DES MOINES — The men’s 3,200-meter relay at the Drake Relays pitted Iowa versus Iowa State. And it lived up to the hype.
The two in-state rivals duked it out from the gun to the finish line Friday night at Drake Stadium.
The Cyclones led the Hawkeys after the first leg by a mere hundredth of a second. After the second leg, Iowa led Iowa State by two hundredths of a second. The tennis match continued and Iowa State returned serve, leading Iowa by 1.12 seconds by the end of the third leg.
In the final leg, Missouri briefly inserted itself. The Tigers’ anchor began his kick with almost 300 meters left, taking the lead briefly. Then Iowa’s Tysen VanDraska began his kick with 200 meters left, retaking the lead.
But Iowa State’s anchor, Jaymes Dennison, has a sprinting background. He knew exactly how much he had left in the tank.
“I felt like if I could survive the first lap they were going to start kicking too early,” Dennison said. “But I have the speed so stayed with them. I tried to outkick them on the last 100 and that’s what I did.”
Dennison and the Cyclones won with a time of 7:27.98. Iowa finished with a time of 7:28.37.
“It feels amazing, especially with what happened last year, we lost to Iowa,” Roshon Roomes, the second leg runner, said. “We redeemed ourselves from last year. I’m happy.”
With the men’s win, Iowa State swept the 3,200-meter relays. The Cyclone women won the event just before. It’s the first sweep in the event since 2000, and the first time the Cyclones swept the event since 1979.
The two teams shared the winner’s stage on the field after the men won.
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“(Sharing the stage) was very special, because as we found out it’s been 30-plus years since it’s ever happened,” Frank Hayes, the third leg runner, said. “We’re just happy for it to happen again and be a part of history and hopefully next year we can repeat it.”
The women’s 3,200 relay wasn’t quite as close. Iowa State stayed in the three-team lead pack. Until it got to its anchor, Jasmine Staebler.
Staebler got the baton with a narrow, one-second lead.
“I kept looking up at the video board to see how close she was because I’m not always great at pacing myself,” Staebler said.
But the second-place runner, Annie Ubbing of Ohio State, wasn’t close.
Iowa State finished with a time of 8:36.51. Ohio State finished in 8:41.48.
Iowa’s dominant event of the day was the shot put, where the Hawkeyes completed a sweep of their own.
In the men’s shot put, Reno Tuufuli won with a throw of 60-8½.
On the women’s side, Laulauga Tausaga had a rough all-around day, up until her last shot put throw.
In the discus, Tausaga had five faults in six attempts. And her one throw that did count was not up to her standard. It only went 163-7, her personal record is 197-9.
In shot put, she was still having an off day. She had three faults in her first four attempts. She started to figure things out after her fifth throw, which went 152-7 1/4, good enough for second.
“Before my last throw, I looked up at my coach, and he looked at me and I realized that at this point, we can’t focus on what I did wrong, but we have to just keep going,” Tausaga said. “I said, ‘Let’s do it’ and I tried to get a big strike in and I guess it worked out in the end.”
She set an Iowa record with a throw of 54 feet, 11 1/4 inches.
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“I had a lot of lows (today),” Tausaga said. “Just to have this high, cancels those out.”
The other area individual champion of the day was Iowa State long jumper Jhoanmy Luque. Luque had similar struggles to Tausaga. Luque fouled on her first two attempts and only had one left to even make the next round.
She did, but she still found herself in sixth.
She took the lead with her fifth jump of 20 feet, 5 1/4 inches and salted it away with her sixth jump of 20-11 1/4.
Iowa’s Jahisha Thomas was scheduled to compete in the long jump as well. Both Luque and Thomas are top-10 long jumpers in the nation, but Thomas was a late scratch.
Luque wanted to measure herself against Thomas. Thomas best jump of the year is 21-1 1/2. Luque’s was her Drake Relays jump.
“I was surprised she wasn’t jumping because I saw her name on the list,” Luque said. “But maybe she just wanted to focus on the triple jump, so hopefully I can see her in the triple jump (Saturday) and have a good meet.”
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