Illinois track & field heads to Drake Relays for final regular season meet of 2022


Sydney Laput

Senior Nya Carr runs during the 100 meter dash for the Illini Invitational on Saturday. The Illini will finish their regular season at the three-day Drake Relays in Iowa on Thursday.

By Ben Fader, Staff Writer

The Illini head to Des Moines, Iowa, on Thursday for the Drake Relays, a three-day meet that will finish the team’s 2022 track & field regular season.

The meet will provide excellent experience for the team right before the postseason with a preview of some Big Ten matchups that will take place in a couple of weeks.

Big Ten teams competing in the relays include Iowa (No. 17 men), Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Purdue and Wisconsin. All rankings are according to the USTFCCCA poll from April 18.

The rest of the field includes notable programs like North Carolina A&T (No. 15 men, No. 11 women) and Kentucky (No. 10 men, No. 7 women), who will provide quality competition in every event.

The Illini have been very productive lately, with many athletes recording personal bests weekly, and event titles are becoming consistent with certain athletes on the team.

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One of these athletes is senior Nya Carr, who won the women’s 100m on senior day, adding another event title in her final season.

It didn’t really hit me until afterwards that it could’ve potentially been one of my last races at a home meet,” Carr said.

Carr has contributed a lot to the team during her time as an Illini, especially in the 4x100m, which she says is her favorite race.

Being a part of the 4x100m is nice,” Carr said. “I love doing that, and being able to cheer on your teammates is the best part in such a fast race.”

With the final home meet out of the way, Carr and her teammates have quickly shifted focus to the Relays and beyond.

We are prepared as we can possibly be at this point (for the postseason),” Carr said. “We are just going to be very technical in practice and work on our specialties.”

The relays will be held at a big outdoor track with many teams competing, so the schedule is different and more spread out than usual.

Only the decathlon and heptathlon will be raced on Thursday morning, with the distance carnival in the afternoon and evening.

All events occur on Friday, starting with 4x800m women’s relay at 8:50 a.m. CT. The day will end with 4x200m relay finals around 8:30 p.m. CT.

Distance medley finals will kick off the competition on Saturday morning at 8:30 am CT, and awards will be presented when the relays end at 5 p.m. CT.

Live results can be found at Drake Relays Results – Drake University Athletics (, where you can check on your favorite Illini times as they compete.

Next for the Illini, two weeks of practice and preparation before heading to Minneapolis, Minn., for the Big Ten outdoor championships on May 13–15.



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