‘America’s Athletic Classic’

Josh Johnston

Track and field to compete at the elite Drake Relays

The Kent State track and field team will be in good company starting this Thursday at the Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa. Nearly 8,000 athletes ranging from former Olympic gold medalist Allen Johnson to middle school runners will be at the meet known as “America’s Athletic Classic.”

“It’s a very select meet,” Lawson said. “Standards are very tough to get in. It will be a higher caliber meet than the national championships.”

The Flashes will be without key distance runners sophomore Aiman Scullion and freshman Patrick Gorby. Scullion, the school’s indoor 3,000-meter run record holder, is still sick from food poisoning.

“The whole year had been training towards running fast at the Drake Relays in the 5,000 meters to not only break the school record but to get a regional qualifying mark,” Lawson said. “He was so ready to do it.”

Scullion said he tried pushing himself Monday but still didn’t feel well.

“I still feel weak and tired,” he said. “I feel good during the day, but when I come to practice I struggle.”

Six athletes became ill after eating at Chipotle last week. Lawson said the illness hit Scullion the worst.

“It’s one thing to be a thrower or a jumper and be able to do a short burst,” Lawson said, “but when you’re running lap after lap, it really affects you.”

Lawson said Gorby will most likely be out for the season after an injury at the All-Ohio meet. Gorby received injuries by rolling his ankle and falling after the meet in Cincinnati.

“We certainly know he has some type of ligament strain, maybe a mild concussion,” Lawson said. “It’s to the point where he’ll lose so much training that there’s no way he can be back by the end of the season.”

With the Mid-American Conference Championship meet two weeks away, Lawson said this stage of the season is especially important.

“This hard training we get at running two or three races at Drake is a perfect time go to task in order to be in shape for conference,” he said. “We’ve just got to do the best we can to get people ready to go by MAC.”

Contact sports correspondent Josh Johnston at [email protected].