Owls finish strong heading into C-USA championship
If you thought Jason Colwick would slow down after his indoor national championship season, think again. The junior vaulted 5.70 meters to win first place at the Texas Invitational in Austin May 2 on his way to his third Conference USA male athlete of the week award for the outdoor season.
The C-USA Indoor Track and Field Athlete of the Year also took first at the J. Fred Duckett/Rice Twilight meet by soaring to a height of 5.50 meters, as well as first at the Texas Twilight with the same height.
Coach Jon Warren (Jones '88) speculated about the heights Colwick could possibly soar to by the time his season his done.
"I am not even sure he knows," Warren said. "He has had a great year and I just hope he continues to have fun. If he has fun the sky is the limit."
The day after classes ended, the Owls headed to Austin for the second time this season, and did not fail to impress at the Texas Twilight. Junior Simon Bucknell ran the 1500 meter run in 3:47.47, good enough to take third place and to make an NCAA qualifying time. Sophomore Michael Trejo snuck just under the four minute mark to finish ninth in the same event and senior Brett Olson hit four minutes on the mark to finish 10th.
Warren was pleased with the effort put forth by the distance runners and expected them to continue their standout performance at the conference championship.
"Things are looking pretty solid right now," Warren said. "I am hoping that we can keep it together for another week or so and see how we fare against the University of Tulsa at home. Simon's kick is good enough that he could see some surprisingly good things."
In other distance events, Rice reaped the benefits of the steeplechase, added during the outdoor season. At the Rice Twilight, Trejo and freshman James Llamas finished second and third, respectfully, in the steeplechase, finishing only 0.4 seconds apart, while Trejo also took eighth place at the Texas Invitational with a 4:05.15 effort in the 1500 meter run. Junior Brad Morris placed third in the 5000 meter run and senior Aaron Robson took second in the 1500 meter run at the Rice Twilight.
The 4x100 meter team of juniors Ahmad Sweeney, Chris Douglas, John Welch and sophomore Connor Hayes improved their times at each of the three minutes, dropping their times from 41.69 to 41.52 and finally to 41.42 seconds, with Welch also improving on his 100-meter time from 10.85 to 10.75 seconds at the Texas Invitational.
Several freshmen continued to shine for the Owls, as Michael Izuchukwu had a solid 14.30-meter triple jump for third place, and Collin Shurbet finished sixth in the 110 meter hurdles and fourth in the 400 meter hurdles. Jack Spinks continued to be consistent in the high jump, posting heights of 2.00 meters, and 1.95 meters twice across the three meets. Sophomore Clayton Chaney finished fifth in the 110 meter hurdles at the Texas Twilight courtesy of a scorching 14.80 seconds, and finished eighth at the Texas Invitational in the same event, improving his time by over 0.3 seconds to 14.49. He also did well in the javelin, throwing for 48.65 meters.
Warren commented on the return of Spinks after injury kept him on the sidelines during the indoor season, as well as Shurbet's and Chaney's performances this season.
"Jack's injury indoors really set him back, but he has been getting a lot more consistent lately," Warren said. "Two meters would be fine, but he can go a lot higher soon. ... Clayton and Collin both showed signs early that they could be very good and they are living up to those signs so far."
In the throwing events, sophomores Clay Baker and William Meyers continued to pull their weight and then some for Rice. Baker threw the discus 46.96 meters to place fifth at the Texas Twilight, and placed fourth and sixth at the Rice Twilight and the Texas Invitational, respectively. Meyers finished eighth in the hammer throw and fourth in the shot put at the Rice Twilight, throwing for 15.99 meters. He also took fourth in the shot put at the Texas Invitational, proving once again why he and Baker have been an essential part of the success the Owls have had this season.
Warren and the Owls will take a break this weekend before traveling to Tulsa, Okla. next week for the C-USA Outdoor Championships, in what will be the culmination of the season for most of the team, save for those athletes who will have qualified for the NCAA Regionals.
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