Friday, April 29, 2005
The Alabama women’s track and field team picked up a pair of wins on the first day of the prestigious Drake Relays here in Des Moines, Iowa.
Junior Beau Walker successfully defended her 2004 400m hurdles title, this time turning in a Drake Relays record with a 56.48 obliterating the old record of 57.36 set by Lana Jekabone in 2000. She was nearly two seconds better than the next closest finisher.
“I’m happy about the run,” Walker. “I’ve been working on mistakes that I made in the past, I wanted to break the record coming into the race, and I knew it was possible. Last year the Drake Relays were my greatest accomplishment. I love this place because it’s an intimate setting; even if it’s cold, the fans make it warm.”
Walker, the Drake Relays Performer of Meet last season, also ran a leg on the Tide’s 4x100m relay, which is seeded first coming out of prelims. Juniors Majik Reed, Tahesia Harrigan and Walker, along with senior Rachel Wilson posted a 44.99 to better all the other teams.
“It was great. Actually, the weather is a little down, but we’re trying to not let that stop us today.’’
Friday saw the Relays attracted over 15,000 fans on an overcast day that saw temperatures reach the mid-50s.
Junior All-American Beth Mallory, the NCAA Runner-up in the discus last season, won that event with a career best throw of 182 feet and four inches. Mallory had two throws over 182 feet, but it was her second throw which clinched the title. She was more than three feet better than Nebraska’s Dace Ruskule, who finished second with a 179-03.
Mallory also finished fifth in the shot put with a throw of 50-04.75 while junior Aymara Albury took sixth with a 50-02.00 effort.
Alabama returns to action Saturday with the meet running through Sunday.