From the start of the first field event at the University of Dubuque until the final competitor crossed the line in the 4×400-meter relay, the Duhawks soared to new heights, setting several personal records on their way to a first place finish on the men’s side and a second place finish for the women. Sophomores Alexis Hanson and Brandon Gradoville were two of the Duhawks who broke personal records last weekend.
Hanson competed in three events this weekend: the 200-meter dash, the 4×100-meter relay, and the 4×400-meter relay. In the 200, junior Bree Powers and Hanson went 1-2 respectively, with times of 25.96 and 26.10.
“I am really excited about my races on Saturday,” said Hanson. “After a hard week of practices, I am excited to be dropping times from week to week.”
Powers and Hanson along with sophomore Elizabeth Brandenburg and first-year Devin Hasson competed in the 4×100. They won the event with a season-record time of 49.57.
In the last event of the meet, the 4×400-relay of Powers, Hanson, senior Mercedez Kennedy and first-year Emily Ney, the women found themselves in second place heading into the final 400 meters of the race. In a photo-finish, Hanson, the final leg, just barely edged out Sybbie Sears of Dubuque to win the race by less than half of a second.
“I knew I had some time to make up, but I also knew I had to be smart,” Hanson said. “I just kept my eyes focused on the back of the girl in front of me. With about 150 left to go, there was a huge group of my teammates all screaming at me to make my move. I could tell she was starting to die and the gap was getting smaller which really motivated me to keep pushing.” The relay finished with the time of 4:01.58.
On the men’s side, Gradoville was among the top competitors. In the 4×100 relay, Gradoville, along with seniors Josh Goerdt, Kyle Ward and Zac Gassman, finished second in the event with a time of 42.14.
“The handoffs were a little shaky, but we still all ran well,” Gradoville said of the race.
He ran the 100-meter dash as well, but didn’t make the finals for the event. He ran the 200-meter dash later in the meet where he placed second again. His time was a 22.38 with the wind at his back. Regardless, it was an impressive time drop.
The 4×400 relays for the men were a little different this weekend as the men are looking to establish the perfect relay for the upcoming Drake Relays this weekend. Gradoville was bumped up to the lead off leg in one of the 4×400 relays, and he did not disappoint. According to the coaches, he ran around 49 seconds, which is an impressive feat to accomplish as a sophomore. As the season comes to an end, Gradoville hopes that both teams will “be fresh and ready to go for the [Iowa] conference championships.”
Due to the high number of personal records set by the Duhawks this weekend, the coaches named six performers of the meet. For the men’s track performer, it was Brandon Gradoville. In the field events, junior Keontae Neely soared his way into first place in the long jump. He jumped an impressive 6.93 meters, a personal record.
The top performers in the women’s track events were Bree Powers and Alexis Hansons. The top performers in the field events were senior Shay Coleman for her second place triple jump performance and senior Morgan Steere for her shot put mark of 13.24 meters, which is a lifetime personal record. This mark has also pushed her into the national ranking for the shot put.
A select handful of Duhawks will head off to compete in the Drake Relays, while the rest of the team will stay in Dubuque to compete in the Dr. Tucker Open at the Rock Bowl this Saturday.