March 1, 2008
Rice senior Rachel Greff capped her brilliant indoor career by capturing her third consecutive C-USA Indoor pole vault in record fashion to spark the defending champion Owls into the lead after the first day of the Conference USA Track & Field Championships at the Yeoman Fieldhouse on the campus of the University of Houston.
The Owls hold a four-point lead over UTEP (43-39) heading into Saturday's final day of competition. Head coach Jim Bevan said his team knows the race to repeat as team champions could well come down to the final event of the night.
"It will be a good battle all the way and it could come down to the final relay tomorrow," he predicted.
Greff became just the third athlete to win three conference crowns in the same event in consecutive years by breaking the meet record with a vault of 4.07 meters (13-4.25). Rice freshman Ariana Ince finished fourth with a vault of 3.65 meters (11-11.75 ) to give the Owls 15 points in the first final of the meet.
"We had some great results tonight, and some disappointments. Rachel Greff certainly made a strong statement to start the meet. She's built a legacy in her event that will be hard to match," he noted.
In the night's other finals, the Owls finished 3-5-7 in the 5,000 meters, with Becky
Wade leading the way, finishing in 17:05.89. Allison Pye was fifth in 17:08.57 and Marissa Daniels was seventh in17:33.89. The Owls distance medley relay of Nicole Mericle, Victoria Walker, Claire Shorall and Callie Wells earned the silver medal with a time of 11:50.11. Lacee Carmon finished fifth in the long jump, leaping 5.80m, (19-00.50) on her final attempt. Eunique Hamilton was seventh with a jump of 5.65m (18-06.50). Andrea Jackson finished seventh in the Pentathlon with 3,038 points
Bevan was generally pleased with the Owls qualifying marks for tomorrow's finals.
"We had some really good efforts overall. The performance tonight in the long jump and the effort we had in the 200 prelims were better than we had projected, but we also didn't score as well as we would have hoped in the 5,000. UTEP had some surprises as well, so things almost evened out. It should be a great day of competition, and I really hope people will come on by and see it for themselves," he added.
Rice Qualifiers for Saturday's Finals:
Women 60 Meter Dash
3, Desarie Walwyn, Rice, 7.44
5, Shakera Reece, Rice, 7.50
Women 200 Meter Dash
3, Sarah Lyons, Rice, 24.57
4, Desarie Walwyn, Rice, 24.60
7, Shakera Reece, Rice, 24.82
Women 400 Meter Dash
1, Sarah Lyons, Rice, 55.48
8, Brittany Washington, Rice, 57.01
Women 800 Meter Run
1, Lennie Waite, Rice, 2:10.
7, Victoria Walker, Rice, 2:13.56
Women 60 Meter Hurdles Preliminaries
7, Lacee Carmon, Rice, 8.81