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Augustana Continues To Shine At Drake Relays

April 25, 2014, 6:52 PM

Augustana Continues To Shine At Drake Relays

DES MOINES, Iowa - Day two of the Drake Relays supplied more excitement for Augustana as the Vikings swept the collegiate division distance medley relays while setting a couple of school records on day two in Des Moines.

The women's DMR broke the school record by eight seconds as Kristin Brondbo came from behind in the final leg to capture the first title of the day. The Vikings recorded a final time of 11:32.87 to win their second Drake Relays DMR title in four years.

The women's quartet broke the record that Brondbo helped set in 2011 when they last won the Drake Relay title. The Vikings' time also sets a new South Dakota collegiate record which was previously owned by the 2011 Augustana squad.

Kyle Blakeslee opened the race with a 3:35.15 in the 1,200-meter portion, putting the Vikings in the top four before handing the baton off to Carina Hofmeister who turned in a 54.95-second split in her 400 meters. Holding their top-three position, Kayla Mescher clocked a 2:11.31 as the 800-meter runner for the Vikings keeping them within striking distance of Lincoln (Mo.) who led from the start.
Brondbo took the baton for the final 1,600 meters and after Lincoln's miler raced out to an eight-second lead the senior from Steinkjer, Norway reeled in the leader. After passing a runner on her third of four laps and with a final split of 4:51.46, Brondbo overtook the Lincoln runner on the last turn and ran the Vikings to victory.

"Drake Relays has always been a special meet in our schedule," head coach Tracy Hellman said. "We are very fortunate to add to our storied history at this meet. Winning at this meet is a special accomplishment and we are extremely excited to add two more titles to our program's history."

The second title came a little over an hour later as the men duplicated the women's efforts in thrilling fashion. The men fell one second shy of breaking the Augustana record, but still earned their fourth title in five years with a final time of 9:51.78.

Jordan Slusser led off for the Vikings as he jostled his way to a 3:02.65 in the opening 1,200 meters. Skyler Kuil then took the baton and clocked a 48.75-second lap to keep the Vikings at the top as no team was able to gain separation.

Aduo Omot raced out to a lead with his 1:52.12, but there was still a pack of five teams in the hunt as he passed the baton to Harald Karbo for the final 1,600 meters. Karbo sank back in the lead pack, but used a big kick to overtake the lead on the final turn for a split of 4:07.97 and the victory.

As a member of all four championship relay teams of the past five years, Omot remained undefeated in Drake Relay distance medley relay races, previously winning titles in 2010, 2011, and 2012.

Not to be outdone, the women's 4x400-meter relay team finally broke through with a provisional qualifying time while breaking an Augustana record that stood for 16 years. Hofmeister and Mescher added another record to their names, this time joining Anne Parlsey and Colleen Everson in the 4x400-meter relay.

The four Viking women turned in a 3:46.58 which won their heat and was the fourth-fastest qualifier for tomorrow's finals. Currently, the women's time ranks 13th on the Division II leaderboard.

Kelsey Kaufmann was the lone individual competitor for the Vikings on Friday and she hit her first provisional mark of the season in the women's high jump. Kaufmann cleared 1.68 meters (5-6) to take 19th in the event and finish as the top Division II competitor.

The men's 4x400-meter relay finished in 3:21.90 to tie their mark last week and missed out on qualifying for the finals. Augustana's 4x100-meter men's relay hit a time of 43.12 seconds.

The women's 4x100- and 4x200-meter relay teams also competed on Friday, missing out on the finals in both events. The 4x200 squad finished 13th in the prelims with a time of 1:44.33 and the 4x100-meter relay team took 24th in 49.40 seconds.

Augustana finishes their trip to the blue oval with three relays and two individuals. CJ Ham is seeking his first provisional mark in the men's shot put and Blakeslee looks to defend her 2012 3,000-meter steeplechase title as well. The men's and women's sprint medley relay teams will compete in the morning and the women's 4x400-meter relay squad will run in the finals tomorrow afternoon.


Courtesy: Augustana Eric Zahn

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