Owls Preseason C-USA No. 1

Jan. 15, 2009

The Rice Owls have been selected as the Conference USA preseason favorites to win the 2009 Indoor Track & Field titles in February as voted on by the league's head coaches. The Owls will look to defend their 2008 indoor track and field title as the Owls received 11 of the possible 12 first-place votes.

Rice begins the 2009 indoor season at the Leonard Hilton Memorial inside Yeoman Fieldhouse on the University of Houston campus.

The single-day event is to begin at 11 a.m. Admission to the meet is $5.

The men's and women's weight throw leads off the action at 11 a.m. and will be followed by the shot put, long jump "B" section and the pole vault at 1 p.m. The field events will close with the men's and women's triple jump, which is tentatively scheduled for 6 p.m.

Running events are slated to start at 3 p.m. with the women's 5,000 meter run and will come to a close with the 4X400-meter relays, which are scheduled to begin at 8:20 p.m.

Other schools participating in the event are Houston Baptist, Jackson State, Lamar, Louisiana Tech, Prairie View A&M, Rice, Nicholls St., Sam Houston St., Southern, Southern-New Orleans, Stephen F. Austin, Texas, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Texas A&M-Kingsville, Texas Lutheran, Texas Southern, Texas State, UAB, UCF, UT-Arlington, UT-Pan American and UTSA.

Live results from the meet can be found by logging on to www.flashresults.com/flashtexas.

The Owls, winners of the last two league indoor titles, lost pole vault gold medalist Rachel Greff to graduation, but return sophomore Sarah Lyons who won the 400-meter dash a year ago and is ranked 14th by the USTFCCCA in the preseason poll. Last year the Owls joined Western Kentucky as the only two schools in 2008 to capture a triple crown in one academic year, claiming conference championship titles in cross country, indoor, and outdoor track and field.

Following the Owls in the preseason poll is UTEP. Led by All-American Blessing Okagbare the Miners will be a strong contender for the title in Houston. Okagbare was the 2008 C-USA Newcomer of the Year and has is currently ranked No. 1 in the USTFCCCA preseason poll for the long jump while being ranked No. 2 in the triple jump.



Houston was tabbed third in the preseason polls and returns two-time C-USA 60-meter hurdles gold medalist Seun Adigun. Adigun is ranked eighth among the nation's best by the USTFCCCA.

Rounding out the top half of the women's poll are UCF, UAB, and Memphis. UCF sophomore Lizzie Harris claimed first-place honors in the high jump during her freshman campaign and enters the 2009 season ranked 8th by the USTFCCCA.

The 2008 C-USA Freshman of the Year and All-American Charlotte Abrahamsen will look to help the Tigers capture their first league title along with teammate Sivan Aballi who ranks 14th in the shot put by the USTFCCCA.

The 2009 C-USA Indoor Track & Field Championships will take place on Feb. 27-28 at the Yeoman Fieldhouse in Houston, Texas on the campus of the University of Houston.



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