March 31, 2017
DES MOINES, Iowa – Derek Drouin, the reigning Olympic gold medalist, Drake Relays record holder and three-time Drake Relays champion is set to headline the men’s high jump competition at the upcoming Drake Relays presented by Hy-Vee. Drouin was one of 10 competitors announced Friday, March 31, by Drake Relays Director Blake Boldon.
“I’m honored to announce the field in the high jump,” Boldon said. “My predecessor, Brian Brown, left a tremendous legacy and his specialty as an athlete was the high jump where he held the Drake Stadium record for almost 20 years. Today we’re very pleased to announce this field that has the Olympic gold medalist and the three-time Relays champion.”
In addition to Drouin, the competition will feature six other Olympians and a two-time Paralympic champion in Roderick Townsend-Roberts. Townsend-Roberts, the world record holder in the T-47 Paralympic high jump with a clearance of 6-11.5 (2.21m), competed in the event at the 2016 Relays.
Drouin, who owns the Drake Relays and Drake Stadium record in the event at 7-10.25 (2.40m), will attempt to hold off the talented field for an unprecedented fourth-straight Relays title in the event. Last summer, Drouin won his second Olympic medal with a gold medal at the Rio Olympic Games after earning the bronze medal in 2012. His personal best of 7-10.25 (2.40m), set at the Drake Relays is also the Canadian national record.
Drouin will be challenged by the likes of Ricky Robertson, who finished third at the 2016 Drake Relays and went on to earn a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team and Bryan McBride, who finished as the runner-up in the event in both 2015 and 2016.
A former Relays Champion looking to make a comeback is also scheduled to jump. Jesse Williams, a two-time American Olympian, four-time U.S. Champion and the 2011 World Champion will return to Drake Stadium. Williams was the Relays Champion in 2009 and despite standing just six feet tall, has cleared 7-9.25 (2.37m), a 53-centimeter height differential that ranks among the top 20 all-time.
Drouin won’t be the only Canadian in the field as countryman Mike Mason, a three-time Canadian Olympian, comes back to Drake Stadium after a sixth-place finish at the 2016 Relays.
More international athletes line the field including Trevor Barry, a Bahamian Olympian, that was fourth at the 2016 Relays and competed in four World Championships for the Bahamas. Jamal Wilson, another product of the Bahamas, will try to clear bars at the Relays after representing his country at the 2016 Olympics. Another Olympian, D.J. Smith, visits Drake Stadium after representing Puerto Rico in the 2016 Olympics.
Jeron Williams, an eight-time NCAA Division II All-American and the Division II record holder completes the world-class field.
The 10 jumpers are scheduled to compete Saturday, April 29 at 2 p.m. inside Drake Stadium.
Tickets for all sessions of the 108th edition of the Drake Relays presented by Hy-Vee are available via the Drake Athletic Ticket Office and by calling 515-271-3647 or visiting DrakeTix.com/DrakeRelays.