Gophers Ready for 103rd Drake Relays
April 24, 2012
The Minnesota men's track & field team enters a week of three competitions with the Drake Relays highlighting the schedule. The 103rd running of the Drake Relays will be held Wednesday-Saturday, April 25-28, in Des Moines, Iowa. The Golden Gophers will also send athletes to the Macalester Twilight on Thursday, April 26, and the Payton Jordan Invitational in Stanford, Calif. on Sunday night.
About the Drake Relays in 2012
This year the 103rd running will feature 120 events at Drake Stadium. The 120 events are the most in event history and narrowly eclipse the previous high of 119 events; back in 2010.
Back on Blue
This weekend the Golden Gophers will be racing on a blue surface. Now not the blue surface at Boise State University like their football team plays on, but inside Drake Stadium athletes will be competing on the famous blue surface track.
One of the interesting aspects of the Drake Relays schedule is the variety of relay events from the normal 4x100-meter relay and the 4x400-meter relay to the once a year versions of the sprint medley or the outdoor distance medley relay.
The sprint medley relay features a pair of 200-meter legs, followed by 400-meter and 800-meter legs. The distance medley relay, a common event on the indoor schedule, runs the same distances outdoor: a 1,200-meter leg followed by 400 meters, 800 meters and a 1,600-meter leg to finish up.
Time to Defend Titles
The Golden Gophers a year ago picked up two titles at the Drake Relays in the Distance Medley and 4x800 Relay. Minnesota will be looking to defend both titles, this Friday (4x800) and Saturday (DMR) inside Drake Stadium. David Pachuta, Nick Hutton, Travis Burkstrand and Harun Abda will look to win back-to-back titles after winning the 4x800 a year ago with a time of 7:19.51. Looking at the DMR, Nick Hutton, Kevin Bradley, David Pachuta and Travis Burkstrand are scheduled to race for the Gophers on Saturday. A year ago the DMR clocked in at 9:38.09 to earn the title.
Mead Reaching the End
Senior All-American Hassan Mead is reaching the end of an incredible career. This Sunday along with junior Pieter Gagnon, the two will run the 10,000 meters at the Payton Jordan Invitational, on the campus of Stanford University. Mead is no stranger to the Payton Jordan as his school record in the 5,000 meters (13:28.45) was accomplished in 2009.
Minnesota has won a total of 51 titles while competing at the Drake Relays. The Gophers have participated at the Drake Relays since the very first year. The Gophers' first Drake Relays title came in the 2-mile relay in 1912.
THE GOLDEN GOPHER COACHING STAFF
Steve Plasencia enters his fourth season as the Golden Gophers head men's track & field coach. Plasencia was awarded his fifth consecutive Big Ten Coach of the Year award, adding the 2011 indoor accolade to those from the 2009 and 2010 indoor and outdoor seasons. Plasencia heads an extremely experienced coaching staff that includes assistants Scott Berggren, Paul Thornton, Lynden Reder, Steve White and Roy Griak.