The University of South Dakota men and women’s track team will head to the Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa April 25-27 for their second to last tournament before the conference championships.
The Drake Relays is a tournament with over 40 Division-I teams. Women’s head coach Lucky Huber said it will be good preparation for the Summit League Championships in May.
“Drake Relays are a great experience because of the high level of teams that will be competing,” Huber said.
Men’s head coach Dave Gottsleben said the Coyotes have had a solid spring, with the men winning the indoor Summit League Championships and the women finishing fourth.
“The men’s team has worked hard this spring, and has great marks in all events at the midpoint of the season,” Gottsleben said.
Both teams have placed well in nearly every tournament and have been busy competing around the country, traveling to Texas, California, Arkansas and Kansas. Gottsleben said it’s important to continue the success at the Drake Relays.
“We would like to win something at Drake, and break school records,” Gottsleben said.
Individual success has translated to top finishes at tournaments, where the Coyotes are having strong showings in every event at every tournament, helping the Coyotes stay toward the top.
“We need to go out and not be scared of anyone, and know that first place is as good as ours no matter who we are up against in each event,” first-year Josh Petersen said.
With 40 teams competing this weekend, this will be the last major tournament the Coyotes will encounter before the Summit League Championships.
“Drake is one of the biggest meets in the country and to do well there leaves a good impression in track and field all across the country,” Petersen said. “Being a rising program in the country, I would say it is a great opportunity to go out and show what South Dakota is all about.”
As the team moves down the stretch, many athletes are using Drake to prepare for situations they have not seen before to prepare for the conference championship.
“Drake for me is the first full decathlon I will be doing this season which is also what I am doing at conference. It will be a great test to see how my body can handle working through the ten events over two days,” Petersen said.
Huber said the goal has always remained the same.
“Our goals are the same as every team at USD, to win the Conference—we need to improve on our 3rd place finish indoor, I think we can be better than we were indoors,” Huber said.
Following the Drake Relays the team will stay in-state, heading to Sioux Falls for the Howard Wood Relays May 3-4. That will be the team’s final meet before heading to Muncie, Ind. for the championships.