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Uke breaks school shot put record

By Maddy Adams     3/13/15 3:33pm

The Rice University women’s track team took third and won four individual titles at the Conference USA Indoor Championships last week. Senior thrower Claire Uke brought home the most accolades. With one throw, Uke won the women’s shot put title, solidified herself as the second-best thrower in the country and broke a 29-year-old Rice record.

Uke, a Cedar Hill, TX native, throws discus and shot put for the Owls. She has placed in both events in the C-USA Indoor and Outdoor Championships since her sophomore year. The 2015 C-USA Indoor Championships mark Uke’s third consecutive shot put title. Uke was also named the C-USA Field Performer of the Meet.

Uke said she was surprised by her own performance and only hoped to help the team.

“I actually didn’t expect to throw as well as I did; I’m still in shock,” Uke said. “I don’t think it’s hit me quite yet. My main goal was to get some points for my team and make my coaches proud. I hope what I did achieved that.”

At the C-USA Indoor Championships, Uke threw a lifetime best shot put of 17.95 meters (58.89 feet). Uke broke Rice track and field’s shot put record, which was previously held by Regina Cavanaugh (1986).

Uke said she is proud of her achievements, particularly that of breaking the shot put record. “It’s a complete honor,” Uke said. “It’s something I’ve been striving to do since I’ve been here at Rice.”

Uke also said she dedicated her perfor- mance to her late aunt and her mother.

“Recently, my aunt passed away from breast cancer,” Uke said. “I dedicated my per- formance at the meet to her and my mom.”

Uke’s lifetime best throw sets her as the second-best thrower in the country. Uke is led only by Raven Saunders (17.99 m) from South- ern Illinois University. Uke will throw against Saunders and the nation’s other top throwers in her third and final NCAA Indoor Champion- ships March 13-14 in Fayetteville, AR.

Uke said her training for the champion- ships consists of honing fundamental skills and maintaining confidence. Uke said she is looking forward to throwing against the coun- try’s elite college athletes.

“I’ve been doing a lot of repetition throws, keeping my fundamentals strong and keep- ing confidence in myself strong,” Uke said. “I’ve heard about the other top throwers in the country, and I’m excited to be around such great competition.”

According to Uke, she plans on training with Nancy Wenzel, an assistant coach with the track and field team, after graduation for the 2015 IAAF World Championships in Bei- jing, China, in August 2015. She also plans on training for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

“Wenzel changed my life and my entire outlook on track,” Uke said. “I will hopefully be sticking around with her, training well and keeping myself healthy.” 

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