Men's track finishes sixth overall at Conference USA Championship
The men's track and field team placed sixth overall at the Conference USA Championship at Tad Gormley Stadium, hosted by Tulane University.
The Owls finished with 73.5 total points, while Houston won its fourth title in a row with 170.5 points. Second, third and fourth place were tightly contested, with UTEP, Tulsa and East Carolina finishing with 132, 127 and 126 points, respectively.
Clayton Chaney won the decathlon for Rice, while Collin Shurbet (Lovett '12) came away with the bronze in the 400m hurdles with a time of 53.02, narrowly beating out teammate Lee Johnson (Jones '12), who finished with a time of 53.19. Chaney also finished top-25 in the country.
"Collin Shurbet's race in the 400m hurdles was awesome as he had to fend off fellow Rice senior Lee Johnson for the medal spot," Head Coach Jon Warren said.
Gabe Cuadra placed third in the 10,000m with a time of 30:55.89, and the 4x100m quartet of Will Beasley, Dylan Bradley, Jordan Hmaidan (Wiess '12) and Kyle Denny placed fourth with a time of 42.28, Rice's fastest time of the outdoor season.
"The 4x100 ran surprisingly well considering it was the first time they ran as a unit. They finished only one spot behind a fine tuned UH team, just missing the podium," Warren said.
The qualifying members of the team will now prepare for NCAA Regionals in Austin at the end of May. Following Regionals, those who qualify for the NCAA Championship will continue training until the meet in early June.
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On Thursday, sophomore distance runner Grace Forbes proved to the rest of the country what her Conference USA opponents and Rice teammates have known for years – she’s one of the fastest runners in the country. Competing at the NCAA championships in Eugene, Ore. for the second consecutive year, Forbes, took second place in the 10,000-meter, the best finish by an Owl at the NCAAs in over a decade. According to Forbes, who missed the indoor season and the first month of the outdoor season due to extreme fatigue later diagnosed as an autoimmune disorder, the result was a testament to the work she’s put in to overcome an incredibly challenging year.
Five Owls will be heading to next week’s NCAA outdoor track and field championships, after qualifying at the NCAA West Preliminaries which ran May 25 through 28. Headlining the meet for Rice was sophomore distance-runner Grace Forbes, who took first place in the 10,000 meters for the second consecutive year. Forbes will be joined in Eugene, Ore., by sophomore thrower Tara Simpson-Sullivan, junior thrower Erna Gunnarsdottir, senior thrower James McNaney and sophomore vaulter Alex Slinkman. Jon Warren, head coach of the men’s track and field program, said that he was impressed not only by the five qualifiers, but by all 13 Owls who participated over the course of the week in Fayetteville, Ark.
The Conference USA outdoor track and field championships saw Rice’s men’s team place third with 121 points — their best conference championship performance since 2005 — and the women’s team place fifth with 88 points. According to men’s head coach Jon Warren, he was proud to see the work his team put in all season be on full display at the meet.