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Women second at indoor T&F conference, men lag behind

courtesyriceathletics4
Senior Eliza Kraule competes in the high jump at this weekend’s conference championship meet. The women’s track and field team was just two points from first place, while the men’s team placed sixth. Courtesy Rice Athletics

By Diego Palos Rodriguez     2/27/24 10:51pm

The men’s and women’s indoor track and field teams competed in the 2024 American Athletic Conference Indoor Track & Field Championships in Birmingham, Ala. last weekend. The women’s team was just two points short of first place behind the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, while the men finished in sixth place. 

On the track, the women were led by senior Taigen Hunter-Galvan who scored 22 points overall while placing first in the 800 meters and the mile and seventh in the 4x400 meter relay. In the process, Hunter-Galvan broke the school and AAC meet record in the 800m with a time of 2:04.17, which even surprised her.

“I had an identity crisis as a half-miler this season not being able to reach my goals, but breaking the 800m school record and AAC record when I least expected to was so rewarding,” Hunter-Galvan said.



While clinching her first and second individual conference titles ever, Hunter-Galvan was followed closely in the mile by sophomore Amelie Attenborough who placed second, giving the Owls a combined 18 points from the mile alone.

“With a couple of minutes to spare before lacing up our spikes, [Attenborough] and I had a meditation session,” Hunter-Galvan said. “We sat legs crossed, closed our eyes, focused on our breathing and envisioned how we wanted the race to play out. I think speaking our strategy into existence and setting up the race to be a 300m sprint to the finish made it doable for [Attenborough] and I to go 1-2 in the mile.”

Senior Eliza Kraule also came in big for the Owls in the pentathlon. Finishing fifth or higher in every event and breaking the pentathlon long jump meet record, she placed first overall by more than 200 points with 4,335 and broke both the school and the meet record, a feat that wasn’t too far away from her reach going into the meet.

“Going into the meet I knew I had scored just one point off of the record just a few weeks ago, so we were quite confident that breaking the meet record is possible as long as I show up and perform at my best,” Kraule said. “More specifically I knew [I was] going to get it after the fourth pentathlon event — long jump — where I improved my personal best and all I had left was to run the 800.”

Other notable performers for the Owls included sisters Josie and Alice Taylor, a junior and sophomore, placing second and third in the high jump, respectively, senior Ginnie Okafor placing first in the triple jump and senior Tara Simpson-Sullivan placing first in the weight throw.

The women finished second out of 14 schools with 105 points, just two points behind Charlotte, missing out on their first indoor conference title since 2020. 

“Even though we were beating all odds, it was a heartbreaking end to the day,” Hunter-Galvan said. “Now knowing how capable we are, the Owls will be coming back for [Outdoors] with vengeance. It was a bittersweet ending to my indoor career, but damn am I proud of my team’s resilience.”

The men, on the other hand, struggled to find the podium. Notable performers included junior Cal Abdulky finishing first in the weight throw, senior Ese Amata placing second in the high jump, freshman Vincent Arousell finishing second in the heptathlon and sophomore Gus Gannon placing fourth in the 5,000 meters and breaking the school record with a time of 14:19.61. The men finished sixth out of nine teams with 68 total points.

“This was a good catapult toward outdoors,” head coach Jon Warren told Rice Athletics. “But before that, we still have one national indoor qualifier in Alexander Slinkman to focus on and we have many medalists and event scorers that rightfully deserve recognition from this weekend.”



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