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Drake Relays: Iowa State 7th-year senior Abby Caldwell is a veteran, to say the least
25-year-old from Waverly gets her first Drake Relays title
DES MOINES — Abby Caldwell has waited a few years for this moment.
Quite a few years, actually.
“I’ve run at Drake multiple times,” she said. “My last race, I finally got my white flag.”
Caldwell quickly claimed control of the University/College Division women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase at Thursday’s Drake Relays Distance Carnival.
Her final time was a career-best 10 minutes, 5.62 seconds.
“I knew I’d be able to do that, but I didn’t think I’d be running solo (out front),” Caldwell said. “I was listening to my coach for my splits.”
It’s pretty easy math: “Ten-flat is 80-second splits,” Caldwell said.
Caldwell is a 25-year-old seventh-year senior at Iowa State University. She graduated from Waverly-Shell Rock in 2014. So she’s been running on this track for the better part of a decade.
And this was her first Drake title.
“It’s been a great journey,” she said. “I’ve had a lot of great teammates. Now, being older, I can help those girls.
“I think emotional maturity helps the most. And I try to use it to my advantage.”
Caldwell was an NCAA preliminary steeplechase qualifier in 2015, then again in 2019. She was sixth at the Big 12 meet in 2019.
Thursday, she ran faster than she ever had before. She pulled away gradually after the end of the second lap and won by nearly 9 seconds.
Joshua Yeager of South Dakota State, formerly of Center Point, was the University Division men’s steeplechase champion.
Yeager, who finished in 8:48.70, was actually second across the line. But the winner, Dan Michalski, was unattached.
Michalski’s time of 8:29.83 is a Drake record.
Yeager ran each lap between 69 and 71 seconds before closing in 68.
Alec Kray of Augustana (S.D.) withstood a late charge by Wartburg’s Joe Freiburger to win the men’s 5,000 in 13:56.24.
Freiburger, a Western Dubuque product who was running ninth with 1,200 meters to go, was next in 14:00.69. Freiburger bolted to the lead briefly in the final lap before Kray answered.
Freshman Leah Hansen of South Dakota State pulled away at the 7,000-meter mark and won her collegiate 10,000 debut in 34:03.03. Guttenberg native Kassie Rosenbum, a junior at Loras College, was third in 34:19.16, a lifetime best by more than a minute.
Erin Archibeck led a 1-2-3 finish by Notre Dame in the women’s 5,000, winning in 16:12.92.
ISU freshman Janette Schraft competed in her first collegiate 1,500 Thursday. She was third in the women’s unseeded competition, in 4:23.97.
Schraft won four state championships in 2019 as a senior at Glenwood High School.