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Former Iowa star Erik Sowinski achieves career milestone in Drake Relays 800
Runner-up clocked sub-1:50 for the 200th time
DES MOINES — The wind howled and the slate gray sky produced cold, trickling rain.
But nothing — not even a second-place finish — could stop former Iowa standout and elite runner Erik Sowinski from smiling Saturday at the Drake Relays.
Sowinski ran a sub-1:50 race in the 800 meters for the 200th time in his career. And even the winner of that special elite race was impressed by Sowinski’s milestone moment.
“I remember when I did it the first time,” said Isaiah Jewett, an Olympian who won the 800 at the 2021 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. “It was like, ‘Wow, I finally did it.’ And the fact that he’s done it 200 times is amazing.”
Jewett finished in 1:48.84. Sowinski clocked in at 1:49.93.
“I wanted that flag, man,” said the 32-year-old Sowinski, who holds the Hawkeyes’ all-time record in the 800. “It’s been since college since I’ve carried one of those on the track. Just kind of got stuck (early) and had to wait to make my move and almost made it up. But what an awesome place to do it. This place is really, really special to me and just having a lot of friends and family in the crowd makes it that much more awesome.”
Sowinski’s longevity- and performance-based achievement was accompanied by the usual feats showcased by some of track and field’s biggest stars.
— Two-time Olympic Gold medalist Dalilah Muhammad clocked a world season-best time of 53.88 seconds in the elite women's 400-meter hurdles. Her teammate, Gianna Woodruff, finished second.
“It just feels good,” Muhammad said. “I love (Drake) Stadium. It’s actually one of my favorite stadiums — sorry, Eugene (Ore.) — but I really do love it here.”
— Vashti Cunningham won her second Drake Relays flag by clearing the high jump bar at 6 feet, 2 3/4 inches under less-than-ideal conditions.
“I’ve always said I want to jump in the rain,” said Cunningham, a 2021 Olympic finalist. “So when it started raining, I was like, ‘Oh, now it’s my chance.’”
— 2018 Junior World Champion Tia Jones took advantage of early missteps by current world leader in the elite women’s 100-meter hurdles to sprint to a win. Jones ran a time of 12.84 seconds, edging second-place Tonea Marshall, a former SEC champion at LSU, by one-hundreth of a second.
“I’ve been running track since I was 8,” Jones said. “Now I’m 21. So just being here and being on the track and giving this season a go, I’m just grateful for it.”
Other elite race or event winners Saturday: Alison Dos Santos (men’s 400 meters); Ryan Crouser (shot put); Hansle Parchment (110-meter hurdles); Allie Wilson (women’s 800 meters); Laura Galvan (women’s 1,500); Sam Tanner (men’s 1,500); Keturah Orji (women’s long jump); and Chris Nilsen (men’s pole vault).