By: Kenny Bybee (email@example.com)
NCAA West Prelims Results
LAWRENCE, KS – Rice senior Evan Karakolis and sophomore Austin Riddle each punched their ticket to the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Oregon (June 8-11) by finishing in the top 12 at the NCAA West Preliminary Round on day two of the meet held at Rock Chalk Park.
Karakolis, from Scarborough, Ontario, placed second in the javelin with a mark of 71.70m (235-3.00) to finish behind only Texas A&M’s Ioannis Kyriazis (75.70m). Competing in the third and final heat, and after a long weather delay, Karakolis followed his first attempt of 66.75m with the strong throw of 71.70m before passing on his final attempt.
Karakolis will be making his second career appearance at the NCAA Outdoor National Championships, having last appeared in 2014 as a sophomore when he earned First-Team All-American honors by placing seventh.
Riddle, a Houston native, broke his own school record in the hammer throw with a heave of 64.15m (210-5) on Thursday to place seventh overall in the event. Riddle, who fouled on his first two attempts, had to wait almost 24 hours to see if his mark would be good enough to advance after the conclusion of the hammer throw was delayed until Friday because of inclement weather.
The Owls were also represented in the 3000m steeplechase, where senior Will Firth ended his banner career with a 23rd place finish (9:08.85) and junior Marco Ruiz placed 39th (9:21.85).
“Obviously I’m pretty happy with how the NCAA West Preliminary turned out,” Rice men’s T&F head coach Jon Warren said. “Evan launched a great second throw to earn a spot and Austin’s performance was wonderful. He had a big personal best and earned the trip to Eugene. I’m really looking forward to seeing how those guys compete in a couple weeks.”
“The steeplechasers both finished significantly better than they were seeded. Will had a nice run to beat many folks ranked ahead of him and Marco fought through a sinus infection to battle past a number of competitors in his heat. Marco and Evan both deserve praise in the way they handled a near five-hour weather delay.”