May 17, 2014
HOUSTON, Texas - Rice distance runner Heather Olson took home the 3,000m title in the steeplechase with a personal-best run of 10:09.87 to highlight a strong day for the Owls on the third day of the Conference USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships Saturday at Holloway Field and Ley Track.
Olson bested her previous career-best mark of 10:23.14 set last season to cap off an incredible day both on and off the track, where Olson graduated earlier Saturday afternoon.
Rice thrower Claire Uke also recorded a lifetime best mark of 52.62m (172-08) in the discus to place second. Uke recorded her record throw on her final attempt, besting her previous career-best throw of 48.92m set earlier this year at the Kansas Relays. Uke finished behind only East Carolina's Kayla Padgett (52.79m).
"I'm extremely happy and proud of our effort today," Rice head women's track and field coach Jim Bevan said. "We had a number of great performances, highlighted by Claire in the discus and Heather wrapping up the night with a 14-second personal best in the steeple. That came on the heels of qualifying earlier in the 1500 and graduating this morning. It was a great day three and our kids are performing at a high level and we should be in the thick of things tomorrow."
The Owls also earned points in the high jump where Daisy Ding (1.71m) and Belle MacFarland (1.71m) placed sixth and eighth, respectively. Senior Kathleen Abadie also set a PR in the steeplechase, earning the Owls two points with a seventh place finish (11:03.43).
Rice fared well in the 1,500m where the foursome of Olson (3rd- 4:39.69), Ellen Diemert (5th- 4:40.60), Allie Schaich (8th- 4:41.58) and Kylie Cullinan (11th- 4:43.86) all qualified for Sunday's finals.
The Owls will begin championship Sunday in third place with 34 total points, trailing only ECU (50) and FIU (36.50). Competition will start again tomorrow beginning at 3 p.m. with the shot put.