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Strong elite fields set for Drake Relays

DES MOINES -- Opening Tuesday with the traditional Grand Blue Mile, the Drake Relays revealed the first of many stacked, elite fields set to compete over the weekend in Beijing World Championship Preview (BWCP) events on the Blue Oval.
Fans will be thrilled to see 30 of USATF’s Olympians and World Champions battle it out in Drake Stadium this weekend as the Drake Relays continue through Saturday evening.
The men’s 400 meters are filled with reigning Diamond League Champion LaShawn Merritt (Suffolk, Virginia) and three of the top-five men in the world, including USATF Outdoor champion Gil Roberts (Lubbock, Texas), as well as Josh Mance (Los Angeles, California) and Tony McQuay (Gainesville, Florida).
The 110mH field includes world-record-holder Aries Merritt (Bryan, Texas) alongside reigning world champion David Oliver (Kissimmee, Florida), Ashton Eaton (Eugene, Oregon), Jason Richardson (Los Angeles, California) Jeff Porter (Canton, Michigan) and Aleec Harris (Atlanta, Georgia), 2015 USATF Indoor Champion and the current world leader.
Following his win in the GBM, Matthew Centrowitz (Eugene, Oregon) returns to the track against a similar field, consisting of Leo Manzano (Austin, Texas), AJ Acosta (Oceanside, California) and Will Leer (Los Angeles, California) among others.
The No. 1 and No. 2 horizontal jumpers Christian Taylor (Fayetteville, Georgia) and Will Claye (San Diego, California) will compete in triple jump, and Erik Kynard (Manhattan, Kansas) is the top American in the high jump field.
A star-studded women’s 400m features Francena McCorory (Hampton, Virginia), Sanya Richards-Ross, Natasha Hastings and Jessica Beard.
Kristi Castlin (Douglasville, Georgia) returns to defend her title after last year setting a meet record coming close to a personal best. Castlin faces the top-five ranked hurdlers in the world, including Dawn Harper-Nelson (Los Angeles, California), Brianna Rollins (Los Angeles, California) and Queen Harrison (Los Angeles, California).
The women’s 800m field features current world leader Chanelle Price (Knoxville, Tennessee), Ajee Wilson (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), Brenda Martinez (Big Bear Lake, California), Molly Ludlow (Bloomington, Indiana), Alysia Montano (Canyon Country, California) and GBM victor Heather Kampf (Minneapolis, Minnesota).
Brigetta Barrett (Tucson, Arizona), Chaunte Lowe (Loganville, Georgia) and Amy Acuff (Austin, Texas) star in the high jump, and another great matchup in women’s pole vault once again pits Mary Saxer (Boston, Massachusetts) against Demi Payne (New Braunfels, Texas) and Sandi Morris (Greenville, South Carolina).
For full fields and the competition schedule, click here.
Drake coverage will air live on USATF.TV beginning Friday from 6-7 p.m. (ET). USATF.TV kicks off Satruday coverage 1:30 p.m. ET on Saturday before NBCSN airs more of the Beijing World Championship Preview events starting at 3 p.m. ET. Fans can tune back to USATF.TV for The Cool Down at 5 p.m. ET for post-event highlights, exclusive athlete interviews and behind-the-scenes content.

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