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April 25, 1997

Coming this Weekend to MSU: the Drake Relays

What: Drake Relays
Where: Des Moines, IA
When: April 25-26

THE BIG ONE: The most prestigious track and field meet of MSU's season will arrive April 25-26, as the 88th annual Drake Relays descend upon Des Moines, Iowa. The 18,000-seat Drake Stadium will host the event, as it looks to sellout for the 32nd consecutive year, the longest streak in U.S. track history.

Michigan State will head into the Relays along with Big Ten rivals Michigan and Ohio State, as well as the second-ranked school in the nation, Texas-El Paso. The Division I menis collegiate division will feature 54 schools, with 763 competitors. The entire meet will see nearly 7,800 athletes.

The fans will get a treat as track and field superstar Michael Johnson is entered in the special 200-meter event. A double-gold medalist in the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, Johnson set the meet 400 record a year ago with a time of 44.41 seconds. In the 1996 edition of the Drake Relays, 30 Olympians stepped onto the track, as eight meet records were established between the menis and womenis events. In the history of this meet, 14 world records, 49 American records and 59 national collegiate records have been broken.

The Spartans will not feature a squad foreign to the electric atmosphere of the Drake Relays. In last seasonis meet, senior Brad Fields (Kentwood) nearly stole the show, as he just missed the university 100-meter dash championship, taking second with a time of 10.56 seconds. Fields then proceeded to grab third place in the special 200-meter dash, clocking in at 20.93 seconds. Other current Spartans who saw action include senior Pat Hoard (Plymouth, Minn.) in the 5,000, sophomore Steve Schell (Dearborn) in the 10,000, and the team of senior Dean Rugh (White Lake), senior Ryan Kennedy (Rochester Hills), Hoard and current volunteer coach Chris Lett in the 4x1,600-meter relay.

YOU CAN'T GO HOME AGAIN: Michigan State hosted its only event of the outdoor season as teams from around the Midwest descended upon East Lansing for the Michigan State Spartan Invitational, held April 19 at the Ralph Young Track. Eastern Michigan, Notre Dame and Detroit were among the seven schools who entered athletes in the meet. No teams scores were kept, however the Green and White put on an impressive performance, especially in the distance events.

The Spartans' distance crew swept the 800, 1,500 and 5,000. Senior Todd Richman (Kalamazoo) blew by the field in the 800, seizing the race title with a time of 1:54.34. Teammates Eric Eichinger (Sr., Kalamazoo) and Tim White (Arlington Heights, Ill.) backed up his solid time by placing seventh and ninth, respectively, with times of 1:56.84 and 1:57.96.

Pat Hoard marked his final meet on his home track by taking the 1,500 in 3:55.81. Spartans dotted the top 10, as sophomore Chris Wehrman (Pinckney) took third, junior Jim Marcero (Monroe) placed fourth and junior Jim Jurcevich (Defiance, Ohio) ranked seventh, with times of 3:59.19, 3:59.66 and 4:01.66, respectively.

Junior Mark Goodfellow (Oxford) continued his emergence into one of the squadis elite runners, as he took home the 5,000-meter title in 14:55.11. Current MSU volunteer coach Chris Lett captured the 3,000-meter steeplechase in 8:54.08. He beat out Spartan All-American junior Kyle Baker (Anderson, Ind.) with a time of 8:59.03. Sophomore Jacob Nay (Columbus, Ind.) took fourth in 9:31.54.

Brad Fields turned up a pair of deuces in his pair of races, as he was runner-up in both the 200 (21.29) and the 400 (47.98). Junior Damon Heard (Ypsilanti) took seventh in the 200 (22.49), while sophomore Jason Coulter (Flint) backed up Fieldsi performance in the 400 by placing third with a mark of 48.48.

Heard made his impact in the 100, as he placed second with a time of 11.15 seconds. Senior Ramsey Watkins (Flint) supported his teammate with a fifth-place finish, timing in at 11.42.

Watkins was the top collegiate finisher in the 110-high hurdles, as he crossed the finish ne in 14.59 seconds. He was upstaged by former Spartan Jarion Bradley, who ran unattached. Bradley swept the two hurdle events, winning the 110 in 14.42 and the 400 in 52.08.

Sophomore Justin Seldon (Traverse City) took up the Spartansi throwing responsibilities, as he took eighth in the javelin (140' 3') and third in the discus (142' 5').

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