Rice Athletics weekend updates
While both the soccer and football teams had last weekend off, there was still plenty of action to go around in the Rice sports world. Here are a few highlights from the Owls’ weekend slate.
MURRAY WINS TRIATHLON CHAMPIONSHIP
Junior runner Matthew Murray won the ITU World Triathlon Grand Final in the Male 20-24 age group on Sunday in Gold Coast, Australia. Murray, who competes for Rice in both cross country and track and field, completed the triathlon in 1:53:25 — more than a minute faster than runner-up Hamish Longmuir of Australia. The race, sanctioned by the International Triathlon Union (the international governing body for the triathlon), was organized into three stages: a 1500-meter swim to start, followed by 40 kilometers of biking and a final 10-kilometer run. After the swimming stage, Murray was in 15th place, but his bike time was second-best among finishers, and he won the running stage by almost two minutes.
Murray competed in the triathlon under the banner of the United States — the second time he has represented the national team. Two years ago, he competed in the Male 18-19 age group in Cozumel, Mexico, where he finished third overall. This year, his time was almost six minutes faster than his previous result.
GOLF FINISHES 16TH AT INVITATIONAL
The Rice golf team struggled in the Ram Masters Invitational on Monday and Tuesday, finishing in 16th place out of the 17-team field at 51 over par in the Fort Collins, Colorado-based tournament. Hometown team Colorado State University finished first overall at four strokes under par in the three-round invitational, winning by 14 strokes over second-place Illinois State University.
While the Owls started off solidly, finishing the first round in eighth place, they steadily lost ground over the next two rounds. Junior Nicholas Duggan was Rice’s top scorer, squeaking into the top 15 overall at three over par. Sophomore Jake Benson also performed well, with a nine-over-par performance. Both golfers shot a career-best 68 (two under par) in the first round of the tournament.
Next, the golf team will travel to Dallas for the Trinity Forest Invitational, held from Sept. 23 to 25.
SOCCER PREPARES FOR CONFERENCE PLAY
Rice soccer will begin their slate of conference games this Thursday at 7 p.m. against Middle Tennessee State University, followed by another conference matchup on Sunday at 6 p.m. against the University of Texas, San Antonio. Both games will be at home and held at Holloway Field, with attendance free to all Rice students. The Owls will look to defend their regular-season Conference USA title and last year’s almost perfect 9-0-1 conference record, in the wake of a 2-4 start to this season. In particular, Rice’s defense will be tested by Middle Tennessee’s potent offensive attack, which ranks second in C-USA with 2.6 goals scored per game.
Last week’s game against the University of Charlotte was postponed due to Hurricane Florence, marking the third consecutive year that the Owls’ early-season schedule was impacted by inclement weather. Last year, Rice postponed one game and canceled two more after Hurricane Harvey devastated the Houston area, and the year before, their second game of the season was also canceled due to weather.
More from The Rice Thresher
There’s no denying it: Rice women’s basketball had a rocky start to the 2019-20 season. Coming off a historic season last year in which the team won 21 straight games and reached the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2005, this year’s team registered a middling 5-6 record against non-Conference USA opponents to start the season.
The last time the Rice men’s tennis team took the court for a match was almost three months ago, on Nov. 3, when sophomore Campbell Salmon and junior Mohamed Abdel-Aziz picked up a pair of doubles wins to close out the Ralston/Neufeld Coaches Challenge and the Owls’ 2019 tournament season.
Rice men’s basketball will aim to pick up its second Conference USA win of the season this week when the team faces the University of Texas, El Paso on Thursday night at Tudor Fieldhouse.