DES MOINES - There's something about the Drake Relays that brings out the best in the Prairie Hawks in the 4x400 relay.
The Hawks successfully defended their title in the 4x400 Saturday by claiming the gold medal for the second year in a row. And for the second straight year, Demetrius Harper blazed to the finish line with the baton clutched tightly in his right hand.
"There was a guy in front of me. I had to kick it," said Harper, who did exactly that.
Tristan Beyer, Lucas Howes, Jarred Edmonds and Harper circled the Blue Oval in 3:21.52 seconds to trim Glenwood and Cedar Falls at the wire. A year ago, the quartet of Jacob Aune, Austin Dellamuth, Edmonds and Harper was slightly faster with a winning time of 3:21.15.
Beyer was supposed to have run in the event last year as well, but a hamstring injury knocked him out of the race in 2012. He had 365 days to think about it.
"I finally got it this year," he said happily. "I'm so proud of the guys."
The Hawks sported new checkerboard jerseys for the 4x400 relay, and they got the checkered flag at the finish line as the undisputed champions in their favorite event at Drake.
Linn-Mar and Kennedy nearly joined Prairie in the victory circle with triumphant relays Saturday, but the Lions and Cougars suffered agonizingly close defeats and had to settle for runnerup honors.
Linn-Mar was nipped in the 4x100 relay by Des Moines Lincoln by 3-thousandths of a second, barely discernible to the human eye but captured by an electronic timing device. The scoreboard originally posted both teams at 42.78 seconds, but Lincoln officially was assigned 42.776 seconds and the Lions got 42.779 seconds.
Perrion Scott, Tristan Freese, Brandon Jeffries and Tim Wolfe were the hard-luck losers for Linn-Mar in that race.
The Kennedy Cougars were nudged in the shuttle hurdle relay by Waukee by one-hundredth of a second. Waukee finished in 57.35 seconds and the Cougars were timed in 57.36 seconds.
Famiek Cook ran a sizzling anchor for Kennedy in the shuttle hurdle relay and nearly caught Waukee anchor Jared Brdicko at the finish. Cook estimated he trailed Brdicko by 1 1/2 hurdles when he began his 110-meter leg.
"He's probably one of the best finishers in the state. He's crazy," said Derek Jacobus, who ran the second leg on the shuttle hurdle relay for Kennedy.
Cook had to look at the scoreboard to see who won the race. "Honestly, I didn't know," he said. "It was really close."
The Cedar Rapids Jefferson girls finished third in the 4x100 relay and fourth in the 4x400 relay, but they were disqualified in the shuttle hurdle relay when Taylor Jacobson fell twice and touched one of the hurdles.
The Linn-Mar boys placed third in the shuttle hurdle relay, took fifth in the 4x800 relay and finished eighth in the 4x400 relay. The Linn-Mar girls placed fourth in the 4x800 relay.
The Marion High School boys placed fourth in the 4x400 relay. The Xavier boys finished sixth in the 4x100 relay. The Cedar Rapids Washington girls finished sixth in the 4x100 relay.
Tanner Rathje of Linn-Mar ran seventh in the 1600 meter run.
