By: Kenny Bybee (email@example.com)
EUGENE, OR – Senior thrower Evan Karakolis closed out a sensational Rice career on Wednesday with a fifth place finish in the javelin at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, earning USTFCCCA First-Team All-American honors at Oregon’s historic Hayward Field.
A native of Scarborough, Ontario, Karakolis achieved First-Team All-American status for the second time in his career with a day’s-best throw of 73.95m (242’7”) on his last attempt of the finals. That mark was the second-best of Karakolis’ career, falling short to only his school record throw of 79.30m in April. Karakolis, who earned four team points for the Owls, advanced to the finals after finishing seventh through the first three rounds with a throw of 72.69m.
A trio of Conference USA throwers placed 3-5 overall, with Middle Tennessee’s John Ampomah finishing third (76.44m) and Southern Miss’ Emron Gibbs coming in fourth (74.62m).
"Evan had a great overall day and really had a super last throw," Rice men's track and field head coach Jon Warren said. "Interestingly, he finished fourth at the conference meet and finishes fifth at the NCAA Championships. Now that is a good conference."
In addition to Karakolis, sophomore thrower Austin Riddle made his first career appearance at the NCAA Outdoor Championships and placed 19th overall in the hammer throw to earn USTFCCCA All-American Honorable Mention honors.
Riddle, from Houston, followed a foul and a throw of 61.18m (200’9”) with a mark of 63.09m (207’0”), his second-best distance of the season. Riddle closed out a stellar sophomore campaign in which he placed second in the hammer throw at the C-USA Outdoor Championships and established a new school record in the event with a mark of 64.15m at the NCAA West Prelims.
"Austin put up his second best throw of his life on his last throw," Warren said. "It was exciting to have him here and to perform so well on the biggest collegiate stage."