By Ryan Murken
Your Prep Sports
Day two of the high school schedule at the 108th Drake Relays brings the first full day of events at Drake Stadium in Des Moines.
Seven Drake Relays champions will be crowned on both the boys and girls side on Friday as the field event competition is completed and action heats up on the blue oval inside Drake Stadium.
Here is a guide to following area athletes with five of the top storylines for Friday’s competition.
Welch Tries to Add to Title Count
Valerie Welch is already a Drake Relays champion, winning the long jump last season.
Friday’s 100 hurdles offer Welch her first chance this season to earn the first Drake Relays title of her career on the famed blue oval.
Welch enters with the top time in the state this season at 14.34, nearly half a second faster than the next best time posted by Waukee senior Hannah Schau.
The time of 14.34 puts Welch in striking distance of the Drake Relays record of 14.3 set by Mary Young of Urbandale in 2014.
With a win in the 100 hurdles Welch would become the first female in West High history to win Drake Relays titles in two different individual events.
Double Duty for Josie Durr
If the name Josie Durr sounds familiar to track fans it should, the Solon senior is making her third consecutive Drake Relays appearance in the high jump.
Durr’s name is more synonymous with soccer where she is on pace to lead the state in goals for the second straight season.
Friday, Durr will attempt to make history as Solon’s first Drake Relays high jump champ.
Durr has only jumped three times this season while splitting time between soccer and track but enters tied for the best mark in the state this season by clearing 5-6.
Seven other athletes in the Drake Relays field have cleared 5-6 this season and defending champion Megan Durbin returns to defender her title.
West High Tries to Sweep Throwing Events
Leah Dusterhoft got West High off to a strong start on Thursday by winning the discus.
Junior Chandler Haight will try to make it a clean sweep of the throwing events with a shot put title on Friday.
Haight was third in the shot put last season as a sophomore and enters with the fourth best throw in the state at 44-0 ¾.
Kat Moody of Waukee brings the top qualifying time into Friday morning’s competition with a mark of 47-0 ¾.
Boys Distance Medley Relay Showdown
The City High boys bring four relay teams to Des Moines this week and the first Little Hawk foursome to hit the track may have the best chance to push for a title.
The City High distance medley foursome enters with the sixth best qualifying time at 3:34.54, just more than two seconds off the pace set by state leader West Des Moines Dowling.
City High will be pushed by cross-town rival West High which ranks seventh with a time of 3:34.76.
Nock Looks to Build on Strong Start
Bailey Nock got her week off to a strong start with a third-place finish in the 3,000 in a career-best time on Thursday.
On Friday, Nock will try to build off that strong start in the 800.
Nock was 13th in the event last season and enters with the third fastest time in the state this year at 2:15.28.
Defending Drake Relays champion Joy Ripslinger of Davenport Assumption has the top qualifying time at 2:09.84.