May 14, 2008
As far as dynasties go, Jim Bevan's cross country and track and field teams are in the midst of one and may add to it this weekend at the Conference USA Outdoor Championship in El Paso, Texas and hosted by UTEP.
The Rice Owls have dominated in winning the last four C-USA championships starting with the 2007 Indoor title, the 2007 outdoor championship, the 2007 cross country title, and the most recent, the 2008 indoor crown. Call it a Rice Slam.
So the pressure is on and that's just the way the Owls like it.
Says Bevan, the reigning C-USA Coach of the Year, "Our team likes the pressure, they like to defend the title, and they are fired up to compete this weekend."
Besides Rice, look for UTEP and Houston to also compete for the championship. "Conference USA is the toughest that it has ever been and it keeps getting better," states Bevan. "But, I like our chances but do not discount UTEP or Houston."
The Owls have strong representation across the board especially in the sprints, distance races, pole vault, and both relays, the 4x100m and 4x400m.
"We have a well-rounded squad with many athletes that are able to compete in many events and perform extremely well," says Bevan.
The Owls have three great sprinters in Desarie Walwyn, Shakera Reece, and Sarah Lyons. Walwyn ranks second in the league in the 100m (11.45) and 200m (23.65), while Lyons ranks first in the 400m (53.65). Reece has posted C-USA's third-best in the 100m (11.61).
Callie Wells has the third-best time in the 1500m at 4:24.28, just behind top time of 4:23.52 by UTEP's Kelly Young. In the 3000m steeplechase, freshman Becky Wade has the second-best time in the league at 10:29.23, while Nicole Mericle is fourth at 10:49.98. Allison Pye, in the 5000m, sports the second-best time at 16:45.00.
The Owls' 4x400m relay is tops in the conference at 3:37.68.
Rachel Greff is one of the nation's top pole vaulters and looks to defend her title this weekend. Greff enters with C-USA's best mark of 13-9.25.
Other factors to consider include the altitude (3,800 feet above sea level) and the border heat that El Paso offers.
"UTEP has the home track advantage, but 11 of the 12 schools are from sea level elevation so it should not affect us," Bevan says. "It's great to train in Houston because we are accustomed to hot temperatures."
Team points are awarded to the first eight places in each event (10, 8, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1).
May 15-17, 2008 / Kidd Field, UTEP
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
Thursday, May 15
Field Events/Multi-events Running Events
3:30pm Hammer (Men)
5:30pm Hammer (Women)
7:30pm 10,000m Run (Final - Women)
8:30pm 10,000m Run (Final - Men)
Friday, May 16
4:00pm Shot Put (Women)
4:30pm Pole Vault (Women)
5:00pm Long Jump (Men)
5:00pm Long Jump (Women)
6:00pm Javelin Throw (Women)
6:00pm Shot Put (Men)
7:00pm High Jump (Women)
8:00pm Javelin Throw (Men)
5:30pm 1500m Run (Prelim - Women)
5:45pm 1500m Run (Prelim - Men)
6:00pm 100m Hurdles (Prelim - Women)
6:15pm 110m Hurdles (Prelim - Men)
6:30pm 400m Dash (Prelim - Women)
6:45pm 400m Dash (Prelim - Men)
7:00pm 100m Dash (Prelim - Women)
7:15pm 100m Dash (Prelim - Men)
7:30pm 800m Run (Prelim - Women)
7:45pm 800m Run (Prelim - Men)
8:00pm 400m Hurdles (Prelim - Women)
8:15pm 400m Hurdles (Prelim - Men)
8:30pm 200m Dash (Prelim - Women)
8:45pm 200m Dash (Prelim - Men)
9:00pm 3,000m Steeple (Final - Women)
9:20pm 3,000m Steeple (Final - Men)
1:00pm Discus Throw (Women)
3:30pm Discus Throw (Men)
4:00pm High Jump (Men)
4:30pm Pole Vault (Men)
6:00pm Triple Jump (Women)
6:00pm Triple Jump (Men)
5:00pm 4x100m Relay (Final - Women)
5:10pm 4x100m Relay (Final - Men)
5:20pm 1500m Run (Final - Women)
5:30pm 1500m Run (Final - Men)
5:40pm 100m Hurdles (Final - Women)
5:50pm 110m Hurdles (Final - Men)
6:00pm 400m Dash (Final - Women)
6:10pm 400m Dash (Final - Men)
6:20pm 100m Dash (Final - Women)
6:30pm 100m Dash (Final - Men)
6:40pm 800m Run (Final - Women)
6:50pm 800m Run (Final - Men)
7:00pm 400m Hurdles (Final - Women)
7:10pm 400m Hurdles (Final - Men)
7:20pm 200m Dash (Final - Women)
7:30pm 200m Dash (Final - Men)
7:40pm 5,000m Run (Final - Women)
8:05pm 5,000m Run (Final - Men)
8:25pm 4x400m Relay (Final - Women)
8:35pm 4x400m Relay (Final - Men)
8:50pm Presentation of Awards