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Simpson smashes American two-mile record at Drake Relays


DES MOINES, IA -- On the first night of elite competition at the 109th Drake Relays Presented by Hy-Vee, the elites shined bright. Jenny Simpson returned to her homeland on a mission to set a new two-mile American record and she did just that. On the field, Sam Kendricks won the pole vault and Vashti Cunningham won the high jump, both posting some of the top performances of 2018.

With plenty of hype and the pressure of a home crowd, Iowa native Jenny Simpson delivered a new outdoor two mile American record of 9:16.78. Closing with a 63-second final lap, Simpson took nearly four seconds off of the previous record, Shannon Rowbury’s 9:20.25, and finished more than 15-seconds ahead of second place finisher Rachel Schneider. Schneider crossed the line in 9:31.89 just ahead of third-place finisher Brenda Martinez, 9:32.82.

With just one miss on the night, Sam Kendricks won his third Drake Relay pole vault title with a meet and stadium record clearance of 5.83m/19-1.50, breaking Jeff Hartwig’s 2007 record of 5.81m/19-0.75. Kendricks’ mark is the third-best vault in the world so far this year. Chris Nilsen finished in second with a vault of 5.78m/18-11.50 and Scott Houston came in third at 5.70m/18-8.25.

In the women’s invitational high jump, Vashti Cunningham won with a clearance of 1.94m/6-4.25, the second best outdoor jump in the world so far this year. Inika McPherson, wearing a Power Rangers costume, finished in second with a leap of 1.91m/6-3.25.

Watch the final day of competition, Saturday at 9:30 a.m. EST on USATF.TV+. NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold will air elite coverage Saturday, April 28 from 3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. EST. Click here for a complete schedule.

Tickets can be purchased here and fans are encouraged to follow along with #MyDrakeRelays on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

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