LOS ANGELES, Calif. – The Rice Owls men’s and women’s track and field squads took to the track on Saturday for one final tune-up before next week’s C-USA Championships, winning three events at the Oxy Invitational.
The Rice women won three field events, highlighted by victories in the high jump and pole vault from Belle MacFarlane and McKenzie Johnson, respectively.
MacFarlane won her fourth high jump event of the outdoor campaign by reaching an outdoor season-best mark of 1.77m (5-09.75), the second-best mark among C-USA jumpers this season. Likewise, Johnson won the pole vault for the third time with a season-best height of 4.05m (13-03.50), securing the top vault in C-USA this year.
Senior All-American thrower Claire Uke put the finishing touches on her regular season by winning the shot put for the fourth time this outdoor season. The C-USA leader in the shot put won with a mark of 15.83m (51-11.25) and later was the third place collegiate finisher in the discus (45.73m).
“This was a great meet for many of our ladies the week before conference,” Rice women’s T&F head coach Jim Bevan said. “We had several athletes reach season-bests and a few lifetime bests. We’re looking forward to next week and competing at the C-USA Championships.”
Junior All-American Daisy Ding was the top collegiate finisher in the triple jump and placed second overall with a leap of 12.09m (39-08.00).
Sophomore Elsa Racasan ran a very solid 1500m by finishing sixth overall, fifth among collegiate racers, with a new lifetime best mark of 4:22.36 to move into second place in C-USA.
The women’s 4x100 relay team of Jaylon Wesley, Bryanah Rideaux, Charlsea Lamb and Eboni Sutherland continued their steady progress by finishing second with a season-best time of 45.739, finishing just tenths of a second behind Cal St. Fullerton (45.737).
The Rice men had just a handful of athletes competing on Saturday but senior distance runner Will Firth made the most of it by setting a lifetime best mark of 8:56.67 in the 3000m steeplechase to place fourth among collegiate runners. Teammate Marco Ruiz was the fifth-best collegiate runner in the same race, also setting a lifetime best mark of 8:59.50.
David Diaz (800m) also set a lifetime best with a time of 1:51.53 while William Roberts established a season-best in the 1500m with a mark of 3:50.37.
In addition to Saturday’s meet, the Owls also had a handful of athletes compete at UH’s Tom Tellez Invitational, which consisted mostly of just Rice and Houston student-athletes.
At that meet sophomore thrower Austin Riddle stood out once again by winning the hammer throw with his second-best performance (62.00m) of the season while placing second in the discus (47.15m). Uche Ugwunze set a lifetime best in that same hammer event with a personal best throw of 55.93m (183-06).
The women were also represented at that same meet and received a second place performance in the pole vault from Marielle Brisbois (3.70m). Ayane Rosano reached the same mark as Brisbois for a third place finish. Freshman Giulia Sportoletti placed first among collegiate competitors in the javelin (37.81m) as well.
The Owls will now gear up for the C-USA Championships, which will take place May 12-15 in Murfreesboro, Tenn. at the Dean Hayes Track & Soccer Stadium.