DES MOINES - Paige Knodle, Rachel Peth, Abbie Ackerman and Olimpia Nowak teamed up to break the UNI shuttle hurdle relay school record twice in a matter of five hours on Saturday, as the quartet claimed a second-place finish at the Drake Relays.
The four Panthers posted a preliminary time of 57.11 seconds to advance to the afternoon final, and they proceeded to erase that mark by more than one second in the finals with a time of 56.02 seconds. Both performances smashed the previous school record of 58.42 seconds established in 1999.
Nowak - the senior school record-holder in the 100m hurdles - is the only upperclassman on the relay squad. Knodle and Peth are freshmen, and Ackerman is a sophomore.
UNI's men's team of Sebastian Barth, Ben Lindaman, Daniel Gooris and Ryan Newtoff put on a solid performance in the shuttle hurdle relay as well, finishing third with a time of 58.96 seconds that ranks No. 5 on the UNI all-time list. Barth is a freshman, Lindaman and Newtoff are sophomores, and Gooris is a junior.
This marks the second straight year that the Panthers have placed third at the Drake Relays in the men's shuttle hurdle relay and the fifth consecutive year that UNI has advanced to the finals of the event.
"The high hurdle shuttle is one of the most fun events in track. I love that UNI was able to make both the men's and women's finals this year," said UNI head track & field coach Dan Steele. "That the women were able to break the school record by over two seconds made this year's efforts very special."
UNI also made a strong impression in the men's 4x100m relay, placing fourth with a new Missouri Valley Conference-leading time of 40.11 seconds. Carlos Anderson, Derek Kramer, Wilmot Wellington and Jarred Herring now rank No. 3 in UNI history and No. 14 in the NCAA West Region this season based on performances entering this weekend.
"I was very pleased with the performance of our 4x1," noted Steele. "Carlos Anderson and Wilmot Wellington ran in the prelims yesterday morning, traveled back to Cedar Falls to play in the football spring game last night, and were back in Des Moines today to run the third-fastest time in school history."
"I can't say enough good things about this group of young men. I think they have the potential to run even faster."
In the men's discus, UNI junior Jordan Williams threw 177-05 (54.07m) on his first attempt for seventh place. Senior Tanner Hurt placed eighth in the hammer throw with a mark of 194-00 (59.14m) on his final attempt.
UNI took eighth place in the men's 1600m sprint medley relay with the team of Jesse Davenport, Sheldon Magee, Marshall Hill and Aaron Stockstell finishing in 3:23.69.
Senior Traci Harms was 10th in the hammer throw with a toss of 181-06 (55.32m).
Senior school record-holder Jill Lageschulte placed 16th in the 3,000m steeplechase at 10:55.22.
Also on Saturday, former UNI national champion and assistant coach Jacob Pauli claimed a runner-up finish in the men's special invitational pole vault. Pauli cleared 17-07.25 (5.37m).
UNI will host the Messersmith Invitational on May 4 at the Mark Messersmith Outdoor Track & Field Complex.