1. WDM Valley 9:24.84, 2. Ankeny 9:27.26, 3. Ames 9:27.44, 4. Linn-Mar (Stephanie Jenks, Maddie Saville, Morgan Garcia, Amber Decker) 9:28.76, 5. Waukee 9:28.95, 6. Pleasant Valley 9:31.15; Also - 13. CR Kennedy (Kathia Wampole, Carolyn Stone, Lauren Meyer, Kristen Siebenga) 9:45.62
Shuttle hurdle relay
1. Waukee 62.84 (Drake Relays record, old mark, 63.29, Waukee, 2012), 2. WDM Valley 64.17, 3. WDM Dowling 64.64, DQ - CR Jefferson
1. Stephanie Jenks (Linn-Mar) 4:35.22, 2. Karissa Schweizer (Dowling) 4:37.39, 3. Anna Holdiman (Waverly-SR) 4:40.02, 4. Grace Coen (Newton) 4:40.45, 5. Allison Gregg (Cedar Falls) 4:41.22, 6. Rebekah Topham (Griswold) 4:42.27; Also - 14. Kathia Wampole (CR Kennedy) 4:48.27
No results available
1. DM Roosevelt 47.67, 2. Assumption 48.29, 3. CR Jefferson (Maliya Ratliffe, Lucy Schneekloth, Morgan Meese, Rachel Broghammer) 48.46, 4. Dowling 48.97, 5. Cedar Falls 49.47, 6. CR Washington (Jasmine Raue, Jasmyne Jones, Megan Muller, Kadejah Sanders) 49.66, 7. Iowa City High 49.84, 8. Iowa City West 51.23
1. Pleasant Valley 3:52.97, 2. Assumption 3:56.45, 3. DM Christian 3:57.03, 4. CR Jefferson (Taylor Jacobson, Lucy Schneekloth, Meredith Koenigsfeld, Rachel Broghammer) 3:59.53, 5. WDM Valley 3:59.54, 6. Waukee 4:01.76, 7. Urbandale 4:02.73, 8. Bettendorf 4:07.89
1. Iowa City West 7:48.99, 2. Monticello 7:49.41, 3. Iowa City High 7:51.02, 4. Pleasant Valley 7:57.03, 5. Linn-Mar (Chase Grabau, Tanner Rathje, Duggan Trenary, Daniel Murphy) 8:00.41, 6. Dubuque Senior 8:01.77
Shuttle hurdle relay
1. Waukee 57.35, 2. CR Kennedy (Tom Kaiser, Derek Jacobus, Marcus Perkins, Famiek Cook) 57.36, 3. Linn-Mar (Perrion Scott, Tristan Freese, Ian Frana, Mike Keiser) 57.54, 4. Norwalk 58.64
1. Josh Evans (Linn-Mar) 4:10.86 (Drake Relays record, old mark, 4:11.57, Steve Griener (Pekin) 1979), 2. Jason Thomas (Dowling) 4:14.33, 3. Chandler Austin (Boone) 4:18.74, 4. Caleb Drake (Pleasant Valley) 4:19.24, 5. Wick Cunningham (Knoxville) 4:19.49, 6. Bailey Wetherell (IC West) 4:20.53, 7. Tanner Rathje (Linn-Mar) 4:22.79
1. Jack Bergstrom (Johnston) 52.96, 2. Derek Jones (Glenwood) 53.11, 3. Raheem Black (Fort Madison) 53.36, 4. Noah Larrison (Waukee) 53.74, 5. Jason Banker (Clinton) 53.80, 6. Sydne Davis (DM Roosevelt) 54.54, 7. Tommy Thorne (Mount Pleasant) 54.64, 8. Zach Weiss (Ames) 55.07
1. DM Lincoln 42.776, 2. Linn-Mar (Perrion Scott, Tristan Freese, Brandon Jeffries, Tim Wolfe) 42.779, 3. Iowa City West 43.15, 4. Johnston 43.19, 5. Waukee 43.45, 6. CR Xavier (Miles Sullivan, Nick Stark, Trey Sampson, Nick Steingreaber) 43.56, 7. Bettendorf 44.12, DQ - SE Polk
1. CR Prairie (Tristan Beyer, Lucas Howes, Jarred Edmonds, Demetrius Harper) 3:21.52, 2. Glenwood 3:21.92, 3. Cedar Falls 3:21.92, 4. Marion (Isaac Smith, Peter Rethwisch, Jordan Garthwaite, Trevor Hardman) 3:22.47, 5. Clinton 3:22.69, 6. Albia 3:22.84, 7. Waukee 3:22.90, 8. Linn-Mar (Austin Flieder, Tristan Freese, Ryan Wirth, Chase Grabau) 3:26.83