Feb. 26, 2009
The Conference USA Indoor Track and Field Championships will get underway on Friday at the Yeoman Fieldhouse on the campus of the University of Houston and Rice head women's coach Jim Bevan knows that his team will have to rely on it's veteran leadership if they hope to capture a third consecutive indoor title and their fifth consecutive track crown overall.
"It's a three-way race between Rice, Houston and Central Florida," Bevan said. "When you break it down on paper, you can make a case for any one of those three teams to reach the total needed to win the tite."
The Owls have won both the indoor and outdoor titles in both 2007 and 2008, thanks to a combination of conference leaders who maintained their positions, in addition to gaining points in unexpected events. Bevan says the Owls will need to rely on the same formula this year.
"We have a strong group of competitors who have been there before," he noted. "We have to rely on their leadership and consistency to carry us through, but we also need others step up. In each of the conference meets we have won, those unexpected points have been the difference. This is what they have trained for and this is their time to shine," Bevan added.
The Owls will rely again on their strong corps of distance runners to set the tone for the meet. Senior Lennie Waite leads the conference in both the mile and 3000 meters. She leads a group of five Owls who rank in the top six in the mile, while the Owls also have the top four of the top six times in the 3000.
Competition in the 2009 Conference USA Indoor Track and Field Championships begins at 9 a.m. on Friday with the first events in the pentathlon and heptathlon. Field event competition begins at 2 p.m. The men's 5,000 meter final will run at 5:30 and the remaining events begin at 6. Competition resumes on Saturday morning for the multi-events, and at 3:00 for event finals.