May 17, 2014
HOUSTON, Texas - Rice senior vaulter Chris Pillow won his second Conference USA Outdoor T&F pole vault championship in as many years with a mark of 5.28m during Saturday's championships at Holloway Field and Ley Track.
Pillow, from Mechanicsville, Virginia, won his third straight C-USA pole vault title overall with this year's indoor championship sandwiched in between the 2013 and 2014 outdoor titles. He became the first C-USA vaulter to win back-to-back outdoor titles since Jonathan Miller did so for South Florida in 2004 and 2005.
Pillow, who earned 10 team points for the Owls, also won the pole vault at the UTEP Invitational in mid-April.
"Chris looked wonderful today," Rice men's track and field head coach Jon Warren said. "He came in with a bruised knee but still looked smooth and made it look easy like he hadn't missed a beat. He's primed to go to the first round of nationals."
Rice finished the evening getting a combined five points from Will Firth (6th- 9:14.00) and Wyatt Doop (7th- 9:14.08) in the 3,000m steeplechase.
Junior Justin Gross also earned two points for the Owls with a seventh place finish in the long jump, setting a PR with a leap of 7.43m (24-04.50).
Freshman Filip Drozdowski qualified for Sunday's finals of the 110m hurdles, placing second in his heat and fifth overall with a mark of 14.15.
"This conference is a major step up," Warren said in regards to the stiff C-USA competition. "Our guys are running very well. We'll have some chances to gain some more points tomorrow but there's not much margin for error."
The Owls will enter Sunday in fourth place overall with 32 points, trailing UTSA (61), ECU (59) and UTEP (50). Competition picks back up Sunday beginning at 2:30 p.m.