May 13, 2009
The Rice Owls women's track and field team hopes to add more hardware to its overcrowded shelf when it competes this weekend (May 14-16) at the 14th Conference USA Outdoor Track & Field Championship in Tulsa, Okla. The Owls have dominated in winning the last two C-USA outdoor titles scoring 146.5 and 175 points respectively, but expect tight competition in Tulsa.
Prior to this weekend's action, Rice, now in its fourth season as a member of C-USA, have won five of the league's seven possible team titles for track and field. Head coach Jim Bevan's squad won its third-consecutive C-USA indoor title on February 28. Furthermore, in the last six years in the Western Athletic Conference, Rice won four championships (2000, 2001, 2003, and 2004), while finishing second in 2002 and 2005.
The Owls are led by the superb distance corps. of Lennie Waite, Allison Pye, Nicole Mericle, Becky Wade, Callie Wells, and Britany Williams. The Owls have the top four times in the 1500m (Waite, Mericle, Williams, and Wells) and four of the top six times in the 5000m (Wells, Pye, Williams, and Wade).
Wells holds the school record in the 5000m (16:20.95), while Waite is the school record-holder in the 1500m (4:16.09) and the 3000m steeplechase (10:00.30). Waite has the C-USA's fastest time in the 1500m and second-fastest in the 3000m steeplechase and she will also compete in the 5000m. Wade has the second-fastest 10,000m time (33:49.45) in C-USA.
Sophomore sprinter Shakera Reece will be counted on to score in the sprints. Reece sports the fourth fastest 100m (11.53) and 200m (23.74) times this year in C-USA. Brittany Washington will be in the hunt in the 400m (55.18) and Vicki Walker and Sophie Peeters are among the leaders in the 800m.
The 2009 championships gets underway on Thursday with the finals of the men's hammer throw at 10 a.m., followed by the women's at 12:30 p.m. The heptathlon and decathlon athletes begin action at 2:30 p.m., and will wrap up completion Friday morning. The men's decathlon consists of the 100m, long jump, shot put, high jump, 400m, 110m hurdles, discus, pole vault, javelin and 1,500m. The heptathlon will have athletes competing in the 100m hurdles, 200m hurdles, high jump, shot put, long jump, javelin and 800m.
The 10,000m run takes place under the lights as the men's race is set to start at 8:15 p.m., followed by the women's at 9 p.m. A new conference champion will be crowned in each event on Thursday.
Friday's running events start at 5:30 p.m. with the men's 1500m and wraps up with the women's 3000m steeplechase at 9:20 p.m. The majority of Friday's events are preliminary races, building up to Saturday's championship action starting at 5 p.m. with the 4x100m relays.
Rice at the C-USA Outdoor Championship
2006 3rd - 108.5 points - Hosted UTEP
2007 1st - 146.5 points - Hosted by Rice
2008 1st - 175 points - Hosted by UTEP
Rice at the C-USA Indoor Championship
2006 2nd - 126 points - Hosted Houston
2007 1st - 100 points - Hosted by Houston
2008 1st - 133.5 points - Hosted by Houston
2009 1st - 148 points - Hosted by Houston