DES MOINES — A Big Ten Championships preview broke out Saturday at the Drake Relays in the men’s 1,600-meter relay.
Ohio State led most of the way with Iowa hanging back in second. Illinois followed closely behind and Purdue was next.
Ohio State started the final leg in the lead, but Iowa’s Mar’yea Harris quickly took over.
“I was running, and I was like, ‘OK, the Ohio State guy is right here,’” Harris said. “He didn’t get out fast enough, so I thought I would just pass him now. The last 100 I heard the crowd start screaming, so I ran as fast as possible.”
When Harris crossed the finish line, he looked behind him to check where Ohio State anchor Drelan Bramwell was.
He was several meters behind.
Iowa won the 1,600-meter relay with a time of 3:05.05. Ohio State finished in 3:06.78 and Illinois crossed in 3:07.64.
The win also propelled Iowa to a Hy-Vee Cup victory. The Hawkeyes were six points behind Iowa State before the event.
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“I was thinking we need to win,” Harris said. “If we don’t win, we’re going to lose the Hy-Vee Cup and I don’t want to lose the Hy-Vee Cup.
“The whole time, (I was thinking) get the 10 points to make sure we beat Iowa State.”
Even though Iowa did take home the Hy-Vee Cup, Iowa State had its fair share of individual titles on Saturday.
The Cyclones edged out the Hawkeys in the sprint medley relay by 0.38 seconds.
Iowa led nearly the whole way because Iowa State doesn’t have sprinters on its team.
But once the race got to the 800-meter leg, Iowa State took over.
“You can run as fast as you want in the beginning, but if you can’t finish, you can’t get the win,” Jaymes Dennison said.
The Cyclones’ anchor, Roshon Roomes, used the first lap of the 800 to catch up to Iowa, and on the second lap, he bided his time before he made his move.
“If I tried to kick to early, I probably would’ve died the last 100 meters,” Roomes said. “My mindset the last lap was stay composed, stay behind him, and then once you get to that 200-meter spot, give it all you got. I was happy we were able to get the win.”
His kick led to a near-photo finish win for the Cyclones over the Hawkeyes.
“Racing Iowa, it’s like the Olympics to them,” Dennison said. “They go out here and try to beat us in every event. We came out here and did our job.”
The Drake Relays also led off the day with an Iowa versus Iowa State matchup in the women’s triple jump.
Iowa State’s Jhoanmy Luque led the event early with a jump of 43 feet, 3 1/4 inches on her first jump. Iowa’s Jahisha Thomas, came back in her second jump and set a new personal record, at 43 feet, 8 1/2 inches.
That lit a fire under Luque.
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“After I saw that she was in first place, I had to go after it,” Luque said. “I’m very competitive. She put a great jump together, but I knew I could do the same.”
Not only did she do the same, she made sure the competition was over before the final flight.
Luque jumped 44 feet 8 inches, an inch and a half short of her PR.
After the first flight, Thomas elected to pass on her three jumps in the final flight.
“Basically, she just told me that she was done,” Luque said. “I was kind of sad. I was like, ‘Why are you done?’ and she just wanted to have the three jumps.”
But Luque kept competing, and she kept building her lead with each jump.
She had a wind aided 44 foot, 9 3/4 inch jump. And on her last jump, she put a stamp on the competition.
Her final attempt was 44 feet, 11 inches, non-wind aided, a new personal record and a half-inch short of the Iowa State record.
“For my last jump, I had something in me that said, ‘This is the jump,’” Luque said. “I told my coach that I’m ready and I just need one more jump because after my fifth jump, it was also great, and he was asking if I wanted to just shut it down because I was going to win anyway. I said no, there is something in me that I know I can have a great jump. He said OK, just go for it. It was a great jump, a PR. I’m so happy.”
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