Drake Relays, Presenting Sponsor of Technical Symposiums at #USTFCCCA22, Announces Improvements To Competition Format
DES MOINES, Iowa – On the first day of the 2022 U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Convention, the Drake Relays presented by Xtream powered by Mediacom announced significant improvements to the competition format for the 2023 edition of America’s Athletic Classic. The meet will remain consistent with the traditional structure with competitors from university, college, high school, and elite ranks all participating in an integrated schedule over four days in Drake Stadium. In 2023, an increased emphasis will be placed on maximizing performance opportunities for collegiate athletes.
Of note, plans are underway to wind reverse the finals of the 100 Meter Dash, 100 Meter Hurdles and the 110 Meter Hurdles in the University/College Division, if conditions require. In the distance events, the 2023 event will feature a renewed commitment to evening races with dedicated pace setters targeting national qualifying marks.
The field events will be reshaped by the creation of an invitational Champions Division in which nine athletes in each event will be featured during key times of the meet program. An additional 24 athletes will be included in an open competition culminating in a nine-athlete final. Additionally, schedule adjustments will be made allowing the men’s and women’s discus competitions to be reversed for wind, if necessary.
“Our staff, officials and all those who contribute to organizing America’s Athletic Classic are fully dedicated to the athlete experience and creating opportunities for the nation’s best collegiate athletes to thrive,” said Blake Boldon, Franklin P. Johnson Director of the Drake Relays. “These improvements to our collegiate competition are student-athlete centered and coach driven.”
In sprint events, the enhancements for 2023 expand on previous competition developments including the addition of the 200 Meter and 400 Meter individual races, the creation of the invitational 4x400m relay to reduce competitive efforts for America’s top sprinters, and the addition of Fully Automated Timing splits for all relays, including the 4x100m Relay and 4x400m Relay. In distance races, the 2018 decision to move the 4×1600 Meter Relay to Friday has afforded athletes the opportunity to pursue national qualifying marks on Thursday before competing for a relay title. Also in 2018, the 3000 Meter Steeplechase was moved to Thursday night, making the Distance Carnival a national and international destination.
And starting today, the Drake Relays will be the presenting sponsor of 28 technical symposiums offered at the 2022 USTFCCCA Convention. Technical symposiums allow coaches to learn from their colleagues – and expand their skillsets – in four distinct discipline areas: endurance, jumps, sprints/hurdles/relays, and throws.
“The Drake Relays has innovated in the sport of track and field for more than eleven decades,” said USTFCCCA CEO Sam Seemes. “We are proud to have the Drake Relays sponsor these educational sessions as they continue to evolve with the sport.”
The 113th edition of the Drake Relays will return to the Blue Oval April 26-29, 2023, beginning on Wednesday, April 26 with the men’s decathlon and women’s heptathlon. The combined events conclude on Thursday, April 27, followed by the Distance Carnival, which set a new attendance record of 8,756 in 2019. Friday, April 28, will once again be divided into two segments with day and evening sessions, both featuring many of the nation’s top collegians alongside Iowa’s finest high school athletes. In 2022, the Saturday session closed out the 112th Drake Relays with its 55th consecutive sellout with 14,504 in attendance.
“As attention turns to the 2023 track and field season, we made this announcement at the USTFCCCA Convention because we want real-time feedback from leaders in the sport,” said Boldon. “Coaches are the gatekeepers of our sport and their input has been foundational and directive in all of these changes.”
Drake Relays ticket renewal information will be sent to ticket holders later this month with a renewal deadline of January 17, 2023. Prices for All Session tickets and all ticket packages will remain unchanged again in 2023.
More information will be available on DrakeTix.com.