Spartans to Compete at Drake Relays

Apr 24, 2014 | J.Crane

DES MOINES, IOWA – The University of Dubuque Track & Field program will be well represented at the 2014 Drake Relays presented by Hy-Vee. The UD women's 4x100m and 4x200m Relays teams were selected while the men's 4x100m Relay team will also compete. Spartans pole vaulter Rick Valcin (Catries, St. Lucia/Gros Islet) will take part in the field events University/College Division of the Pole Vault. Nearly 9,000 track and field athletes will be competing in 111 events over the course of five days of competition beginning on Wednesday, April 23rd and ending Sunday, April 29th.

Head Track/Cross Country Coach Chad Gunnelson said, "To compete at the Drake Relays is an absolute honor and we're excited to have the opportunity to run and vault with the best in the nation. The atmosphere and competition put us in a championship setting that will prepare us well for conference."

The Spartans women relay teams for the 4x100m and 4x200m will be the same with Jasmine Bethea (Schaumburg, Ill./Schaumburg), Tieisha Starks (Waukegan, Ill./Waukegan), Nickolette McKenzie (Hoffman Estates, Ill./William Fremd), and Rachael Busjahn (Sobieski, Wis./Pulaski) running in both events. Bethea currently ranks ninth in the Iowa Conference (IIAC) in the 100m Dash while Starks is 14th in the IIAC. McKenzie and Busjahn bring an extra level of experience to the relay team having run twice at Drake in 2013. The Dubuque 4x100m team won last week on their home track at the UD Good Friday Open. Brittany Burns (Beloit, Wis./Beloit Memorial) will serve as the alternate.

The men's 4x100m team will be Valcin, Kyle Williams (Chicago Heights, Ill./Bloom), Jamie Medina (Waterloo, Iowa/West), and Evan Zurbuchen (Hollandale, Wis./Madison West). Valcin and Williams currently ranked 2-3 in the IIAC in the 100m Dash at 10.90 and 11.04 seconds with both times coming last weekend at the UD Good Friday Open. A hurdles specialist, Zurbuchen ranks 66th nationally in the 400m Hurdles and 98th in the 110m Hurdles. The last time Medina ran on the blue oval, his high school 4x100m relay team broke the Iowa High School state record in 2013. Marcus Weathers (Sun Prairie, Wis./Sun Prairie) is the 4x100m alternative for the men. 

Valcin will face his toughest competition of the season with numerous Division-I and Division-II student-athletes also scheduled to compete. There will be three D-I All-Americans competing including the fourth-fifth-eighth-11th- and 13th place finishers at the 2014 NCAA Division-III Indoor Championships. From Division-II, the third and 11th place finishers will vault in the loaded field. Valcin was the runner-up at the 2014 NCAA Division-III Indoor Championships, losing the tiebreaker on misses. 


UD Schedule
Women's 4x100m Relay: Friday - 8:58 a.m. (Heat 1 of 4)
Men's 4x100m Relay: Friday - 9:17 a.m. (Heat 2 of 4)
Women's 4x200m Relay: Friday - 12:51 p.m. (Section 1 of 3)

Pole Vault (Valcin): Friday - 12:30 p.m.

Results from Drake: LIVE RESULTS

A Live Blog courtesy Drake Athletics is available at: LIVE BLOG

Select coverage of the Drake Relays will air on the NBC Sports Network during a two-hour telecast from 2:00 - 4:00  p.m. on Saturday, April 28th.  

Stay up-to-date with all UD Athletics on Twitter at: @UDubuqueSports