BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - The 2016 Conference USA Men's and Women's Indoor Track and Field Championships begin on Wednesday, February 24, at the Birmingham CrossPlex in Birmingham, Alabama. The meet will conclude on Thursday night. UAB and CrossPlex are hosting the event for the fifth consecutive season. See above for live stream, live stats, C-USA Indoor Track & Field records, heat sheets and championship central links.
The championship will begin at 9 a.m. CT on Wednesday with the combined events, which will include both the heptathlon and pentathlon, followed by jumps and throws at 3 p.m. and running preliminaries and finals at 4 p.m.
Thursday will see the rest of the heptathlon events completed at 9 a.m. followed by field events at 11 a.m. The day will conclude with the final running events at 1 p.m. and the awards presentation at 4:45 p.m.
The Rice women's team will be looking to improve upon a third place finish at the 2015 C-USA Indoor Championships. The Owls pose a big threat in the pole vault where McKenzie Johnson (4.10m, 13'5.25) ranks first overall in C-USA, followed closely by senior teammate Marielle Brisbois (3.92m, 12'10.25), who is the defending C-USA Indoor pole vault champion from 2015.
The Owls also have a dynamic duo in the triple jump led by juniors Cybil Obiozor (2nd in C-USA, 12.80m) and Daisy Ding (4th in C-USA, 12.74m). Both earned NCAA Outdoor All-American honors last season and Ding won both the C-USA Indoor and Outdoor triple jump titles.
Senior Belle MacFarlane will be looking for her second career C-USA Indoor title in the high jump, winning the event in 2014. The Dallas, Texas native ranks third in C-USA this season in the high jump (1.75m, 5'8.75).
In the distance events the Owls will be led by juniors Cali Roper and Katie Jensen, along with sophomore Elsa Racasan. Roper is the defending 5000m C-USA Indoor champion and Jensen ranks fourth in C-USA this season in the same event. Racasan, primarily a cross country runner prior to this season, ranks third in the league in the mile (4:50.39) and is sixth in the 3000m (9:44.54).
On the men's side the Owls have seen a breakout star in Austin Riddle. The sophomore thrower has broken the school record in the weight throw three different times this indoor season and ranks third overall in C-USA (17.72m).
Junior vaulter Vitaliy Bilneko also ranks third in C-USA in the pole vault (4.75m) as does sophomore Charlie Card-Childers (4756 points) in the heptathlon. The Owls also have a strong group of distance runners, having posted four of the top 10 times in the 5000m led by junior Marco Ruiz (3rd, 14:44.96). Imran Bell, Steve Booker, Brad Dohner and William Roberts will also be looking to earn the Owls points this week in Birmingham.
How to follow Rice Track and Field: For complete information on Rice Track and Field, follow the team on Twitter at @RiceTrackCC.