Jan. 16, 2009
The Rice Owls women's track team opened its pursuit for a third consecutive C-USA indoor title by taking the team title at the Leonard Hilton Invitational at the Yeoman Fieldhouse at the University of Houston.
Rice finished with 117 points while Texas (101) was second and the host Houston Cougars were third with 63.
"I'm very happy with the results for our first meet of the year," Owls head coach Jim Bevan said. "We've got a lot of work to do in the weeks ahead, but this was a great way to start," he added.
A pair of Owls posted provisional qualifying marks while winning two of Rice's four individual event titles during the meet.
Sophomore Ariana Ince smashed her previous personal best in the pole vault, improving by nine inches to clear 12-11.50 to take the title. She beat Rice's former two-time C-USA indoor champion Rachel Greff, who was competing unattached.
Senior Lenny Waite opened her final indoor campaign by posting a provision mark of 4:48.00 in the mile, as the Owls captured four of the top five spots in the event. She was followed by Nicole Mericle (2nd, 4:55.81), Britany Williams (3rd, 4:57.78) and Allison Pye (5th, 5:01.04).
Rice's final victory of the night came in the Distance Medley relay, when Nicole Mericle passed three teams on her final leg of the event to give the Owls the title in a time of 12:10.58. Mericle was joined in the relay by freshman Sophie Peters and juniors Britany Blodget and Brittany Washington.
The Owls will be back on the Yeoman Fieldhouse track in two weeks to take part in the Houston Invitational on January 31.
Owls Top Five Collegian Results
3 Shakera Reece 7.52
3 Brittany Washington 58.64
1 Keltie John 2:13.95
2 Lennie Waite 2:14.99
4 Victoria Walker 2:19.90
5 Sophie Peters 2:20.16
1 Lennie Waite 4:48.00mPROV
2 Nicole Mericle 4:55.81
3 Britany Williams 4:57.78
5 Allison Pye 5:01.04
1 Becky Wade 17:25.24
5 Michaela Reynolds 18:03.76
Distance Medley Relay
1 Rice 12:10.58
4 Rice 4:00.44