Monday, April 30, 2007

Deatherage Wins Drake Relays 1500; Gopher Women Sweep Long Relays

If at first you don't succeed, try, try again ...

That might well have been the mantra for Team USA Minnesota's Jenelle Deatherage, who won the Women's Special 1500 meter event at the 98th Drake Relays over the weekend. Her time of 4:13.97 beat runner-up Alice Schmidt by more than 3.5 seconds.

"This was my sixth time running the 1500 at the Drake Relays and it was my first time winning," Deatherage (pictured), who has a best in the distance of 4:07.87, said in a media release. "I've run Drake almost every year since I graduated from the University of Wisconsin. It was nice to finally win on a day when the crowd was unbelievable and the weather was great. I just really had a wonderful time and I hope to be there next year as well."

Deatherage took charge of the race early.

"In the back of my mind, I had planned to take it out from the gun," she explained, "but another girl took it out pretty fast. After the first lap, I knew I needed to do my share of the work so I went to the front and kept that position for the rest of the race. I was pretty happy with how it went."

Deatherage's teammate Ryan Kliemenhagen finished 5th in the Drake Men's Special Mile in 4:08.13. Alan Webb broke Steve Scott's event record, winning in a massive 3:51.71.

Gophers Sweep!

Deatherage's win was but one jewel in a shimmering day for Minnesotans at the historic event. The Golden Gopher women swept the Distance Medley, 4 x 800m, and 4 x 1600m relays -- only the third time in Relays history for that feat. On Friday, the DMR squad of Elizabeth Yetzer, Heather Dorniden, Ayla Mitchell, and Emily Brown beat Baylor by more than half a second to start the Gophers' winning ways. Then, the 4 x 800 Julie Schwengler, Jamie Cheever, Gabrielle Anderson, and Dorniden shattered Arkansas' 2005 Drake record in the event by winning in 8:27.42. Saturday afternoon, the 4 x 1600 crew of Cheever, Yetzer, Anderson, and Brown broke their own 2006 record in the event, stopping the clock at 19:07.75.

“I will never forget the sight of 18,000 people cheering Brownie (Emily Brown) to the Drake record,” Gopher head coach Matt Bingle said in a media release. “This was such a special weekend. It’s a great time to be a Golden Gopher.”

Only Stanford in 2003 and Michigan in 2004 have scored such a trifecta.

Also ... A pair of Minnesota high jumpers earned victories at Drake. MSU - Mankato's Jim Dilling won the Men's Special High Jump by clearing 7-6 1/2. Osseo High School grad Julian Morris, now a freshman at Iowa State University, won the University/College High Jump with a 6-10 clearance.

Photo by Victor Sailer, courtesy of Team USA Minnesota.

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