DES MOINES — Ashlyn Bagge took a trip down memory lane as she entered Drake Stadium for the final time as a collegiate athlete.
The Wartburg senior never ran farther than 800 meters when she was a high school track athlete at Independence, but gravitated toward distance running and road races as a way to relieve stress in college.
On Thursday, Bagge more than held her own against a field filled with NCAA Division I runners in the women’s 10,000-meter run.
The University of Missouri’s Megan Cunningham won the 10K race in 33 minutes, 19 seconds, the second-fastest time in Drake Relays history. Bagge finished second against the field of 23 in 35:28.82 and currently ranks eighth among the nation’s top Division III runners.
“Driving up to the stadium, I just thought back to when I was in high school racing here,” Bagge said. “How cool it is to know that so many college and pro athletes come here to race? It’s such a big event and humbling.”
Bagge improved from a 21st-place finish in the 5,000 last year during her collegiate Drake debut. At Wartburg, she didn’t start competing as a runner until joining the cross country team in the fall of 2016 after finding success running half-marathons. She finished her first year of collegiate track as an All-American in the 5K (sixth) and 10K (eighth).
“No one really forced me into it,” said Bagge. “It was just kind of something that I chose. That’s the best part. I had fun with it and never felt like I had to go run. It’s a choice, and it’s a choice I’m happy with every day.”
Wartburg also received a sixth-place effort from Carina Collet in the 10,000. On the men’s side, Wartburg’s Casey Roberts was fifth in the 800 and Knight freshman Sam Pinkowski fifth in the 5,000.
COLLEGE RECAP: UNI sophomore Brooke Lorenz scored 4,857 to place second in the heptathlon, earning the top finish of any collegiate athlete in this year’s Drake field. Team Nodak’s Rose Jackson captured the title with a score of 5,537.
Freshman Erica Loussaert added a fourth-place finish for UNI while senior Lauren Frederick was seventh and Chaley Rath ninth.
In the decathlon, Austin Heitland finished third with a score of 6,667 after entering the day in second.
UNI junior Ben Aldrichs placed third in the men’s 3,000-meter steeplechase in 9:09.44. The Panthers also received an 11th-place finish from McKayla Cole in the unseeded 5,000.
Waverly native and Iowa State junior Abby Caldwell was 10th in the women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase in 11:03.22.