Iowa’s 4×800 relays post historic times at Drake

Both Hawkeye 4x800 relays made for an epic conclusion to Friday night at the Drake Relays.


Shivansh Ahuja

Iowa's Carter Lilly rounds the track during the men's 4x800m race at the 2019 Drake Relays in Des Moines, IA, on Friday, April 26, 2019.

Robert Read, Sports Reporter

Iowa left Friday night at the Blue Oval with a bang.

The men and women competed in the 4×800-meter relay, the first of five finals events in the 2019 Hy-Vee Cup.

The event was very significant for the men in particular, who did not qualify for the 4×100 and will need to make up all the ground they can if they want to win their third-consecutive cup.

The women’s relay group of Grace McCabe, Taylor Arco, Tia Saunders, and Mallory King combined to break a 32-year-old school record by nearly 15 seconds.

McCabe got out well and Arco maintained her fast start. When Saunders got ahold of the baton, she took off to run past then second-place Iowa State and catch up to Oklahoma State, which, at the time, held a massive lead. King maintained that position to finish in second place.

Oklahoma State, which finished in first, put up a time that currently leads the nation (8:25.41) to get past the Hawkeyes.

On the men’s side, the relay of Tysen VanDraska, Alec Still, Nolan Teubel, and Carter Lilly also put up a second-place finish.

Lilly and Cebastian Gentil of Iowa State were fighting for the lead for the last 400 meters and were neck and neck and going into the last turn the race before Gentil pulled away and gave Iowa State the lead.

The men ended up finishing in 7:22.50, the second-fastest time in school history in the event.

Both the men’s and the women’s team received eight points towards the Hy-Vee Cup for their respective second-place finishes.

“Being able to close out our Friday at Drake with performances like that was awesome,” Iowa Director of Track and Field Joey Woody said. “Competing at this venue is always special, but when you are able to break school records and perform well, things just go to a different level.”

Joining the relay teams towards the top of the leaderboard were the Hawkeyes’ 200-meter runners, who started off the Friday night competition.

For the Iowa women, Talia Buss finished in sixth place with a personal-best time of 24.19. Antonise Christian joined Buss by also putting up a personal record (24.40), a time good enough to win her finals section. Christian finished eighth overall in the event.

Antonio Woodard and Karayme Bartley took home second and third place on the men’s side. Woodard finished in 20.70 seconds, with Bartley coming in just behind at 20.71. Bartley’s time, which won his final section, was a career best.

Iowa Central’s Courtney Lindsay, who took gold over Woodard and Bartley, set a new Drake Relays record to overcome the speedy Hawkeyes, putting up a time of 20.56.

In the field, Hawkeye fans saw another noteworthy performance from Laulauga Tausaga.

Tausaga fell just short of winning her second event of the day. After winning the discus just hours earlier, Tausaga came in second in the shot put. Her best throw traveled 16.36 meters, compared to the 16.77-meter throw by North Dakota State’s Akealy Moton.

Competition will continue tomorrow at the Drake Relays, where Iowa will compete all day in the final day of competition.

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