The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Back together again at Drake

Athletes start somewhere before competing on the collegiate level, and for three Iowa sprinters — Jared Ganschow, James Harrington, and Brendan Thompson — it started at the Drake Relays.

This weekend, the athletes will return to Des Moines, where it began before they were Hawkeyes.

In 2011, Ganschow and Clear Creek/Amana competed with rival Fort Madison, Thompson’s alma mater, in the men’s 1,600-meter relay. Both sprinters said the outcome in their heat was close, but Thompson’s squad finished on top.

“We were always in the same events, and it was just a friendly competition,” he said. “Ever since my sophomore year of high school, we were always rivals.”

Ganschow, a native of Oxford, Iowa, was eager to take to the track against Thompson because they were both so competive in the relays. Their drive to win made the races more fun, he said, and it was always a battle.

In Thompson’s senior year, he competed in the men’s 100 meters against Harrington, who went to Cedar Falls High, a different district and class from Thompson’s and Ganschow’s.

Initially, Ganschow was going to compete in that event, but he didn’t because of a hamstring injury. Thompson came in ninth and he didn’t get a shot at finals with Harrington, who won the event.

While there was never a time the three sprinters competed in the same event, they were all on the oval during their time in high school, and all there for one reason — to win.

However, what these athletes couldn’t know is that they would wind up a part of the same program, competing in the same stadium in which they were once rivals.

That familiarity with one another helped bring them together. Thompson hosted old rival Ganschow on his visit before he committed to be a Hawkeye. The junior had no problem taking Ganschow under his wing.

From Thompson’s experience before committing, he said, he had lots of questions and wanted to clear those when Ganschow came to visit. He wanted to help him through the process of making the right decision about college.

“I actually hadn’t known he had come to Iowa until I visited, and I was surprised,” Ganschow said. “When I came here and saw what he was doing, it was so great to see that.

“It was a lot of fun to get to see him, know a little bit more about his races, and how he’s been doing since we ran. I had raced against him so much so we knew a lot about each other, and that made the visit more fun for me.”

Harrington transferred from Alabama after his sophomore year, and now all three sprinters are roommates and best friends.

This weekend will be the first time since high school all three will be together competing for the same program at the Drake Relays. Harrington and Thompson competed last year, but Ganschow didn’t.

“We’ve all competed at Drake, so we know what to expect, and we know the atmosphere,” Harrington said. “It’s always good to come back where you have history and show everyone you’ve been making progress.”

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