Drake Relays: Dowling grad Karissa Schweizer poised to smash 1985 record

Nearly 50 Drake Relays officials have worked 20 or more years to make the event run smoothly. Wochit

(Photo: University of Missouri)

It’s a Drake Relays record-smashing opportunity for a runner who grew up competing at the meet.

Missouri’s Karissa Schweizer, an NCAA champion who graduated from West Des Moines Dowling Catholic, will attempt to break the record in the women’s university-college 5,000 meters — a mark set in 1985, 11 years before she was born.

The existing mark of 15 minutes, 31.18 seconds was set by Wisconsin’s Cathy Branta-Easker, who was a member of the 1984 U.S. Olympic team.

Schweizer, one of the nation’s top collegiate runners, has clocked 15:18.69 in the 5,000. She ran that time in the USA Track & Field Championships.

The race will be held April 26 as part of the meet, Drake Relays officials announced Friday.

Schweizer, who graduated from Dowling in 2014, grew up in Urbandale and competed at the Relays in high school. Her family has three generations of runners.

“The Drake Relays holds a special place in my heart and it means the world for me to be able to come back to race in my hometown,” Schweizer said in a press release. “If I were able to set a record at this year’s Relays, it would be the cherry on top to a long career of running on the Blue Oval.”

The race will be part of the Relays distance carnival. The event is scheduled to start at 7:53 p.m.

Schweizer has bloomed into one of the nation’s top college runners. She has won multiple NCAA championships, taking indoor and outdoor titles in the 5,000 and a cross country crown in 2016.

“For generations, the Drake Relays has helped cultivate and provide a showcase for the best talent in the state of Iowa,” said Relays director Blake Boldon in a press release.

“Karissa is one of those talented athletes that our fans have watched grow up before their eyes on the Blue Oval. She’s made history at Missouri and we’re honored that her final race as a collegian at Drake Stadium has the potential to be a record-setting performance.”

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