All About Drake University Track and Field

All About Drake University Track and Field

You’re looking to learn more about Drake University track and field? As a Bulldogs fan or prospective student-athlete, you want the inside scoop on the program. Well, you came to the right place. In this article, we’ll give you an overview of Drake’s track and field teams, their accomplishments, training facilities, and what sets them apart from other programs. Whether you’re looking to walk on, or just want to brush up on your Bulldogs knowledge before meets, you’ll find all the key details right here. Stick around as we dive into the storied history of sprinters, hurdlers, jumpers, throwers and more who have donned the iconic Drake blue and white.

Overview of Drake University Track and Field

Overview of Drake University Track and Field

Drake University has a long and storied history of success in track and field. Both the men’s and women’s teams have produced numerous conference champions and national qualifiers over the years.

The Bulldogs men’s team competes in the Missouri Valley Conference, while the women’s team is part of the Summit League. Drake has excellent training facilities, including an eight-lane 400-meter track and areas for field events like long jump, triple jump, pole vault, shot put, discus, hammer throw, and javelin.

Some of the events Drake athletes compete in include:

  • Sprints (100m, 200m, 400m)
  • Middle distance (800m, 1500m)
  • Distance (3000m steeplechase, 5000m, 10,000m)
  • Hurdles (100m, 110m, 400m)
  • Relays (4x100m, 4x400m)
  • Jumps (long jump, triple jump, high jump, pole vault)
  • Throws (shot put, discus, hammer, javelin)

Both the men’s and women’s cross country teams are also very competitive, with several athletes qualifying for national championships over the years. Some of the top performers in Drake track and field history include Olympians Johnny Gray, Kevin Little, and Hilary Bor.

If you’re interested in competing at a high level in track and field or cross country, Drake University provides an opportunity to challenge yourself while furthering your education. The Bulldogs have a proven record of success developing student-athletes into champions and world-class competitors.

Drake University Track and Field Coaching Staff

Drake University’s track and field program is coached by some of the top coaches in the sport. Head Coach Natasha Brown, now in her 12th season, has built the program into a perennial Missouri Valley Conference contender.

Coach Brown oversees all areas of the track and field program and works directly with the throwers. She is a former Drake track and field athlete herself, competing in the shot put, discus, hammer and weight throw. Coach Brown has coached many Drake athletes to conference titles and NCAA qualifying marks. Her passion and dedication have been instrumental in the team’s success.

Sprints and Hurdles

Coach Dedrick Johnson, in his 3rd season at Drake, coaches the sprinters, hurdlers and jumpers. Coach Johnson was an All-American sprinter at the University of Northern Iowa, where he still holds school records. Under his guidance, Drake sprinters and hurdlers have achieved personal bests and won MVC titles. His energy and experience developing elite sprinters are invaluable to the team.

Distance

Distance coach Kevin Wolinski, now in his 7th season, guides Drake’s distance runners and cross country teams. A former Drake runner himself, Coach Wolinski has turned the distance program into a powerhouse, coaching numerous athletes to MVC titles, Drake records and NCAA qualifying times. His holistic approach focuses on developing distance runners to reach their full potential.

Jumps

Jumps coach Jermaine Cooper, in his 2nd season, works with Drake’s long jumpers, triple jumpers and pole vaulters. A former track and field athlete at Southern Illinois University, Coach Cooper brings a wealth of experience coaching jumps at the collegiate level. Under his tutelage, Drake jumpers have achieved personal bests and won MVC championships.

Drake University’s accomplished coaching staff, with their passion, experience and dedication to excellence, provide student athletes the guidance and support to thrive and reach new heights.

Top Drake University Track and Field Athletes and Achievements

Top Drake University Track and Field Athletes and Achievements

Drake University has a long history of successful track and field athletes and teams. Some of the top athletes are:

  • Ron Stander, a 1968 Olympian and Drake record holder in the 800m. He still holds Drake’s outdoor 800m record.
  • Liz Tchou, a seven-time MVC champion and school record holder in the long jump, triple jump and heptathlon. She qualified for the 2016 Olympic Trials in the long jump.
  • Reed Fischer, a six-time MVC champion and school record holder in the 5,000m and 10,000m. He competed in the 2012 Olympic Trials in the 5,000m.

