Rice Women Win the Conference USA Outdoor Track & Field Title

May 16, 2009

C-USA Final Results

Tulsa, Okla. - Rice's women's track & field trophy shelf is now more cramped as the Owls' won their third consecutive Conference USA Outdoor Championship with 131 points, but it wasn't easy.

"The team really pulled together as a group, because this was a hard fought win," said Rice head coach Jim Bevan." "We are missing Sarah Lyons (400m) and we have a couple of girls who aren't 100 percent. We had to rise up in other areas and our kids did a great job. We have now won three outdoor championships in a row, but this is not easy. It takes a lot of work and I give our girls a lot of respect for putting in the work to do something like this."

For his efforts in leading the Rice women's track & field program, Bevan was named as the C-USA Outdoor Coach of the Year.

UCF was second with 111 points. The Knights were leading the championship heading into the 5000m, the next to last event prior to the concluding 4x400m relay, with 111 points to the Owls' 108. But Rice tallied 19 points in the 5000m by placing third (Callie Wells-16:40.57), fourth (Lennie Waite-16:44.64), fifth (Becky Wade-16:47.88), sixth (Allison Pye-16:50.00), and eighth (Nicole Mericle-16:51.34) to once again clinch the team title.

In winning its third-straight team title and seventh outdoor conference championship since 2000, the Owls were bolstered by its distance running corps. as it scored 83 team points. Rice collected 25 points in the 1500m, 24 points in the 3000m steeplechase, 19 in the 5000m, and 15 in the 10,000m. With its 83 points, the distance squad would have finished fifth in the team standings.

Waite became a double-champion on Saturday after she won the 1500m in 4:30.15. On Friday, Waite captured the 3000m steeplechase crown. Wells placed third (4:34.95), Mericle was fourth (4:35.81), and Britany Williams placed fifth (4:36.52) to lead Rice.



In the 800m Vicki Walker placed with a time of 2:13.85, while freshman Sophie Peeters was sixth (2:14.80). Brittany Washington placed fifth in the 400m with a season-best time of 55.16.

Sophomore sprinter Shakera Reece carried Rice in the sprints with a fifth-place in the 100 (11.59) and a third in the 200m (23.87). Luci Cincinatis, a freshman, finished seventh in the 100m hurdles with a season-best time of 13.85.

In the relays, Rice finished fifth in the 4x100m (Kimberly Stanford, Cincinatis, Washington, and Reece) with a time of 46.52 and fifth in the 4x400m (Reece, Washington, Cincinatis, and Walker) in 3:47.44.

Rice went 1-3 in the pole vault. Ariana Ince won it by clearing her opening height of 3.65m/11-11.75. Placing third was freshman Cleona Oliver who cleared 3.50m/11-5.75.

Since joining Conference USA in 2006 the Rice women's track & field team has established itself as the league's dominant program. Besides winning its third-straight outdoor title, the Owls have also won the last three C-USA Indoor Championships.

C-USA Final Team Scores
1 Rice 131
2 UCF 111
3 SMU 96
4 Houston 86.50
5 UTEP 79
6 Memphis 68.50
7 Tulsa 62
8 UAB 49
9 Southern Miss 44.50
10 East Carolina 42.50
11 Tulane 40
12 Marshall 7

Performance of the Meet
Blessing Okagbare, UTEP

High Point Scorer
Blessing Okagbare, UTEP

Freshman of the Year
Simone du Toit, SMU

Coach of the Year
Jim Bevan, Rice



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