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IGHSAU announces Track & Field inductees this weekend

Betsy Flood, Khanishah Williams, Alex Gochenour 2017 Inductees Into IGHSAU Track & Field Hall of Fame

Dowling Catholic’s Betsy Flood, Burlington’s Khanishah Williams and Alex Gochenour of Logan-Magnolia are the 2017 inductees into the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union’s Track and Field Hall of Fame. The trio will be honored Saturday afternoon at the 2017 Iowa State Track and Field Meet at Des Moines’ Drake Stadium.

Betsy Flood

Betsy Flood

Flood becomes the second Dowling Catholic prep to join the Track & Field Hall of Fame, joining younger sister Katie, who was enshrined in 2016. Running for the Maroons from 2005 to 2008, she captured five state crowns while placing second five times. She won 4A crowns in the 1500 meters in 2006 and 2008, won the 4A 800 meters in 2006 and anchored the Distance Medley and 4×800 meter relay teams to titles. In addition to her five state crowns, Flood won the Drake Relays 1500 meters as a senior. Flood ran cross country and track at the University of Iowa, where she was a three-time NCAA qualifier. She ranks in the top 10 at Iowa in seven different events.

Khanishah Williams

Khanishah Williams

Williams competed at Burlington High School from 2007 to 2011, where she won five state crowns. She was a three-time 4A state champion in the high jump and her career best jump of 5-8 ¼ remains the Class 4A record. In addition to the high jump title, Williams won the 100 hurdles in 2010 and 2011 along with a Drake Relays flag in the 2011 high jump. Williams competed at the University of Iowa from 2012 to 2016, competing in the high jump. Her career best of 5-11 ¼ ranks third on Iowa’s all-time list, winning a Big Ten Conference crown in the outdoor high jump in 2014. Williams is the third Burlington athlete to enter the IGHSAU Track and Field Hall of Fame, joining Leisa Davis and Jenna Caffrey.

Alex Gochenour

Alex Gochenour

Gochenour competed at Logan-Magnolia from 2007 to 2011. She owns 13 state championships and is just one of three runners to win the 100-meter hurdles four times. Her career-best time of 13.9 is the current Iowa all-time mark in the event. Gochenour set or was a part of five state meet records. She owns three 100-meter dash crowns with two 200-meter and 400-meter hurdle titles in helping Logan-Magnolia win Class 2A state team titles in 2009 and 2011. Gochenour captured four Drake Relays flags, winning the 100 meter hurdles twice along with a long jump and 400 hurdles crown. Gochenhour competed at both Louisiana State and Arkansas. Specializing in multi-event competitions, she earned all-American honors six times in the heptathlon and pentathlon. As a senior in 2016, Gochenour was fourth in the NCAA in the heptathlon and sixth in the pentathlon, earning first team all-American honors in both events. Gochenour is the first Logan-Magnolia athlete to enter the IGHSAU Track and Field Hall of Fame.

Jenny Simpson is a Drake favorite. Simpson, originally from Webster City, is cheered on by her family from the stands. Photo by Jeffery Corcoran.

Drake Relays Photography Exhibit in Des Moines

Working in the cold rain, Jeffery Corcoran makes the sacrifices needed to bring you the shot. Photo by David Mable.

Working in the cold rain, Jeffery Corcoran makes the sacrifices needed to bring you the shot. Photo by David Mable.

In central Iowa track meets and bike races, as prolific a sight as spikes and bikes, is the sight of a bearded guy with multiple cameras hanging from his hips. That bearded photographer is Jeffery Corcoran.

Corcoran has been an avid cyclist and runner for years, and has recently started competing in ultra-marathon running. He will be tackling his first 100-mile run this summer at the Booneville Backroads Ultra. 

While his free time is filled with training, he still finds time for his artistic side to shine through his photography. One of his favorite events is the annual rite of Spring in Des Moines, the Drake Relays.

Jeffery Corcoran enjoys meeting the athletes as much as shooting them. Photo by David Mable.

Jeffery Corcoran enjoys meeting the athletes as much as shooting them. Photo by David Mable.

