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Women's Track battles the elements in El Paso

By Bhagwat Kumar     4/19/12 7:00pm

Despite the windy conditions at The University of Texas-El Paso Invitational on Saturday, April 14th, the women's track and field team was able to make significant strides forward, particularly in the shot put and discus, led by freshman Claire Uke and junior Sharae Robinson.

Uke placed second in the shot put, with a mark of 14.50m, while Robinson was able to place third in the discus with a mark of 48.76m, which doubled as a new personal best. Uke also placed fifth in the discus with a mark of 45.03m, just off of her personal record.

Robinson's performance was a special breakthrough, as she was able to break her previous personal best mark after working towards it for the duration of the year.

"I'm very excited to have finally set a new PR," Robinson said. "I've been working a long time to get to this point."

Robinson had been closing in on the mark in recent meets, and it became more of a question of when she would break it rather than if she would.

"I know I was due for a PR," Robinson said. "I just didn't know when it would happen."

Uke, while also impressive, was not comfortable with her performance.

"I felt that I was mentally unfocused and let the weather conditions get to me," Uke said. "My performance this weekend was not my best effort, and because of that I wasn't really satisfied."

Despite pacing the team with her work at the invitational, Uke viewed it more as an opportunity to improve and to attain the high standards she sets for herself more consistently. "I've won a couple shot put competitions as a freshman and for that I'm extremely happy. My place this weekend only proved that I have so much more to learn and perfect," she said.

Other impressive performances came from freshman Marielle Brisbois, setting a new season-best mark of 3.77m in the pole vault, continuing her ascent in the standings with a fourth-place finish. Junior Candace Springer also set a season best of 11.83 in the 100m, good for 10th overall.

The real story of the weekend, however, may have been the horrific conditions at the invitational.

"The conditions were very dusty, to say the least," said Uke. "We experienced a dust storm in the morning and had to compete in it."

The weather affected everyone.

"The weather was horrible," Robinson verified. "We were in the middle of a dust storm with winds that you would see in a tropical storm."

However, the team held tight and was able to put together a strong performance.

"I think the team is performing wonderfully as a unit," Uke said.

Robinson could not agree more with Uke.

"Under the conditions we were in, I felt like we still had a good performance as a team," Robinson said.

The team was able to still have four members set personal bests, including Robinson, an impressive feat considering the conditions and atmosphere.

While the majority of the Owls were at the UTEP Invitational, head coach James Bevan was with a small group of athletes in Austin, Texas at the Austin Invitational.

Notable performances from the meet were freshman Allie Schaich in qthe 3000m, who led Rice with a time of 10:11.88 and finished in fourth place. Redshirt sophomore Farrah Madanay finished sixth in the same event, posting a 10:30.40 mark.

The team is at it again on Saturday, April 21, this time at home hosting the ninth annual J. Fred Duckett Twilight at Holloway Field and Ley Track.

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