Wariner, Cantwell post strong performances at Drake Relays

Updated: April 29, 2006, 6:26 PM ET
Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa -- Christian Cantwell woke up Saturday morning with one goal in mind -- to break the Drake Relays record in the shot put.

By the time Cantwell's second attempt hit the turf he had done it twice, and set the world mark for 2006 in the progress.

Christian Cantwell had the world's best shot put mark of the year at 72 feet, 6\ inches, and Jeremy Wariner cruised to an easy win in the 200 meters Saturday in the 97th annual Drake Relays.

The meet's final day was hampered by poor conditions, with temperatures in the low 50s and steady rain falling throughout.

Cantwell shattered the Drake record with his second attempt and set a standard for the 2006 season. Both his first and second attempts broke the meet record of 69-6½.

"I told myself this morning that I was going to break the record no matter what. Even if there was a tornado I was going to do it," Cantwell said. "This was a pleasant surprise."

Wariner, the reigning Olympic gold medalist in the 400, had little trouble taking the 200. Wariner broke through the pack by the turn and accelerated down the stretch, finishing in 20.67.

"With the conditions what they were -- it was real cool out there and kinda wet -- I felt real comfortable with my race. I pleased with my run," Wariner said.

Allyson Felix, the marquee female athlete competing at Drake, finished a surprising third in the 100. Felix, who usually struggles at the start of races, had trouble getting untracked during the opening 50 meters and never recovered.

Felix, the 2004 Olympic silver medalist in the 200, crossed the line in 11:75. Alabama's Tahesia Harrigan took the race in 11.57.

"I came out feeling pretty ready, but coming out of the blocks I was pretty much out of the race from the start," Felix said. "Definitely disappointing."

Des Moines native Lolo Jones celebrated her homecoming by cruising to the win in the 100 hurdles. Jones finished in 12:95.

Amy Acuff defended her title in the high jump and set the Relays record with a jump of 6-4. Chaunte Howard finished second at 6-2. The event was moved indoors due to the weather.

David Payne won the 110 hurdles with a time of 13.66, edging Aubrey Herring by 0.03 seconds.

Jebreh Harris was a surprise winner in the men's 800 at 1:49.46.

Kellie Suttle won her fifth Drake title in the women's pole vault. Suttle, who plans to retire at the end of the season, cleared the bar at 14-2\.

"It is a really big win," Suttle said. "I think I have accomplished everything I need to accomplish."

Athens silver medalist Toby Stephenson took the men's pole vault at 18-4}.

Abe Jones denied Joey Woody's quest for his fourth 400 meter hurdles title in five years, winning in 50.37. Woody was the runner-up, finishing in 50.84.

After finishing second to Michigan twice on Friday, the Minnesota women's long distance team recorded a major win Saturday by winning the 6,400 race. Gophers anchor leg Emily Brown pushed past Missouri star Amanda Bales on the final lap and Minnesota took the race in 19:10.92, setting a meet record.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press

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