drake day 2-154

Iowa State junior Derek Jones warms up before the 400-meter hurdle at Drake Relays on April 30.

The Iowa State men’s track team doesn’t get the opportunity to compete in Iowa much during the outdoor portion of its season. After coming off a great weekend in Iowa City, filled with many personal bests, the men are hoping to continue their surge in Des Moines. The Blue Oval, otherwise known as the track of Drake University, will be the host site of the Drake Relays from April 26-29.

With the competition being so close, it’s almost regarded as a home meet for the Cyclones — but on a much larger scale. There is always a good representation cheering on the Cyclones throughout the days of events.

One event to watch for this week is the 4x800-meter relay race. Two of the four who will be officially representing Iowa State are Jaymes Dennison and Roshon Roomes. The other two guys competing are between Zach Black, Christian Delago and Dan Curts.

The three long distance runners are coached by Jeremy Sudbury, the assistant coach of the track team. They will also be competing in the Distance Medley relay.

“Running under their usual distance is difficult,” Sudbury said. “It requires more hard effort but it won’t chew you up as much, and our guys will be able to handle that.”

The 800-meter relay will be a warm-up race for two of the three who will be competing in the distance relay.

Roomes and Dennison will also get acquainted with the track in the relay to prepare them for the 4x400-meter relay.

“The relays have always been a chance to compete close to home with a big track environment,” Sudbury said. “We’re mainly focused on these relays to be some more experience, especially for some of the guys running events they aren’t used to.”

This weekend will also be another chance for some of the men to run times to qualify for Regionals.

Several runners have already secured their times including Dennison and Roomes in the 800-meter, Curts and Delago in the 1500-meter and Andrew Jordan and Thomas Pollard are projected to represent in the 5k.

Zach Black is currently sitting on the bubble, with a chance to get in with a good result this week.

For other runners, like Derek Jones, it won’t only be one of his last chances to run a good time, but also his last Drake Relays. This will be his seventh relays, having competed before Iowa State as well.

“My goal for this weekend is to run my season’s best time and lock in a spot for Regionals,” Jones said. “I anticipate these relays will be a good one to end on for me.”

He’s hoping that even if he doesn’t qualify for Regionals this weekend, this will get him back on track to success.

Jones will be competing in two events, the 400-meter hurdles as well as running a leg on the 4x400-meter relay team.

He was held out of competition last weekend after sustaining a calf strain, the coaching staff making the decision.

“I don’t think I’m fully over it, but I also don’t think it’ll be a factor either,” Jones said. “I tend to run better the second day of competition anyways.”

With the meet being so close to Ames, held in central Iowa, it allows family and friends to conglomerate and give their support.

“The relays are always fun, family always shows up for me,” Jones said. “It’s just a lot of fun and I love this event.”

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