Iowa women win first Hy-Vee Cup in program history

At the 110th Drake Relays, the Iowa women used a great performance in the sprint medley relay to top the leaderboard and bring the cup home.


Shivansh Ahuja

Iowa’s Taylor Arco runs in the women’s 4x800m race at the 2019 Drake Relays in Des Moines, IA, on Friday, April 26, 2019. Iowa earned second in the event with a time of 8:31.84.

Robert Read, Sports Reporter

For the first time, Iowa women’s track and field has won the Hy-Vee Cup at the Drake Relays.

The Hawkeye women brought home the cup after compiling 26 points in the five relays that make up the competition.

After closing Friday’s competition out by putting eight points toward their total in a second-place 4×800-meter finish, the women’s squad continued to put up big numbers.

The sprint medley group consisting of Antonise Christian, Talia Buss, Briana Guillory, and Taylor Arco finished first with a time of 3:54.18 to add 10 points to the Iowa total. The time is the sixth fastest for Iowa all-time in the event.

Christian got out well to begin the event for Iowa in what proved to be a pivotal race. The weather was poor and the chance for a Hy-Vee cup was on the line, but Christina had bigger things on her mind.

“I wasn’t paying attention to the weather,” Christian said. “It was cold of course, but I got out there and ran for the team, and Coach Raff.”

Iowa volunteer assistant and Iowa City track legend John Raffensperger died on Monday, and he was on everyone’s mind during what was one of his favorite events, the Drake Relays. A tribute was held to Raffensperger to kick off the 110th Relays, and the Hawkeye uniforms for this weekend included a black patch with gold lettering that spelled out “RAFF”.

“Our motivations are high because coach Raff passed on Monday,” Buss said. “Everyone wants to run fast for him and he definitely has the best seat in the house today.”

Arco took the baton as anchor to try to bring the race home for Iowa. She took over in a close second behind Kentucky’s Faith Ross, but turned on the jets down the stretch to bring home the victory.

“The plan was to sit and kick,” Arco said. “Today isn’t one of those days when you go out and PR. It’s more strategic because of the weather. The plan was to wait and when I felt good, make my move and make sure it was a good move.”

After securing the points from the sprint medley, the victory was secured by a second-place finish in the 4×400-meter relay. Jenny Kimbro, Aly Weum, Tria Simmons, and Payton Wensel finished in 3:47.93 to add eight more points and bring the cup home.

The men’s team fell just short of winning its third-consecutive Hy-Vee Cup. They finished in second place with 23 points, behind Iowa State who won with 29 points.

After putting up eight points in the 4×800 on Friday, the men failed to match that type of finish.

In the distance medley relay, Iowa’ Tysen VanDraska, Wayne Lawrence Jr., Nolan Teubel, and Michael Melchert put up the sixth-fastest mark in the event in school history (9:53.14). The group finished sixth overall to add three points to the total.

The men added six points apiece in the sprint medley and 4×400-meter relays to secure a second-place finish.

Next up for Iowa will be another big meet. The Big Ten Outdoor Championships will be in Iowa City May 10-12.

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