Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Huskies make trek to Drake Relays, while rest of Washington D1/D2 schools stay close to home...

The University of Washington travels to Des Moines, Iowa to compete at the famed Drake Relays on the blue oval of Drake Stadium beginning Thursday.

The appearance by the Huskies at the Drake Relays marks the team's first since the 2004 season; however, several members of the team have competed there before, either at the NCAA championships or the USA championships last year.

The Drake Relays mark a return for Des Moines native Katie Flood (left/photo by James Kirby).  On the blue oval, Flood, a graduate of Dowling Catholic, won six Drake Relays titles in high school, as well as the 2012 NCAA outdoor 1500 meter crown.

Washington is entered in nine different relays over the next three days.  On Thursday, both the men and women will run in the 4 x 1600 relay.  Friday, the UW women will run both the 4 x 100 and 4 x 400 relays, and the men will run the 4 x 800.

Closing things out on Saturday, both the men and women are entered in the sprint medley (200-200-400-800), and the distance medley relay, an event in which the Husky men placed eighth indoors at the NCAA championships.

Senior Rob Webster Jr is entered in the 10000 on Thursday, while 400 hurdlers Gianna Woodruff and Kayla Stueckle race on Friday.  Finally, 2013 NCAA qualifier Chris Williams goes in the 110 hurdles on Saturday.

Running the mid-distance legs for the women will be a combination of Flood, Eleanor Fulton, Erin Johnson, Katie Knight, and Liberty Miller, with Haley Jacobson and Krista Armstead doing the sprinting with Woodruff and Stueckle.

On the men's side, Izaic Yorks, Blake Nelson, Nick Harris, Meron Simon, Brad Whitley and Derrick Daigre will see action.  The Husky sprinters on the trip include Andrew Brown, Travis Marshall, Quadelle Satterwhite, and Williams.

Several Washington pros are entered over the next three days, including Kara Patterson (javelin), Jeshua Anderson (400 hurdles), Katie Mackey (1500) and Brad Walker (pole vault).

All of the other eight Washington Division I and II schools are staying close to home this weekend.  Washington State hosts the 14th annual Cougar Invitational at Mooberry Track in Pullman, while Eastern Washington and Gonzaga will travel to the Duane Hartman Invitational April 24-25 in Spokane, hosted by Spokane Community College.

Seattle University, along with Central Washington, Seattle Pacific, and Saint Martin's, will head up to Bellingham for the Ralph Vernacchia Invitational hosted by Western Washington University.


University of Washington alum and two-time US Olympian Brad Walker finished third in the Pole Vault at the Mall competition held in conjunction with the Drake Relays at the Jordan Town Creek Center Wednesday night.

Walker cleared 18-8 3/4 (5.71m), the same height cleared by winner and reigning world and Olympic champion Renaud Lavillenie of France, and runner-up Steve Lewis of Great Britain.

Walker and Kylie Hutson won the combined title, jumping a combined height of 34-0, with Hutson clearing 15-4 1/4 (4.68m), in the women's competition.  Hutson, the 2011 champion, finished second to Cuba's Yarisley Silva, the 2012 Olympic silver medalist, who cleared the same height for the win.

Silva and Hutson currently share the world lead with that mark.

NOTE:  The Drake Relays and the University of Washington sports information department contributed to this report.

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