“I love the Relays,” said Corcoran. “It’s such an honor to be on the track, in the infield. I’d for sure be in the stands if I didn’t shoot, but I just love trying to capture the essence of the meet and getting to meet some of the best athletes in the world.”

Photographers are able to get up close and personal with the athletes, able to talk with them in the mixed media zone and on the infield after their event.

“I have fun meeting some of my hero’s,” said Corcoran. “I’ll for sure get a selfie when I can. I also have a bit of a bib collection and was able to get one from Queen (Harrison) a couple of years ago. I love the picture you (ed. Dave Mable) took of her and I.”

David Oliver skims the hurdles in a pre-Olympic showdown on the blue oval last April. Photo by Jeffery Corcoran.

David Oliver skims the hurdles in a pre-Olympic showdown on the blue oval last April. Photo by Jeffery Corcoran.

Over the years, besides his collection of bibs and selfies, Corcoran has built up quite a collection of

photographs, many of which will be on display at the Mars Cafe through April.

“My friend, who owns Mars (Cafe), suggested we do a show, and I thought “Why not?”” he said. “I’ll have about 50 prints of various sizes on display and for sale throughout the month. I don’t know if people will want to buy ‘em, but I sure enjoy sharing them.”

One of his favorites is of a young Mary Cain, a high school middle distance phenom.

“I was shooting for a running magazine, and they wanted off the track images of then high school star Mary

Jenny Simpson is a Drake favorite. Simpson, originally from Webster City, is cheered on by her family from the stands. Photo by Jeffery Corcoran.

Jenny Simpson is a Drake favorite. Simpson, originally from Webster City, is cheered on by her family from the stands. Photo by Jeffery Corcoran.

Cain,” said Corcoran. “It was for a qualifying spot on the world’s team for the 1500m race. It was fun trying to figure out something different than just a running shot.”

This shot, along with many others from the Drake Relays, will be on display at the Mars Cafe (2318 University in Des Moines, near Drake) from April 7 – 30. An opening celebration will be held on Friday, April 7 from 6 – 8 p.m.

All of his photos can be seen at www.corcoransphotos.com

The 2017 Grand Blue Mile will serve as the USAF&F 1-mile Championships. Photo by Dave Mable

Grand Blue Mile joins the Bring Back the Mile Grand Prix Tour

The 2017 Grand Blue Mile will serve as the USAF&F 1-mile Championships. Photo by Dave Mable

The 2017 Grand Blue Mile will serve as the USAF&F 1-mile Championships. Photo by Dave Mable

The Bring Back the Mile Grand Prix Tour announced that the Wellmark Grand Blue Mile will serve as the opening leg of the Grand Prix Tour.

Started in 2014, the Bring Back the Mile Grand Prix Tour is a national campaign to designed to elevate the presence of the mile in track and field. The Tour features five stops and more than $110,000 in guaranteed prize money. Outside of Des Moines, the Tour features stops in Minneapolis, Pittsburgh, Duluth, Minn., and Washington D.C.

Heather Kampf will return to defend her 2916 Grand Blue Mile victory. Photo by Dave Mable

Heather Kampf will return to defend her 2916 Grand Blue Mile victory. Photo by Dave Mable

Heather Kampf, three-time Grand Blue Mile Champion, headlines the Tour as the reigning three-time Grand Prix Champion. Riley Masters, the 2016 Grand Prix Champion, took third at last year’s Grand Blue Mile.

This year’s Grand Blue Mile, set to take place on Apr. 25, also sees the return of the USA Track & Field 1 Mile Road Championships. The Grand Blue Mile last hosted the Championship in 2014 where Kampf set the course record of 4:32.62.Screen Shot 2017-02-03 at 3.56.23 PM

Last year’s Grand Blue Mile drew more than 4,200 registrants who participated among the elite, competitive, recreational run/walk, and corporate team categories. The one-mile course loops through the streets of downtown Des Moines.

Participants this year can also register for the ‘Bulldog Double’ to participate in both the Grand Blue Mile and either the Drake Road Races 5k or Half Marathon. Those that complete the ‘Bulldog Double’ will

More than 4,200 runners and walkers participated in the 2016 GBM, a number officials hope to surpass. Photo by David Mable.

