Pair of Hawkeye field athletes bring home gold at Drake

Reno Tuufuli and James Carter took first place in their respective events in an eventful day at the Drake Relays.

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Pair of Hawkeye field athletes bring home gold at Drake

Iowa's Reno Tuufuli winds up to throw during the men's shot put at the 2019 Drake Relays in Des Moines, IA, on Friday, April 26, 2019. Tuufuli finished tenth with 17.77m.

Iowa's Reno Tuufuli winds up to throw during the men's shot put at the 2019 Drake Relays in Des Moines, IA, on Friday, April 26, 2019. Tuufuli finished tenth with 17.77m.

Shivansh Ahuja

Iowa's Reno Tuufuli winds up to throw during the men's shot put at the 2019 Drake Relays in Des Moines, IA, on Friday, April 26, 2019. Tuufuli finished tenth with 17.77m.

Shivansh Ahuja

Shivansh Ahuja

Iowa's Reno Tuufuli winds up to throw during the men's shot put at the 2019 Drake Relays in Des Moines, IA, on Friday, April 26, 2019. Tuufuli finished tenth with 17.77m.

Robert Read, Sports Reporter

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The hunt for the Hy-Vee Cup was the major storyline of the Drake Relays, which overshadowed some outstanding performances from a pair of Iowa field athletes on Saturday.

Senior Reno Tuufuli won his third-career title at the Drake Relays in the discus after sneaking past Kentucky’s Charles Lenford Jr., who finished in second place. Tuufuli’s winning throw came in at 58.88 meters compared to Lenford Jr’s 58.58 mark.

The toss was the first of the finals event for Tuufuli, and it proved strong enough to bring a championship flag home.

“I was hoping it would be the winner, but there are a lot of good guys out there,” Tuufuli said. “There was good wind, you never know.”

Tuufuli previously won Drake Relays titles last year in the shot and in 2017 in the discus. His third victory comes after a rough performance in the shot put on Friday.

“Yesterday was a bad day for me,” Tuufuli said. “Instead of being negative afterward, I mentally fixed the things I needed to fix.”.

He did that and more. After finishing in 10th place in the shot put on Friday, Tuufuli came back on Saturday and ended up taking the victor’s podium.

Tuufuli had prior experience on that podium, but a different Hawkeye took it for the first time on Saturday.

Freshman James Carter won his first Drake Relays title after a career-best performance in the long jump.

Carter jumped 7.34 meters in the event to bring home gold with the Iowa crowd behind him every step of the way.

“I felt a lot of energy,” Carter said. “There were a lot of Hawkeye fans out there cheering me on, so I attacked my jumps and it went well. It’s an amazing meet with a lot of tradition, especially for our school with this being our state. I’m glad to be here and glad to perform well.”

Carter failed on each of his first two attempts in the event before his personal best leap. He would go on to pass all three of his finals events.

Carter finished in third place in the triple jump on Friday after jumping 15.12 meters, coming in just behind a duo of jumpers from Purdue.

Besides taking the podium at Drake on Saturday, Tuufuli and Carter have something else in common: a desire to keep the victories coming going into postseason competition.

“If I can throw 58 [meters] in bad weather, then I’m confident I can put up even better marks going forward,” Tuufuli said. “I’m looking forward to Big Tens and ready to put the work in before that.”

Carter looks forward to the same event.

“I have two weeks to get ready for Big Tens, I’m ready to go hard on that,” Carter said. “I’ll work hard the next two weeks of practice and show up [May 10-12] for a home meet.”

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