Iowa Central enjoys inaugural Drake experience

DES MOINES – Iowa Central made quite an impression in its first Drake Relays appearance in school history this past weekend.

The Triton men and women’s track and field teams participated in a combined 18 different events – five individual and 13 relays – on the famed blue oval at the 104th annual meet. North Iowa Area and Iowa Western were the only two other junior colleges to compete inside Drake Stadium.

Among the higlights for the Iowa Central women was a championship performance from Dominique Kimpel (100, 11.55) and a runner-up effort by the 4×400 relay (Kianna Carter, Kimpel, Jessica James and Chantal Duncan, 3:40.48). The 4×100 (Sharon Kwarula, Kimpel, Kededra Middleton and Rashidah Williams, 46.04) also placed third.

“(ICCC and Drake alum and Decker Truck Line, Inc. owner) Don Decker and vice president (of external relations and government affairs) Jim Kersten had a big hand in helping us get in this year, so there were a lot of people involved to say the least,” Triton assistant coach Dee Brown said. “We’d been lobbying for quite a while, and (Iowa Central), Iowa Western and NIACC have all been writing letters. I thought maybe (the Drake Relays Committee) would put us in with the universities, but we were happy to have a great start in the college division.”

On the men’s side, Alex Deir (3000 steeplechase, 8:54.99) captured a silver medal for the Tritons, while the distance medley (Kuaniyal Chol, Deon Sanders, Charles Carrington and Abbabiya Simbassa, 9:56.92) took home bronze.

“You look at what our teams did in a lot of different events, I think we had a very good showing,” said ICCC president Dr. Dan Kinney. “I think it was just outstanding to be able to add community colleges to the rest of the outstanding track programs across the nation.”

Iowa Central established seven new school records and managed 11 top eight finishes in Des Moines. Tahir Chakisso (10K), Deir (steeplechase), Aden Alemu (10K) and the women’s 4×400 and 4×800 relays all currently own the best marks in the NJCAA.

Since 2009, the Tritons have accumulated 13 NJCAA team championships over the indoor, outdoor, cross country and half marathon seasons. The men earned indoor national titles in 2011 and 2012 and finished second in 2010 and 2013.

The men also settled for second at the outdoor championships in 2011, while winning three half marathon crowns.

The women secured indoor national titles in 2010 and 2012, placed second in 2013 and third in 2011. They were a runner-up at the outdoor championships in 2012 and third in 2011.

In addition, Iowa Central has won four cross country team titles and a pair of half marathon championships as well during that stretch.