The Drake Relays has never had a high school male athlete finish first in the 800-, 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs in the same season.
That’s something Newton senior Jackson Mace-Maynard seeks to do this spring.
He’s already qualified automatically in the 800 and 3,200. And if the weather cooperates, he’ll likely try in the coming weeks to lower his time in the 1,600 to get inside the top 21 for qualification in that.
The 112th Drake Relays will be later this month in Des Moines. The road races take place April 24, the Grand Blue Mile is April 26 and the high school portion of the event starts on April 27 and runs through April 30.
After the cancellation in 2020 and an altered schedule in 2021, the Drake Relays will return to the conventional format with competitors from university, college, high school and elite ranks all participating in an integrated schedule over four days in Drake Stadium.
“Like thousands of track and field fans, we’re anxious to see this schedule come to life on the Blue Oval. This will undoubtedly be a week for the record books,” Director of the Drake Relays Blake Boldon said. “We all are eager to see area elementary and middle school athletes compete alongside NCAA elite programs and dozens of Olympians.”
At least 67 high school athletes have hit the Blue Standard, which means automatic qualifying into the Drake Relays.
That list includes Mace-Maynard, who currently holds the third best times in both the 800 and 3,200.
Several other area athletes are currently above the qualifying lines with less than two weeks to go until the deadline.
The top 24 athletes in all four field events qualify for the Drake Relays. Currently, Newton’s Keith Moko is 23rd in the high jump and Colfax-Mingo’s Kyra Lester is 19th in the discus.
The top 32 times in the 100, 100 hurdles and 110 high hurdles qualify. Newton’s Nate Maki is sitting 12th in the 100 right now and Colfax-Mingo’s Carley Underwood is 27th in the 100 hurdles.
Newton has three relay teams currently above the line for qualification.
The foursome in all three relays is Cody Klein, Jared Smith, Derek Beiner and Treycen Garton. That group ranks fourth in the 4×400, fourth in the 4×800 and 14th in the distance medley relay. The top 24 entries in the 4×400 and distance medley relays qualify and the top 16 times in the 4×800 will advance.
Klein, Beiner and Garton were part of Newton’s 4×800 relay team which finished in the top 10 at last year’s Drake Relays. Mace-Maynard was the other runner.
The Drake Relays started in 1910 in a blizzard with 200 fans in attendance.
This year’s Drake Relays features 27 athletes who medaled in the Tokyo Olympics. That list includes two-time reigning Olympic gold medalist and world record holder Ryan Crouser, who seeks his fourth straight men’s shot put title.
Crouser is 6-foot-8, 310 pounds and throws the shot put 70 feet.