The Fifth Lap
The last four years have been a ride. There were overtime wins, heartbreaking losses, school records and conference championships. There were moments that were hard to watch and moments that were stunningly exciting.
So for the class of 2012, here is a stroll down memory lane with brief recaps of eight of the best sports moments of the last four years.
2008: Football's pick-6 against Memphis seals road comeback
The 2008 Rice football season was full of special moments: getting 10 wins, hoisting the Texas Bowl trophy, watching Jarrett Dillard, Chase Clement and James Casey carve up defenses. But freshman Chris Jammer returning his first interception for a touchdown with 11 seconds left to cap a 15-point fourth-quarter rally in the second game of the season was a precursor for it all.
2009: Volleyball claims C-USA tournament crown
Hosting the final Conference USA volleyball tournament, Rice put together two huge rallies against University of Tulsa on the way to capturing its first ever volleyball conference championship and its second consecutive NCAA tournament bid with a fourth set victory.
2009: Jason Colwick reaches new heights
Give him a fiberglass pole, and Jason Colwick can soar. In 2009, he won gold at both the indoor and outdoor NCAA meets. Indoors, he won with a height of 18 feet and 4.25 inches. Outdoors, he finished at 18 feet and 8.25 inches.
2010: Men's Tennis (finally) takes down Tulsa when it counts
For four consecutive C-USA tournament finals, Rice had been stonewalled by Tulsa. Hosting the tournament, Rice was down 3-1, one loss away from another defeat. But senior Bruno Rosa won in straight sets cutting the deficit to 3-2, and assisting in clinching the team title 4-3.
2010: Anthony Rendon is best in college baseball
In 2010, Anthony Rendon had more home runs (26) than strikeouts (22), part of the reason he won the Howser Trophy for National Player of the Year. Head Coach Wayne Graham summed up Rendon's season better than any statistic could: "Anthony is, as my dad used to say, 'poetry in motion.'"
2011: Rice captures first Women's C-USA Swimming and Diving Title
In 2011, Rice's women's swim team firmly struck the word "can't" from the C-USA vocabulary. They defeated Southern Methodist University, which had won every conference meet since joining in 2006, and they won without entering a single diver in the three diving events.
2012: Beazant leads Women's Tennis
This season, freshman Natalie Beazant only lost one match. Her teammates followed her lead, taking the team to its highest ranking in program history and its first NCAA tournament since 2006.
2011-12: Wade wows in 5th year
Becky Wade (Martel '12) qualified for her record fourth NCAA National meet and earned Rice's first cross country All-America since 1986. In indoor track, she won the C-USA title in the mile, broke the school indoor 5km record and earned All-America in the 5km. Wade has already broken both the Rice outdoor 5km and 10 km records and has qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials this summer.
More from The Rice Thresher
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.