More than 4,200 runners and walkers participated in the 2016 GBM, a number officials hope to surpass. Photo by David Mable.

receive a special ‘Spike’ or ‘Griff’ medal while all finishers receive a technical shirt and a finisher medal. Registration for the Drake Road Races also includes one paid admission to the Thursday, Apr. 27 Distance Carnival inside Drake Stadium and a discount ticket rate to Hy-Vee Night at the Drake Relays Friday, Apr. 28.

The current early bird registration rate is available until Mar. 6 is $15 for the Grand Blue Mile, $25 for the Drake Road Races 5k and $40 for the Drake Road Races Half Marathon.

For more information on the Grand Blue Mile, visit www.GrandBlueMile.com

For information on the Drake Relays, visit www.godrakebulldogs.com.

Olympic hurdler Queen Harrison is among those expected to return to the blue oval in Des Moines this year. Photo by Dave Mable.

Drake Relays: First test for director Blake Boldon

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The Drake Relays have been a Des Moines tradition for more than 100 years and are now under the leadership of Relays Director Blake Bolden. Photo by Dave Mable

DES MOINES, Iowa – Blake Boldon, the first-year director of the Drake Relays presented by Hy-Vee, unveiled a series of enhancements for the upcoming Drake Relays presented by Hy-Vee that will appeal to fans, athletes and the track & field community as a whole.

Boldon announced that the Capital Square Vault, one of the highlights of the 2016 Relays, will be returning in 2017 with host sponsors Catch Des Moines and the Des Moines Register. The event, staged in the atrium of Capital Square in downtown Des Moines April 26 at 5:45 p.m., continues the Relays’ tradition of taking events into the community and giving fans a more up close and personal experience with the competition and world class athletes.

Americans Sam Kendricks and Sandi Morris are two of those world-class athletes set to entertain the Capital Square Vault crowd as they launch themselves to dizzying heights inside Capital Square. Both Kendricks and Morris are the reigning U.S. Indoor Champions in the event and Olympic medalists after Morris claimed the silver medal in last summer’s Rio Olympic Games while Kendricks was the bronze medalist in the event.

Heather Kampf will return to defend her Grand Blue Mile victory. Photo by Dave Mable

Heather Kampf will return to defend her Grand Blue Mile victory. Photo by Dave Mable

Earlier in the week, the annual Grand Blue Mile presented by Wellmark gives the Des Moines community the opportunity to cheer on and race on the same course as the top road mile competitors in the nation. The Grand Blue Mile will again serve as the U.S. Road Mile Championship with a $25,000 prize purse available for competitors. Heather Kampf, a three-time U.S. Road Mile champion and four-time Grand Blue Mile champion is set to defend her titles on the streets of Des Moines. Chad Noelle, the reigning men’s Grand Blue Mile champion is also returning the field after making his professional debut at the event last season.

Olympic hurdler Queen Harrison is among those expected to return to the blue oval in Des Moines this year. Photo by Dave Mable.

Olympic hurdler Queen Harrison is among those expected to return to the blue oval in Des Moines this year. Photo by Dave Mable.

Inside Drake Stadium, Boldon announced tweaks to the Relays schedule to better serve athletes and fans. The high school girls 3,000 meters and high school boys 3,200 meters have been moved to Thursday evening’s distance carnival at 6:10 and 6:25 p.m. The move reduces missed class time for high school athletes and provides a bigger stage for the top distance runners in the state of Iowa as part of the traditional Distance Carnival event on the Blue Oval.

To further serve high school competitors, Boldon announced an additional section of the high school 400-meter hurdles has been added to the schedule, doubling the number of opportunities for athletes to compete in the event.

All-session and multi-session ticket packages for the 2017 Drake Relays presented by Hy-Vee are currently available at DrakeTix.com, by visiting the Drake Athletic Ticket Office or calling 515-271-3647. Single-session tickets go on sale to the general public at March 23 at 9 a.m.