April 23, 2015

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Zack Ziemek's goal is to make the U.S. world championships team for the first time this summer.

He got off to a strong start in Iowa.

The redshirt senior from the University of Wisconsin opened his season by winning the decathlon Thursday at the Drake Relays with 7,964 points - the second-highest total in the world this season.

Ziemek, who competed unattached, opened his meet by winning the 100 meters Wednesday in 10.68 seconds. He set personal bests Thursday in the discus at 158 feet, 6 inches and the pole vault at 17-4 1/2.

But Ziemek, who was fourth at the U.S. outdoor meet in 2014, fell short of the Olympic ''A'' standard of 8,100 points after posting a sluggish 4:59.06 in the 1,500.

Still, his score was the best at Drake since 1998.

''My first day was subpar,'' Ziemek said. ''(Thursday) I was putting together a good meet. The 1,500 meters isn't my strongest event. But I went out there trying to give everything I had.''

Heather Miller-Koch won the heptathlon with 5,860 points.

The women's 10,000 university/college invitational went to South Dakota junior Kelsey Barrett in 34:54.45, while Benard Keter won the men's race in 29:34.75.

The men's 5,000 was won by Ian Barnett of Illinois. Western Michigan freshman Maria McDaniel took the women's 5,000 in 16:13.95.


Des Moines native Lolo Jones dropped out of the 100 hurdles Wednesday because of a right hamstring injury. Jones later posted a video on Facebook saying that she was frustrated because ''returning home and running in front of a home crowd is a very unique honor.''...The Oklahoma State men and women swept the 6,400 relays. Kirubel Erassa pushed the Cowboys from third to first in the final 200 meters to give them the men's title in 16:19.47...Conditions were nearly perfect Thursday, but that's expected to change. The forecast calls for rain on both Friday and Saturday, the final two days of the meet.


''We were just loving (the) victory lap that we just did. We started waving our flags and everyone in the crowd was cheering for us and it was just a really good atmosphere.'' - Oklahoma State's Kaylee Dodd, part of the 6,400 relay team that broke the meet record with a time of 18:58.11.


The elite athletes begin competition Friday in a number of high-profile events. The men's 110 hurdles field will be headlined by American star Aries Merritt, while the 400 will feature the likes of LaShawn Merritt, Kirani James and Lugelin Santos. Derek Drouin, a bronze medalist at the 2012 Olympics, will look to defend his meet title in the high jump.

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