Volleyball is ready to set
Today kicks off the start to the Rice Women's Volleyball team's season. The Rice Invitational will be hosted at Tudor Field- house, where the Owls will be competing against the United States Air Force Acade- my, Arkansas State University and Brigham Young University.
The game against Air Force tonight at 7 p.m. will be the first matchup, and has special significance since it is the first time in 14 years the two teams have competed against each other. When the Western Ath- letic Conference began to split up, Air Force moved into the Mountain West Conference in 1999 and Rice University moved into Conference USA for the 2005 season.
The Rice Owls will be matched up against ASU of the Sun Belt Conference tomorrow
at 12:30 p.m. and BYU of the West Coast Conference at 7 p.m. The fact that the Owls have most recently been pre-ranked as the second favorite to win the C-USA Cham- pionship after Tulsa, after placing second last year, bodes well for this hard-working team. Along with this great ranking, six starters from last year's lineup return this year to hopefully continue their seasonal winning spree after last year's impressive 18-13 season. Two of these returning players are seniors Nancy Cole and junior Megan Murphy both of whom made the Pre-Season All C-USA team.
With such rankings, this weekend looks to be the start of a great season in the mak- ing. The team travels next week to start off their away games. The Owls take on the University of Texas at San Antonio on Tuesday, Aug. 28.
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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.