Each year as the Drake Relays come around, the 400 meter hurdles event at Drake Stadium is one of the hardest events for the high school runners across the state to qualify for. Only the top eight 400 meter hurdlers in the state are selected to compete in that race at the Relays and in the boys division, Adel-DeSoto-Minburn’s Tate Jensen was one of those runners this season.
A-D-M coach Mike Whisner said that in 34 years of coaching track and field, Jensen was his first 400 meter hurdler to qualify for the Drake Relays. Out of the seven runners who competed in the race, Jensen took sixth finishing the race in 55.91 seconds, which was 0.54 seconds behind his best time of the year.
“It was rough,” Jensen said after the race. “There was some wind I wasn’t expecting, so I just made it through it.”
Jensen said it was “amazing” to get the chance to run at the Drake Relays.
“I’m just honored to be in here and running with this talented group of guys,” Jensen said.
During the Friday session, the Drake Relays had a total attendance of 20,677. With very few empty seats at times during races and events, it makes for a different atmosphere than the high school runners are used to when competing in their typical meets.
“It’s overwhelming at first, but then it kind of gets you hyped up a little bit and gets you ready to go,” Jensen said. “You forget about it.”
In the girls division Waukee had two 400 meter hurdle runners compete at the Drake Relays. Waukee’s Erika Lewis and Mary Kate Gray competed in the event for the Warriors.
Lewis, a junior this season, took fourth place with a time of 65.40 seconds while Gray, a freshman, took eighth with a time of 68.26 seconds.
Lewis is No. 5 in the state in the 400 meter hurdles with her time from the Drake Relays, while Gray is No. 10 in the state with a time of 66.98 seconds, a time she got at a meet in Iowa City on April 17.