By Kenny Bybee (firstname.lastname@example.org)
EL PASO, Texas -- The Rice Owls women's track and field squad placed third overall out of a 13-team field at the C-USA Outdoor Championships, which concluded on Sunday at the Kidd Track on the campus of UTEP.
Rice totaled 76 points for their seventh top-three finish since entering C-USA in 2006 and had six athletes garner all-conference honors. WKU won the team title with 157 points while hosts UTEP finished second with 148 points.
The Owls earned 20 team points in field events, 10 of which came from sophomore Daisy Ding. After winning the triple jump at the C-USA Indoor Championships, Ding repeated as the event champion on Sunday with a personal best leap of 12.99m (42-07.50). Ding's mark was good enough for 20th in the nation at night's end.
Also earning all-conference honors in the field events was junior Belle MacFarlane, who cleared 1.71m (5-07.25) in the high jump to finish in a three-way tie for third.
A day after winning a C-USA title in the 10,000m, sophomore Cali Roper nearly won her second championship in as many nights but was passed up by UTEP's Lilian Koech (16:58.11) on the final stretch of the 5,000m to finish second overall. Roper's time of 17:02.63 was still good enough to break a Kidd Field record (17:05.46) and also earn all-conference honors. Just like Saturday in the 10,000m, Katie Jensen finished right behind Roper in a time of 17:31.28 for five points and a fourth place finish.
Freshman distance runner Elsa Racasan also earned all-conference honors by placing third in the 1500m, crossing the finish line in 4:46.13 while Allie Schaich was eighth (4:47.70).
The Owls also got points from Ijeoma Ugwunze in the shot put (4th-14.48m) and Meredith Gamble (5th-2:18.82) and Fabiola Andujar-Perez (7th-2:22.01) in the 800m.
"I'm happy to end up third after all we've been through," Rice women's T&F head coach Jim Bevan said. "Cybil Obiozor was not able to jump today, but Daisy made up for it with a big personal best in winning her second title this year. Cali and Katie came back from the 10k strong with Cali leading all but the last 150 meters. Belle competed well with two great jumps. Elsa ran with the leaders until the straightaway in a kicker's race. I was very proud of Meredith. After fighting injuries for four years, she moved from the 13th seed to finishing fourth in the 800 and Fabiola moved from the 14th seed to seventh. We only have six points in seniors we are losing and we return most of our team. We'll add some freshmen obviously and Claire Uke will return next year as well. Overall we competed very well and now we move on to the NCAA Prelims."
Those NCAA Championship West Prelims will be held in Austin, May 28-30 on the campus of the University of Texas.