Submitted by North Central College
The two-time defending outdoor national champion men's track & field team will send its largest contingent in program history to Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa on Thursday for the 103rd Drake Relays. Cardinal athletes will compete in seven relay events at the prestigious meet while six athletes will compete as individuals.
North Central will field relays in the 4x100-meter, 4x200-meter, 4x400-meter, 4x800-meter, 4x110-meter hurdle shuttle, distance medley and sprint medley events while individuals will compete in the 10,000-meter run and the pole vault from Thursday through Saturday.
The Cardinals open up the meet on Thursday night with Dan Kerley, Neal Klein and Tim Hird all competing under the lights in the 10,000-meter run, set to get underway at 8:10 p.m. Of the 36 entries in the distance event, only eight hail from Division III. Kerley comes in with the fastest time of the trio as the 2011 10K All-American comes in having clocked a season best time of 30 minutes, 49.47 seconds at the outdoor season opening First Chance Invitational on Mar. 30.
On Friday, the Cardinals begin the day at 9:17 a.m. as Randal Ellison, Stewart Charles, Michael Reasner and Donald Smith, compete in the 4x100-meter relay while the 4x800-meter relay team of Juliano Lodi, Marlen Hamilton, Pat Foley and Richard Ruske toe the line at 10:55 a.m.
Three of the four non-Division I athletes competing in the pole vault at 1:15 p.m. on Friday hail from North Central as the Cardinals are one of eight schools to boast more than one entrant in the event and the only institution with three entries. Josh Winder, John Wood and Thomas Stacey will all take the runway on Friday afternoon among the 27-man field. Winder, the 2012 indoor national champion, comes into the competition tied with Wood for the best mark in NCAA Division III, both having cleared 16 feet, 11 inches, at the Don Church Wheaton Twilight Meet on Apr. 14. Stacey comes in with the third best vault in Division III, clearing 16' 5 ¼” at the same meet.
The Cardinals close out day two with the 4x200-meter relay at 1:46 p.m. and the 4x400-meter relay at 3:10 p.m. Jonathan Caron, Bai Kabba, Ellison, Jon Howard and Dionte Hackler are among the potential sprinters to be used for the 4x2 while Caron, Kabba, Hackler, Howard and Mustapha Olaoye, comprise the pool of sprinters for the 4x4. The Cardinals' 4x400-meter relay enters the meet with the sixth fastest time in NCAA Division III, having clocked a time of 3:15.14 at the Wheaton Twilight. 32 teams are set to compete in the 4x4 with the finals slated to be contested at 5:18 p.m. on Saturday.
Saturday gets underway at 8:43 a.m. with Joe Michals, Kalen Petty, Mike Varela and Nick Baumgartner competing in the 4x110 meter shuttle relay. The distance medley relay squad of Lodi (1,200-meters), Olaoye (400-meters), Foley (800-meters) and John Crain (1,600-meters), competes at 9:19 a.m. while the sprint medley relay quartet of Reasner (200-meters), Ellison (200-meters), Olaoye (400-meters) and Hamilton (800-meters) compete at 9:54 a.m.