Some of the most notable team achievements are:

  • Winning the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) Indoor Championship in 2016, 2017 and 2019. The women’s team has won four consecutive MVC Indoor titles.
  • Qualifying multiple student-athletes to the NCAA Indoor and Outdoor Championships, including three qualifiers in 2019 which was the most in school history.
  • Hosting the 1984 and 1992 NCAA Outdoor Championships at Drake Stadium, which is considered one of the finest track and field venues in the U.S. Drake Stadium has also hosted multiple USA Track and Field Championships.
  • Having over 60 student-athletes earn All-America honors, including five during the 2018-19 season which tied a school record.
  • Holding multiple school records, some which have stood for over 30 years. School records include times, distances and scores in sprints, middle distance, long distance, hurdles, relays, jumps and throws.

Drake has a winning tradition and continues to build on its legacy of success in track and field. With high-level facilities, coaching and recruitment, the track and field program at Drake University is poised to achieve even greater heights.

Drake University Track and Field Facilities

Drake University has some of the finest track and field facilities in the Midwest for their Division I program. Their crown jewel is the Jim Duncan Track and Field Complex, which underwent a $15 million renovation in 2018.

The Jim Duncan Track is an NCAA regulation 400-meter track with a hydraulic bankinged turns and water jump. The infield features multiple runways and landing pits for throwing and jumping events like discus, shot put, hammer throw, long jump and triple jump. For pole vaulting, there are take-off and landing pads at both ends of the track. The track surface is made of a durable polyurethane material suited for high performance.

Adjacent to the track are two fully equipped weight rooms for the team. There are spaces for Olympic weightlifting, powerlifting and strength training with everything from dumbbells to squat racks. The athletic training room provides rehab and recovery facilities like ice baths, massage tables and physical therapy equipment.

For indoor meets and practices during winter, the Bulldogs train at the Drake Fieldhouse. It features a 200-meter hydraulically banked track, long jump and high jump pits, pole vault and throwing circles. The infield can also be configured for shot put. When not in use for track, the fieldhouse floor space accommodates other sports and events.

The track and field locker rooms were also upgraded during the renovation. They offer spacious locker areas, showers and lounges for the men’s and women’s teams. For coaches and staff, there are private offices, conference rooms and balconies overlooking the outdoor track.

With its world-class facilities and resources, Drake University provides an ideal environment for their track and field athletes to train, compete and excel. The support and commitment to the program is evidenced by the University’s significant investment to build one of the best track and field venues in the region.

Drake University Track and Field Recruiting and Tryouts

Drake University Track and Field Recruiting and Tryouts

To become a Drake Bulldog track and field athlete, you’ll have to go through the recruiting and tryout process. Here’s how it works:

Drake’s coaches actively recruit talented high school athletes across the country. If they’re interested in you, they’ll reach out to express their interest and invite you on an official recruiting visit to tour the campus and athletic facilities. This is a great chance for you to get to know the coaches and team, see if Drake’s program and Des Moines lifestyle is the right fit.

If Drake’s coaches want to make you an offer to join the team, they’ll send you a National Letter of Intent (NLI) to review and sign if you choose to commit. Signing the NLI means you agree to attend Drake for a minimum of one full academic year. In turn, Drake will provide you an athletic scholarship for tuition, room and board, books, and more.

For walk-on athletes or those not actively recruited, Drake holds open tryouts each year where anyone can come show off their skills. Tryouts are usually held in late August or early September before the school year starts. Coaches will evaluate your performance in events like sprints, distance runs, hurdles, jumps or throws and determine if you’re ready to join the team as a walk-on. While walk-ons don’t receive an athletic scholarship at first, they still get the opportunity to train, compete and possibly earn scholarship money down the road.

Whether recruited or trying out as a walk-on, all athletes must meet Drake’s admission requirements with a solid GPA, test scores and be cleared by the NCAA Eligibility Center. If admitted and you make the team, you’ll spend your first year as a “redshirt” where you can practice with the team but not compete in any events. After that first year, you’ll have the chance to showcase your abilities and potentially earn a starting spot or scholarship.

With hard work and dedication, you can become an impact athlete for the Drake Bulldogs. The coaching staff looks for versatile, motivated tracksters to help build on the team’s storied success and tradition of excellence. If that sounds like you, take your shot and become a Bulldog!

Conclusion

Well, there you have it – everything you could possibly want to know about the impressive Drake University track and field programs! From the rich history to the standout athletes and coaches, it’s clear these Bulldogs have a lot to be proud of. And you know the action and excitement don’t stop with graduation – plenty of DU alums are still chasing medals and setting records on the world stage. So if you’re a fan of fast feet or field feats, be sure to follow along and cheer on these talented student-athletes. We can’t wait to see what they accomplish next!

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