By: Kenny Bybee (email@example.com)
Howie Ryan Invitational Results
HOUSTON – Rice junior distance runner Marco Ruiz led the Owls men’s track and field team at the Howie Ryan Invitational hosted by the University of Houston Friday at the Yeoman Fieldhouse.
The Phoenix, Ariz. native won his first collegiate race of his career with a winning time of 8:37.14, fending off teammate Steve Booker (8:38.74). In addition to the 3000m, the Owls also swept the top two spots of the distance medley relay. Booker, Mike Otoo, Brad Dohner and William Roberts took the top spot with a 10:19.61 finish, while the foursome of Harry Sagel, Reagan Olguin, David Diaz and Ruiz finished just three seconds back (10:22.34).
Other top three finishes by the Owls included a second place finish from Roberts in the mile, setting a personal best with a finish of 4:08.00. Last year’s C-USA Indoor 800m champion David Diaz ran a season-best 1:56.09 to place third collegiately and fourth overall.
Junior Filip Drozdowski set a season-best time of 8.21 in the semifinals of the 60m hurdles, and placed sixth overall collegiately.
In the field events Austin Riddle continued his stellar indoor season with a third place finish in the weight throw (17.25m, 56-07.25) while sophomore teammate Uche Ugwunze set an indoor personal best in the same event with a throw of 16.59m (54-05.25).
Junior vaulter Vitaliy Bilenko set a season-best mark of 4.75m (15-07.00) to place second among collegiate pole vaulters and fourth overall.
“Today the men’s team had an excellent meet,” Rice men’s track and field head coach Jon Warren said. “This was a nice step towards conference.”
Friday’s meet was the Owls final tune-up before the C-USA Indoor Championships, which will take place Feb. 24-25 in Birmingham, Ala.