Drake Relays honor meet’s top athletes
DES MOINES — For the second time in his career, and the first time as a professional athlete, Olympic gold medalist Omar McLeod garnered the Maury White Award, an accolade given to the top collegiate or professional male athlete from the Drake Relays.
McLeod was a co-winner in 2015 as a collegian at Arkansas, but won the award outright this year after setting a world-best mark of 13.04 seconds in the 110-meter hurdles. The title also earned him his third-straight Drake Relays win in the event.
“It means a lot,” McLeod said. “Any record means a lot. It shows you’re consistent and right where you want to be. This meet means a lot to me. I’ve been opening up my season here since I was in college so this has become a tradition. Every time I come here, I try to put on a show. These fans are loyal, so I want to put on a show for them.”
In the women’s collegiate/professional category, Emily Trost of the University of Minnesota-Duluth won the Drake Relays Most Outstanding Performer nod, the first by a collegiate athlete in the history of the Relays.
The junior won two events, the first in the 800-meter run Friday, running a 2:05.65. She came back Saturday to win the 1,500 in a time of 4:24.71, more than four seconds ahead of runner-up Amanda Gehrich (Utah).
Mount Vernon’s Tristan Wirfs headlined an historic shot put field that saw four throwers toss 60-plus-feet throws for the first time in Relays history.
Wirfs tallied a 66-foot, 3 1/2 inch throw Thursday night, earning the first of two Relays titles on his way to winning the Robert Kramme Award, given to the top boys’ high school competitor.
Wirfs came back Friday morning to win the discus in a throw of 172-4.
Davenport Assumption’s Joy Ripslinger was an unanimous selection for the Gerry Cooley Award given to the girls’ most outstanding athlete.
Ripslinger finished her high school career with seven Drake Relays titles after winning the 800 and 1,500 this year. With the sweep, she joins Stephanie Jenks and Olympian Shelby Houlihan to become just the third athlete to sweep the two distance events.