Nuttycombe previews Drake relays

first_imgSophomore Adam Hexum grabbed the title in the 110-meter hurdles last weekend. He will look for similar success this week at the Drake Relays.[/media-credit]Though the calendar might have the Wisconsin men’s track and field team sitting in the middle of outdoor competition, the season is still young for many Badgers as April and May still loom on the schedule.With the Drake Relays set for the end of this week, head coach Ed Nuttycombe expects things to heat up a bit.“We’ve been to three meets, and some of the athletes have competed in as few as one of them,” Nuttycombe said at his Monday press conference. “So we’re kind of really getting rolling now with the rest of the season. They’ll be kind of picking up steam as we roll through the second half of April and, of course, into May.”Coming off a solid showing at the Mt. SAC Relays and California Invitational out west last weekend, Nuttycombe was especially pleased with the performance of the Badgers’ decathletes. Sophomore Adam Hexum grabbed the title in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 14.70 seconds, while junior Zach Beth also won his event, the 1500 meter, with a time of 3:56.63.Last year, it was Hexum who led off the Badger shuttle relay squad that ended up winning the event.Redshirt freshman Paul Annear also stood out, winning the triple jump with a personal best of 47-3 and placing third in the long jump with a mark of 22-1.“As far as the Mt. SAC Relays, it’s an international event where there’s athletes from all over the world that are there, and it’s a festive, fun event, and we felt like we did a good job with a wide spectrum of events,” Nuttycombe said. “From the high jump to the 5,000 to various other events, I think we made a lot of progress.”Heading to Drake this weekend, the Badgers will shift their focus to individual events.“We’re still trying to kind of, amongst the staff and the athletes, trying to figure out which ones we’re going to kind of put an emphasis on and go for,” Nuttycombe said. “Shuttle hurdle and perhaps 4×800 may be two of our better events, if we choose to go with those.”As Nuttycombe was quick to highlight, the Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa, garner significant attention midway through the outdoor season. Regarded as one of the most renowned meets in the country, the Drake Relays also acts as a celebrated tradition for Des Moines.Drake University treats the meet as a homecoming of sorts, with alumni and professional athletes generally in attendance.“It’s an amazing event,” Nuttycombe said. “If you look at the time schedule, at 2:03 an event starts, and at 2:06 an event starts, and at 2:12 an event starts. And if you look up on the clock on the far end of the stadium, that’s when it starts. It is a very tight schedule, and the community really, really comes out and supports it.”In 2009, it was Hexum who led off the Badger shuttle relay squad that ended up winning the event.This year, Nuttycombe hopes to keep the Badgers’ focus on that same event.“One of the events that we hope to do well in is the shuttle hurdle relay, because we do have a host of hurdlers,” Nuttycombe said. “It is an event that, if you run a clean race and you have four hurdlers, you’ll do well, because a lot of schools just don’t have that number of competitive good hurdlers.”last_img read more