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Drake Relays Friday Night Action Does Not Disappoint


DES MOINES, IOWA -- Seven world bests were set in a two-hour span during the 105th running of the Drake Relays Friday night at Drake Stadium.

Athletes competed in ideal conditions with the temperature reaching a high of 78 degrees under sunny skies.

The men's high jump produced the third greatest competition ever on American soil with Canada's Derek Drouin continuing his rivalry with Erik Kynard, the 2012 Olympic silver medalist for Team USA.

Drouin, the bronze medalist in the 2012 Olympics and 2013 World Outdoor Championships, set a Drake Relays record and world best on his last attempt at 2.40m/7-10.5. He passed at 2.06 before clearing eight straight heights on his first jumps.

Kynard was second at 2.35m/7-8.50, clearing on his first attempt before missing all three jumps at 2.38m. Defending champion Dusty Jonas, the 2010 World Indoor bronze medalist, was third at 2.35m/7-8.5.

Kynard beat Drouin Monday night in an exhibition high jump inside the Hy-Vee Grocery Store Produce Department in Waukee, Iowa.

"I knew coming out of that competition that it set up a great rematch.

"It was a great day to jump," said Kynard. "The wind was perfect. The crowd was amazing. Everything was perfect. Although I don't like losing, I can't say I'm not satisfied with my season outdoor opener."

Cuba's Yardley Silva, 2012 Olympic silver medalist, won the women's Moscow Games rematch women's pole vault with a world best 4.66m/15-3.5, while missing all three attempts at 4.76m/15-7.25. Mary Saxer, 2014 U.S. Indoor champ, was second at 4.46m/14-7.5.

Jamaica's Hansle Parchment, the 2012 Olympic bronze medalist, clipped David Oliver, the reigning 2013 World champion, in the men's 110 hurdles Moscow Games rematch winning in a world best 13.14 seconds.

Oliver, who entered the meet with the world's best time at 13.26, was second in 13.23.  Ryan Wilson, the 2013 World Championship silver medalist, was third in 13.30.

In a unique event, American record holder and reigning World champion Brianna Rollins got Team USA Red off to a fast start en route to winning the women's 4x100 meter shuttle hurdle relay in 50.93, ranking second on the all-time world performance list.

Hometown favorite Lolo Jones, a two-time Olympian, ran the second leg followed by Vashti Thomas and Queen Harrison. Jamaica was second in 52.01.

"I think it's a really fun event and I was really upset they didn't include the shuttle hurdles at the World Relays Championships in the Bahamas," Harrison said. "We are going to keep putting up these times and pretty soon we won't be denied, but as long as they keep having it at Drake, I'll keep coming."

The Moscow Games rematch in the men's 400 produced the top three times in the world.

Competing in his first Drake Relays, 2004 and 2008 Olympic gold medalist LaShawn Merritt won in 44.44, toppling Kirani James of Grenada, the 2012 Olympic champ who clocked in at 44.60.

“Kirani was on my outside," said Merritt. "I knew it was going to be a great race. It was one of the most serious races I’ve ever run this early in the season, and with the field and whole world championship rematch on top of it, I knew everyone was going to come prepared. My mental part was there. I’m feeling good.”


“This was my first time at the Drake Relays. The crowd was awesome. I like how they cheered my name before I started. Great atmosphere. I definitely will be back next year.”


Running in lane four, Michael Tinsley sped to a world best in the Moscow Games rematch in the men's 400 hurdles in 48.57. Puerto Rico Olympic bronze medalist Javier Culson was second in 48.48, while Johnny Dutch finished third in 49.24.

Tinsley was impressed with the depth of the field this early in the season, saying, "I was kind of nervous coming out against a deep field this early. Usually you have a couple of meets to get your races under you before you go against the big cats. Today you have to come out ready to run."

Luguelin Santos from the Dominican Republic, the 2012 Olympic silver medalist and 2013 World Champion bronze medalist, was third in 44.72.

Kenya's Hellen Obiri, the 2013 World Championship bronze medalist, distanced herself from the field with 250 meters left to win the Moscow Rematch women's 1500 in 4:04.88, the fastest in the world outdoors this spring.

It was a deep race with Brenda Martinez, bronze medalist in the 800 at the 2013 World Championships, finishing second in 4:06.96. Heather Kampf, who won the USA One-Mile Road Championship in downtown Des Moines Tuesday, was third in 4:07.15.

Morgan Uceny, 2012 Olympian for Team USA, moved near the front with a lap left and gave chase before fading to sixth in 4:08.68.

American record holder and current U.S. leader Kara Patterson threw 56.94m/186-10 in the women's javelin, but passed on all three attempts in the finals, resting her surgically repaired left knee.

Contributed by Mike Mahon

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