DES MOINES, Iowa — As Chief Marshal of Officials, Steve Brush witnessed world records fall at the Drake Relays over the last 28 years.
“One of my first years was Carl Lewis and I got to escort him around. Michael Johnson was one I enjoyed and Lolo Jones was always fun to be around,” said Steve.
Despite all of that, his memories of witnessing two high school athletes in particular give him the biggest smile. “My favorite athletes to watch were both of my daughters when they used to run down there in high school for Waukee,” Steve said.
His youngest daughter Rachel starred at Waukee High School in the Drake Relays. “Running on the Blue Oval is one of the highlights of my high school career. I always had my best times down there,” said Rachel.
Joining the University of Nebraska in 2016, she never ran at the Drake Relays as a collegiate athlete. “We got hooked into meets down in Texas. We’d run at Texas Tech every year and that was the same weekend as Drake,” Rachel said.
2020 was the Nebraska letterwinner’s senior year. Until the pandemic’s cancelation of the 111th Drake Relays, it was going to be when she finally wore Husker red in the 5K with her dad cheering her on as a college athlete. “He’d be cheering me on and that was just the motivation I needed to push myself to find another gear. Coming back and getting to race on it one more time was almost the perfect way to bookend my career,” said Rachel.
Steve was also slated to be inducted into the Drake Relays’ Wall of Honor this year. It is a distinguished list of Drake Relays officials that dedicated their time to the relays for a minimum of a quarter century. Steve said, “It’s something that was never expected and I had been around enough to see all those names inducted. I never expected myself to be there.”
The hallowed grounds of the Blue Oval have seen many firsts. Steve and Rachel just wish their family could have shared one more. “You have to cherish every moment you get out there. It’s an opportunity like no other getting to race on that track,” said Rachel.
The NCAA has given senior spring athletes like Rachel the option to return to athletic competition next year, but she already has plans to become an elementary school teacher in the fall. Steve’s Wall of Honor ceremony will be moved to a later date.