March 29, 2008
HOUSTON - The Rice track and field teams had another solid day to close out the 2008 Victor Lopez Bayou Classic, but it was a former Owl who stole the spotlight with her 2008 world-best mark in the long jump on Saturday at the Rice Track Stadium.
A 2007 Rice graduate and all-America in the event, Funmi Jimoh launched herself 22-8 (6.91m) in the long jump. The mark is the best by an American since Rose Richmond had a wind-aided 22-9 (6.93) in 2006, and automatically qualifies Jimoh for the 2008 U.S.A. Olympic Trials this summer.
Leading the way on Saturday for the current crop of Owls was Shakera Reece, who was victorious in both the 100 and 200 meters. In the 100, she edged Texas's Chauntae Bayne by 0.01 seconds to post a regional qualifying time of 11.75. Sarah Lyons also recorded a regional qualifying time, taking the silver in the 400 meters in 53.63. The Rice quartet of Brittney Washington, Chandra Ewing, Vicki Walker, and Lyons teamed to win the 4x400-meter relay with the qualifying time of 3:41.93. Rachel Greff punched her ticket to the regional championships as she cleared 12-7 ½ (3.85m) to win the pole vault.
For the men, Bubba Heard was the top collegian and second overall in the 200 while qualifying for regionals in 21.33. Gary Anderson took third in the 110 hurdles, finishing in 14.69. The pair also helped the Owls to a second-place finish in the 4x100-meter relay. After qualifying for the regional championships last week, Omar Wright took second in the high jump, clearing 6-8.75 (2.05m).
The men also had a former letterman have an impressive outing at the meet. After winning the 1500 meters on Friday, Pablo Solares dominated in the 800 meters, winning by four seconds in 1:49.22.
Both teams return to action next week at the Texas Relays in Austin.