Baseball completes miraculous turnaround
With a record of 13-25 about three quarters of the way through the regular season, Rice baseball looked doomed to end its 22-year streak of NCAA tournament appearances. But the Owls rallied to win the Conference USA Tournament with wins in 18 of their next 22 games. Rice clinched the tournament championship with a walkoff 5-4 win over the No. 1 seed, the University of Southern Mississippi. Head coach Wayne Graham compared the victory to winning the 2003 national championship. Unfortunately, the Owls went on to lose in the regional round to eventual national runner-up Louisiana State University. Rice has now won conference championships in 21 of the past 22 years and has appeared in the NCAA tournament every year since 1995.
Rice baseball players drafted
Three Owls heard their names called in the 2017 Major League Baseball Draft. The New York Yankees selected junior pitcher Glenn Otto in the fifth round, the Detroit Tigers took junior pitcher Dane Myers in the sixth round and the Pittsburgh Pirates took junior infielder Tristan Gray in the 13th round. All three players signed professional contracts and began play in the minor leagues this summer. All three are off to strong starts. Otto has a 1.46 earned run average in 12.1 innings pitched, Myers has a 1.95 earned run average in 27.2 innings pitched and Gray is batting .286 with a .479 slugging percentage in 140 at-bats.
Filip a first-team All-American
Junior Scott Filip finished fifth in the NCAA championships in the men’s decathlon to earn First Team All-American honors. In the 24 athlete field, Filip finished 12th or better in nine of the 10 events. He jumped a personal-best 7.58 meters to finish fifth in the long jump, his top finish of the competition. Only seniors finished above Filip in the final standings.
Women’s basketball makes recruiting splash
Head coach Tina Langley built upon her strong track record on the recruiting trail by adding sophomore transfer Nancy Mulkey from the University of Oklahoma. Mulkey, a 6-foot-9 center, was the nation’s No. 19 ranked recruit in the 2016 class. She will have to sit out a year due to NCAA transfer regulations. As a freshman last year, she averaged 3.8 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game. She finished fifth in the Big 12 in blocks with 62 on the season, second most of any freshman in the country.
Track and field alums compete at World Championships
Rice alums Lennie Waite (Brown ’09) and Ari Ince (Brown ’11) both competed at the IAAF World Championships in London in early August. Waite, competing in the 3000-meter steeplechase for Great Britain, finished 11th in her heat with a time of 9:54.97. Ince competed in the javelin for the United States. She threw 54.52 meters, good for 13th in her group. Both Waite and Ince work as volunteer coaches under head coach Jim Bevan for Rice track and field.