June 29, 2012
Rice's Becky Wade could not overcome an early stumble on a water jump and finished 14th in the finals of the 3,000 meter steeplechase at the United States Track and Field Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon on Friday.
While Wade's hopes for 2012 ended on Friday, former Owls Funmi Jimoh (long jump) and Ari Ince (javelin) advance to the finals of their events, which will be held on Sunday.
Wade, running only her third steeplechase event after a gap of three years, was near the front of the pack early, but had trouble with the second water jump of the race, falling back in the pack and was never able to mount a comeback. She finished 14th in a time of 10:10.50.
"It wasn't my day today but I went for it and am so thankful to have had the opportunity to run in the finals of the Trials in a Rice uniform," Wade said. "I hope today was the first of more Olympic Trials, and i will definitely use this experience to motivate me in the future."
Rice women's coach Jim Bevan said the unique challenges of the steeplechase and the lack of experience in the event eventually caught up to Wade.
"Becky ran with great courage, running a race in front of 21,000 people that she wasn't completely prepared for. She went for it, but our lack of preparation and getting repetitions on the water jump hurt her. I am very proud of her. It took guts and it will help her in the future."
"Becky closes her career as our school record holder in the steeple, the 5k, the 10k and the indoor 5k. Becky is one of a kind and has forever left her mark as an Owl runner. She is a great Owl that I am proud and happy to have worked with her," Bevan concluded.
Jimoh opened her to compete in a second consecutive Olympic long jump competition by leaping 6.73 meters (22' 1") on her second attempt of the qualifying round to comfortably move into Sunday's final.
Ince, who was as three-time Conference USA pole vault champion both indoors and outdoors, has made a rapid rise in the javelin and finished seventh with a throw of 53.25 meters (174-8) on her second throw.
"I am excited for both Funmi and Ari to make it through to the finals. I am looking forward to their finals on Sunday," Bevan said.