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Posted May 3, 2012
HIGH SCHOOL JOURNALISM: West Delaware breaks Drake Relays drought

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By Claire Swift, West Delaware senior

MANCHESTER – West Delaware’s Drake Relays dry spell  came to an end last weekend.

The girls’ and boys’ track teams brought competitors to the Drake Relays for the first time since 2004 and 2006, respectively,  to one of the biggest outdoor track meets held in the United States.

Athletes from high schools and colleges, as well as Olympians, participate at this meet held every year in Des Moines.

Four West Delaware track and field events competed at this prestigious meet this year.

For boys, the 400 relay ran on April 27 and placed 51st out of 80 teams with a time of 45.08 seconds.  Seniors Trey MacTaggart, Jon Snyder and Cole Stephen, with junior Ryan Dudak, made up the relay. The team ran 44.98 to qualify.

“It was fun to stand around with guys from Baylor, Alabama, Florida and Arkansas because they are all really fast,” MacTaggart said.

The last time a boys’ event qualified for Drake was in 2006 in the 400 relay.

The girl’s track team sent three events to Drake – junior Leslie Hoffman in the high jump, junior Jenny Boeding discus and the 400 relay team of senior Krista Briggs, junior Gina Callan and freshmen Emily Thole and Hannah Gaffney.

Hoffmann barely missed opening height, which was 5-feet, 1-inch. Hoffmann’s personal best for the season is 5-3 1/2.

“It was frustrating being hurt and it was bad timing because I can clear that height, but it was still an accomplishment making it to Drake,” she said.

Placing 21st out of 24 competitors,  Boeding threw the discus 113 feet, 2  inches on April 27. Boeding’s personal best is 126-4.

The girls’ 400 relay ended up 55th out of 80 teams. The foursome went into the race ranked 80th and beat 25 other relays, beating their personal record of 52.69 with a 52.23.

“The level of competition we saw at Drake was insane,” Briggs said. “The thing me and my teammates focused on was having fun and enjoying the experience.”

Doug Engel, the girl’s head track coach, was thrilled with the results.

“Drake Relays was a great experience and I’m proud of the way our girls competed as our team continues to get to the next level,” Engel said. “We look forward to keep climbing the ladder of success and competing at a high level at Wamac.”


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