What to Watch Saturday at the Drake Relays


Photo by Jeff Yoder

Ryan Murken

Your Prep Sports

The 110th edition of the Drake Relays will come to a close on Saturday with five titles up for grabs in the high school portion of the meet all on the track.

Day three of the meet features a trio of relay finals highlighted by the 4x400 finals that close competition on Saturday afternoon.

Here are several of the top storylines featuring athletes from the Your Prep Sports area to keep an eye on Saturday.

A Change in Weather

After back-to-back sun-soaked days to open the weekend the final day or the Drake Relays isn’t looking as enjoyable for track and field fans.

Forecasts are calling for temperatures in the 40s with an 80 percent chance of rain showers that are expected to be especially prevalent during the morning hours.

As unappealing as the forecast may be the worst of the weather should miss Drake Stadium with parts of Northern Iowa in a winter storm watch for Saturday.

Schaeckenbach Eyes First Drake Flag

Caroline Schaeckenbach was a pleasant surprise for City High in the 400 hurdles last season placing seventh in her first trip to the Drake Relays.

On Saturday Schaeckenbach returns to the Relays as one of the favorites in the 400 hurdle field.

Schaeckenbach enters with the second fastest time in the state this season at 1:04.91, trailing state-leading Glenwood senior Janette Schraft by .08.

If Schaeckenbach can claim the 400 hurdle title on Saturday it would be the fourth championship in the event for City High in the past seven seasons.

Sarah Plock became the first three-time Drake Relays champion in the 400 hurdles in 2015 when she capped a string of three straight crowns.

Shuttle Hurdle Showdown

No other event is as perilous for competitors or as stressful for coaches as the shuttle hurdle relay.

Several area teams will be among the groups sweating it out through four heats of the weekends’ wildest relay.

City High (fourth), West High (fifth), Solon (11th) and Liberty High (14th) are all in the 16-team field.

City High and West High have already gone head to head several times this season and will join Liberty High in an Iowa-City heavy opening heat.

The Little Hawks have the top qualifying time among area teams, with Te’Nia Ansley, Jordan Sekafetz, Kate Swenning and Schaeckenbach clocking the fourth-best time in the state this spring at 1:05.73.

West High has the sixth best qualifying time at 1:06.8 while Ames enters as the state leader at 1:04.2.

Red for Raff

Over the course of the three days at Drake Relays many teams use a variety of jersey combinations, switching colors between days or even events.

For City High it has been the classic all red uniforms all weekend in honor for long-time track coach John Raffensperger who passed away early this week.

Raffensperger led City High to 10 state titles in 34 years as head coach turning the Little Hawks into one of the top sports dynasties in state history.

The itinerary given to City High athletes for the week at Drake Stadium had bolded letters across the top of each race that read: “Red Jersey ALL WEEKEND IN HONOR OF COACH RAFF"

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