Suhr takes second at Drake Relays

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Aries Merritt remains the top 110-meter hurdler in the world heading into the bulk of the outdoor season.

He also calls himself “flimsy.”

On a windy Friday night at the Drake Relays, Merritt’s slight frame was no match for bulky rookie Andrew Riley.

Riley, the 2012 NCAA winner for Illinois at Drake Stadium, beat London Games gold medalist Merritt – along with the silver and bronze winners from the recent Olympics.

Meanwhile, fellow American gold medalist Jenn Suhr also stumbled, falling to Cuba’s Yarisley Silva in the women’s pole vault.

Silva, who had to settle for silver in London, had perhaps the best performance of the meet so far by clearing 15 feet, 11 inches – a sign she might be ready to assume the top spot in the world before long.

Suhr topped out at 15-2.

“It was a magnificent week. I came in with certain goals and met them,” Silva said through an interpreter. “(Silva) really liked the environment here because it made her feel welcome and she enjoyed the competition.”

American Michael Tinsley won the 400 hurdles in 48.55, while Iowa native Jenny Simpson rolled to the women’s 1,500 title in a meet-record 4:03.35.

London Games gold medalist Brittney Reese won the women’s long jump with a world-leading mark of 22-9.

The Drake Relays has typically been a three-day event, starting with a smattering of prep and college events on Thursday and Friday leading up to a harried crescendo of elite invitationals on Saturday afternoon.