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Sports Notebook: Swimming shines at home versus UH, Fall Ball starts with competition

By Jonathan Myers     10/21/10 7:00pm

Swimming shines at home versus UH

The swim team opened their season Oct. 15 against the University of Houston in winning fashion. Held at the Barbara and David Gibbs Recreation and Wellness Center competition pool, the dual meet was dominated by the Owls, who took eight of 11 events. Several newcomers shined for Rice as freshman Chelsea Fong broke a pool record with a time of 1:52.11 minutes in the 200-yard freestyle, while freshman Quincy Christian barely bested junior Shelby Bottoms in the 400 individual medley, taking first place with a time of 4:28.74. Sophomore Kylee Talwar stole the show, winning two individual events, including leading a 1-2-3 Rice effort in the 200 breaststroke with junior Alex O'Brien and senior Ashten Ackerman following behind. In the 300 medley, Fong added to her banner day by joining freshmen Michelle Gean and Lilly Marrow in dominating the competition, finishing the event in 3:03.52.

The final relay race, the 3x50 backstroke relay, featured sophomore Stephanie Wei and junior Alison Godbe helping Christian lead the Owls to yet another victory. Wei and Gean joined Talwar and Bottoms in putting forth a record-breaking effort in the 400-medley relay, taking home a time of 3:55.74. Bottoms also took second in the 200 butterfly and was named Conference USA swimmer of the week for her two individual second-place finishes and her additional relay win.

The Owls will travel to Southern Methodist University next weekend to take on the five-time defending conference champions.

- Jonathan Myers

Fall Ball starts with competition

The baseball team took to the diamond Oct. 4 with several places to fill in the lineup during their intrasquad scrimmages. Junior Craig Manuel, who platooned with Diego Seastrunk (Will Rice '10) last year at catcher, is in line to hold off sophomore Geoff Perrott and freshman Tyler Pearson for the backstop position, despite several excellent pickoff throws from Perrott during practice.

At first base, sophomore J.T. Chargois appears to be closing in on the position due to his athleticism and his switch-hitting bat. He's made a few fielding errors at the position, but is on track to assume Jimmy Comerota's (Jones '10) spot. Senior Abel Gonzales may see time but will most likely focus on contributing as the Owls' primary southpaw out of the bullpen.

At shortstop, the duel to inherit Rick Hague's (Lovett '11) spot will fall to either one of two freshmen: Derek Hamilton of Lake Jackson, Texas or Shane Hoelscher of Belton, Texas. So far, Hamilton has shown more range defensively, while Hoelscher appears to have more potential at the plate. Junior Jeremy Rathjen has improved his throwing range over the summer and will fit nicely into center field, a spot he split time with Steven Sultzbaugh (Will Rice '10) at last year.

Right field will be occupied by one of a few candidates: junior Ryan Lewis, who brings a valuable left-handed bat and arm to the table or sophomore Chase McDowell, who may forego competing for the corner outfield spot in favor of a spot in the Owls' pitching rotation. Freshman Keenan Cook brings a quickness that is valued at the position and freshman Austin Kubitza has hit the cover off the ball thus far, so Head Coach Wayne Graham will have a tough choice to make.

In regard to the pitching staff, junior Taylor Wall and seniors Tony Cingrani and Boogie Anagnostou return weekend staff experience to the Owls, although the freshmen are eager to supplant them. Freshman John Simms, fresh off a summer pitching with the U.S. 18-and-under national team appears to be a crafty pitcher not unlike Ryan Berry (Hanszen '10) while Kubitza has averaged 1.5 strikeouts per inning of work. Both appear to be serious challengers for one of the three weekend rotation spots.

In addition, McDowell has worked his fastball up to 92 mph while throwing a curve ball in the high 70s. Wall has improved somewhat over last season, while sophomore Holt McNair, senior Matt Evers and sophomore Tyler Duffey have worked efficiently to shore up the Owls' bullpen.

- Jonathan Myers

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