/2 in the shot and 195-2 in the discus this season. (The Gazette)

DES MOINES — It’s a fair argument that the premier events in the high school portion of the Drake Relays will be contested inside the track, and outside the stadium.

Welcome to Iowa’s golden era of boys’ throwers.

“We’ve always had one or two really good (throwers) per year, but the depth right now is really crazy,” said Mike Jay, Drake public-address announcer and track and field expert.

Consider this — five of the top 12 boys’ shot-put efforts of all time have been recorded this spring.

The defending Drake champion, Mount Vernon’s Tristan Wirfs (65-10 1/2) is tied for third all-time, along with Nick Phelps of Kingsley-Pierson/Woodbury Central.


William Blaser of Western Dubuque (64-6) is eighth. Jared Brinkman of Iowa City Regina is 11th at 63-6 and Jackson Coker of Cedar Rapids Kennedy is 12th at 63-4.

Led by Wirfs, each of the top six from last year’s Drake shot competition return.

“It’s just a special class,” Brinkman said. “We all like to compete against each other. We all want that title.

“Go to a track meet, and there’s all these guys that have thrown 60 feet ... it’s awesome.”


The boys’ shot put is scheduled for 4:30 Thursday afternoon, in the southeast corner of Drake Stadium, inside the track.

The discus is 9 a.m. Friday, a block north of the stadium.

It’s unlikely that any of these guys will topple Doug Lane’s 49-year-old all-time Iowa best of 70-11, but someone might flirt with his Drake mark of 67-2 1/4, also set in 1968.

“We haven’t had three guys go 60-plus at Drake since 1977. We might have five this year,” Jay said.

“And in the discus, 175 feet might not even place.”

Wirfs leads the discus field at 195-2, thrown last week at Solon and an effort that ranks No. 5 all-time.

The Drake discus record is 199-1 (Chase Madison of Newton, 2004), and the all-time Iowa best is 207-8 (Scott Crowell of Mason City, 1978).

“I think I can throw 200 feet. It’s been a goal since the beginning of the season,” Wirfs said.

“And if I can win the shot ... it would be awesome to repeat.”

The only junior in the group and the younger brother of Kiana Phelps (the girls’ state discus record holder, now at the University of Oregon), Phelps is next at 191-7.

Coy Kirkpatrick of Madrid has thrown 186-11, Coker 181-2.

These guys aren’t just a bunch of big grunts. They’re athletes.

Wirfs is a state heavyweight champion and will play football at the University of Iowa. Coker and Blaser are headed to South Dakota, Brinkman to UNI.


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“These guys are outstanding football players,” Jay said. “I’m sure they’re spending a lot of time in the weight room. Their level of athleticism is crazy.”

And now, they come together, the class of a generation, after the same prize.

“Drake is going to be ridiculous,” Coker said.

Wirfs said, “We all want to be the best. I think it just goes to show how competitive we all are.”


2017 60-foot shot put club

NameClassSchoolTop throwIowa all-time rank
Nick Phelps jr. Kingsley-Pierson/Woodbury Central 65-10 1/2 3
Tristan Wirfs sr. Mount Vernon 65-10 1/2 3
William Blaser sr. Western Dubuque 64-6 8
Jared Brinkman sr. Iowa City Regina 63-6 11
Jackson Coker sr. Cedar Rapids Kennedy 63-4 12
Maddux Richardson sr. Marshalltown 60-4 34


2017 180-foot discus club

NameClassSchoolTop throwIowa all-time rank
Tristan Wirfs sr. Mount Vernon 195-2 5
Nick Phelps jr. Kingsley-Pierson/Woodbury Central 191-7 11
Coy Kirkpatrick sr. Madrid 186-11 21
Jackson Coker sr. Cedar Rapids Kennedy 181-2 46

l Comments: (319) 368-8857; jeff.linder@thegazette.com


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