May 18, 2014
HOUSTON, Texas – Claire Uke won her first collegiate C-USA outdoor shot put title to help lead the Rice Owls women’s track and field team to a third place finish, the team’s highest result in the league since a third place finish in 2010.
Uke won the first C-USA outdoor shot put title in Rice history with a PR throw of 17.18m (56-04.50), which moved her to into ninth place nationally. Uke bested her previous career-best throw of 16.92m on Sunday to establish a new second-best throw in school history. Only Regina Cavanaugh’s mark of 17.70m in 1986 tops Uke’s distance on Sunday.
Uke actually struggled out of the gate by fouling on her first two throws and then followed those with a throw of 13.85m. However, she then rallied to throw a 16.99m, followed by the winning throw of 17.70m to earn the Owls 10 points.
The Owls also got superb performances from freshman distance runner Cali Roper and sophomore vaulter McKenzie Johnson, who each placed second in the 5,000m and pole vault, respectively. Roper, who won the 10,000m on Saturday, ran a 16:39.48 to place second on Sunday and finish with a combined 18 points for the Owls.
Johnson also placed second by recording a 4.08m (13-04.50) in the pole vault, improving upon her third place finish in last year’s outdoor championships. Johnson had also finished second in the pole vault during the indoor campaign.
Freshman Katie Jensen came through with a clutch performance alongside Roper by earning all-conference honors in a third place finish in the 5,000m. Jensen cracked the top three in the event for the first time in her collegiate career by running a 16:59.99, and earned a big six points for the Owls.
Ellen Diemert (4th) and Allie Schaich (7th) picked up a total of seven points for the Owls in the 1500m, with Diemert setting a new PR. The women also gained another point following their eighth place finish in the 4x100, where Simone Martin, Eboni Sutherland, Precious Knighton and Tyneisha McCoy ran a 46.04.
“We scored about exactly with what we came in with, we had some great performances,” Rice head women’s track and field coach Jim Bevan said. “To have two freshmen finish second and third in the 5,000m was big. Katie was also very big. We should have a tremendous cross country team next year. We’ve improved a lot since indoors. We’re getting closer and we have some good freshmen and return an awful lot. I’m very optimistic about our team next year. I’m just very pleased with how it turned out.”
Rice finished behind C-USA champion ECU (140 points) and UTEP (88).