Crouser, Irby take top honors at Drake’s Blue Oval Showcase
DES MOINES — When Ryan Crouser steps into the shot put ring at Drake Stadium, you can expect a big performance.
On Saturday at the Drake Blue Oval Showcase Presented by Mediacom, he even outdid himself.
The 2016 Olympic gold medalist produced the greatest throw series in the history of the shot put and broke his own stadium record, topping 22 meters (73-3/4) on all six of his attempts. His best of 22.72 meters (74-6 1/2) broke the Drake Stadium record of 22.62 meters (74-2 1/4) he set at the USA Outdoor Championships last year.
Crouser is the only thrower in the world who has topped 22 meters this year and he now has the top 14 throws worldwide, including 10 at Drake in the last five days. He won the Delta Dental of Iowa shot put at the stadium on Tuesday with a best throw of 22.56 meters (74-1/4).
A four-time NCAA champion at Texas, Crouser has won the last two Drake Relays shot put competitions and captured one of his three USA Outdoor titles at Drake last year.
“I was really, really happy with it,” Crouser said. “I wanted that big one, 23 meters, it felt like it was there, but all I can really do is set myself up as best I can and just try to let it happen the day of. I felt like I did that really well. The consistency I had out there showed that. So I was really, really happy with the consistency and the execution. It just didn’t quite connect on that big throw. But any time you’re consistent like that you kind of know it’s there.”
Spearheaded by Blake Boldon, the Franklin P. Johnson Director of the Drake Relays, the Blue Oval Showcase Presented by Mediacom was the first major track and field event on U.S. soil since Drake hosted the USA Championships July 25-28, 2019. The meet brought nearly 80 athletes from 10 countries to the Blue Oval, a field that included 20 Olympians and eight Olympic medalists.
Crouser was the Performer of the Meet among the men, compiling 1,284 points. Lynna Irby earned that honor among the women with 1,183 points after winning the 200-meter dash in 22.52 seconds, beating a talented field that included Shaunae Miller-Uibo, the world leader this year and the 2016 Olympic gold medalist in the 400. Miller-Uibo, from the Bahamas, pulled up 70 meters into the race and did not finish.
Those Performance of the Meet honors were worth an additional $1,500. Event winners received $3,000 in all but the men’s 200, women’s 100 and women’s long jump. Those winners received $1,500.
The meet featured many athletes familiar to Drake Relays fans and those who watched the USA Championships at Drake each of the last two years.
Sandi Morris, the American record holder and a four-time Relays champion, cleared 15-3 to win the women’s pole vault. Morris actually needed only one jump to win it. She passed until the bar reached 14-11 and cleared that on her first try. No one else cleared that height.
Tiffany Porter, a two-time Relays champ and two-time Olympian from Great Britain, won the women’s 100 hurdles in 12.90, matching the No. 10 time in the world this year. Runner-up Megan Tapper’s 12.96 moved her up one spot to 14th on the world list.
Michael Dickson, one year removed from his senior year at North Carolina A&T, edged four-time USA champion Devon Allen in the 110 hurdles, their times carried out to the thousands of a second to determine the winner. Dickson was timed in 13.532, a season best for him. Allen ran 13.538.
Josephus Lyles, whose older brother Noah is the reigning world champion in 200, showed off his 200 speed, winning in 20.32. Up and coming sensation Justin Robinson, just three months out of high school, was second in 20.67, a lifetime best.
Other winners were Kayla White in the women’s 100, 11.18; Jeff Demps in the men’s 100, 10.09, and Jordan Gray in the women’s long jump, 20-2 1/4.
The meet opened with the USATF men’s and women’s road mile championships, which started in the heart of the Drake campus and finished with 500 meters on the Blue Oval. Sam Prakel pulled ahead with 50 meters to go to win the men’s race in 3:58.3, the second fastest time in the event’s history. Emily Lapari made her move with about 200 meters to go to win the women’s race for the second time in three years, finishing in 4:29.30.