Relays: UNI's Gooris Surges, ISU Women Win
By Rob Gray, Reporter
DES MOINES, Iowa Still shocked, but smiling, Northern Iowa decathlete Daniel Gooris listened to coach Dan Steele's question.
"We were standing around and he goes, 'Hey, everyone who's a two-time Drake Relays champion raise your hand,'" said Gooris, who clutched a freshly-, and surprisingly-earned Relays flag. "And I raised it and he raised his hand and everyone was like, 'Oh, that's awesome!' I didn't know that before."
Gooris surged from seventh after day one to attain his second straight Relays decathlon championship Thursday at Drake Stadium.
But it wouldn't have been possible had professional and stadium record holder Jake Arnold not pulled up lame in the final event the 1,500-meter run.
He failed to finish, which prompted the mini flag to find Gooris' fingers again.
"I didn't know until after the race that he'd dropped out and I'd won," said Gooris, a three-time Missouri Valley champion in the decathlon.
Gooris entered Thursday confident he could rise as high as second.
Arnold winning seemed a foregone conclusion.
"I would have had to beat him by 1:30 in the 1,500," Gooris said. "When I crossed the line and finished, I turned around to look for a red ASICS jersey and, nope."
He eventually saw red but it was worn by Seymour native Ethan Miller.
Then it all started sinking in for Gooris, who scored 7,395 points to Arnold's 6,955.
"That feeling when they hand you the flag is probably one of the greatest feelings," he said. "That's what it's all about."
ISU WOMEN WIN 6,400: Dani Stack's five-year career has been filled with triumphs and injuries.
But Stack's strong second leg in Thursday's 6,400-meter run helped propel the Cyclones to their first-ever win in the event, with a time of 19:16.69.
Maggie Gannon led off. Crystal Nelson ran third and Ejiro Okoro anchored.
"I was really hoping to get a Drake flag before my time was up," said Stack, an all-American in the 10,000. "The fact that I got to do it with these ladies, I was telling them it's better than getting an all-American by myself. Celebrating with my teammates is awesome."