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For most Rice students, Sunday was a day of rest. With Monday marking the 33rd federal observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, most of the campus was still fast asleep at 6 a.m. when the starter’s gun went off to begin the 47th annual Chevron Houston Marathon. But a few Owls braved the bitter chill and lived to tell the story 26.2 miles later.
Just two years after Rice started charging tuition and five years after Doc C first graced the university’s hallowed halls, Stewart Morris Jr. (‘71) arrived on campus as a transfer from the University of Virginia. The year was 1968, and Morris soon discovered that there was no rugby club yet extant at his new school.
This weekend, the Rice swim team will travel to Dallas and compete in a series of dual meets against three opponents. The Owls first visit the University of North Texas in Denton to compete against the Mean Green before driving 40 miles south to Southern Methodist University, where the team will face off against both the Mustangs and the University of Arkansas in a double-dual meet.
For the second time in the last four years, Hanszen College is Rice’s powderpuff champion. Hanszen defeated McMurtry College 13-6 in the championship game on Tuesday, capping off a 6-1 season in which no team scored more than seven points against them.
Yesterday, the College Football Playoff Selection Committee released their new set of rankings. For those unfamiliar with the system, the top four teams at the season’s end will enter a playoff, culminating with one of the four winning the championship. And, like many of you readers, I was shocked to see that Rice football was not among the four teams included. I can only assume that this is yet another example of the heavily SEC-biased committee neglecting any non-Power-Five football program’s laudable achievements. Whatever the reason may be, this is an unforgivable oversight and I will not stand for it. Here’s why Rice deserves a spot over Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame, and especially Georgia.
For the first time since 2009, Rice volleyball is NCAA Tournament-bound. After their three consecutive match victories in the Conference USA Tournament from Nov. 16 to 18, the Owls secured an automatic berth in the NCAA Championship Tournament. On Sunday, the selection committee revealed that Rice will face off against Texas State University in Thursday’s first-round match, with the winner then playing the victor of the concurrent match between the University of Texas and Stephen F. Austin State University.
It’s been a long time coming. Rice football has been dancing around the precipice for a couple of years now, veering dangerously close to an edge that would send them plummeting toward the pinnacle of national embarrassment and earn them a crown fit for no king. With Saturday’s loss to the only team that was keeping the Owls from claiming the throne, there can be no more doubt: Rice is now the worst FBS team in the country. Welcome to the inner circles of college football hell.
It was a busy weekend for the Rice Owls. Several teams were in action, from cross country to soccer to swimming to football. With this in mind, here are a couple of the Owls’ highlights.
It’s 10:30 p.m. on a hot August night as the women’s club ultimate frisbee team wraps up the first of their twice-weekly practices. Mosquitoes hover over the moisture-soaked field and the humidity is palpable in the evening air. The players gather together in a huddle and begin to chant.
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.
It was almost 20 years ago that redshirt senior running back Austin Walter’s father first realized his son might have a future in the football world.
Not even a lightning strike could deter the Rice men’s and women’s cross country teams on Friday. After their races were delayed due to a nearby storm, both teams responded with strong performances in the season-opening Norry Hersey Rice Invitational. The men’s team emerged victorious with a win over second-place University of Houston, while the women’s team finished second only to perennial powerhouse University of Texas.
It was hard to know what to expect coming into this year’s edition of the Bayou Bucket. All of the athletic department’s talk of an offseason turnaround was well and good, but after a narrow victory over an FCS school in the season opener, there was some question as to whether the Owls’ “Intellectual Brutality” mantra was, well, brutal enough. They hardly put the hammer down on Prairie View A&M University, a team which boasts the longest losing streak in NCAA history: 80 games in a row from 1989 to 1998. But that’s beside the point, because in Saturday’s game against crosstown rival Houston, the Owls finally passed muster. It wasn’t a perfect performance (one look at the final score will tell you that), but it was a solid step in the right direction for a team that has been languishing in the doldrums for the better part of the last three years. So here are two things Rice did well — and one the team still needs to work on to keep moving forward.
Despite a Saturday setback, it was a mostly successful season-opening weekend at the Red Raider Classic for Rice’s volleyball team. The Owls took two out of three matches in their tournament slate, handily dispatching the University of North Dakota and Northwestern State University on Friday before dropping the final match to Texas Tech University on Saturday.
Men’s Cross Country
In its final regular-season tournament this year, the Rice golf team won its first title of the season, holding off second-place Lipscomb University by five strokes at the Ryman Hospitality Intercollegiate in Nashville, Tenn. Senior Mitchell Meissner shot a season-low five-under par and tied for first place overall, earning Conference USA’s Co-Golfer of the Week award for the second time in his Rice career.
Four-time All-American. Six-time Conference USA champion. Rice record-holder in the heptathlon and C-USA record-holder in both the decathlon and heptathlon. Scott Filip’s accomplishments alone could fill up an entire resume. There’s a very good argument to be made that he is the most prominent Rice athlete on the national stage; last year he finished fifth in the decathlon at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships and was the top American finisher at the 2017 Thorpe Cup, a decathlon dual meet between the United States and Germany. All this just a year after finishing 10th in the decathlon at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon.
As the final buzzer sounded on Saturday to seal a 47-45 win over the University of North Texas, it marked the conclusion of the most successful regular season for the Rice’s women’s basketball team since 2004-05. The Owls’ 20 regular-season wins eclipsed last year’s total of 18 and secured the team the No. 5 seed in the upcoming Conference USA tournament, their highest seeding since 2012.
Last offseason saw the top three scorers for Rice men’s basketball each depart via transfer, leaving the door wide open in terms of replacement offensive production. No returning player had averaged more than 10 points per game on the Owls’ 23-12 squad from the 2016-17 season; it was clear that Rice needed to find a new offensive focal point.
Moments away from registering its first winning streak of the year, Rice’s men’s basketball team saw its hopes dashed on a heart-breaking, buzzer-beating heave by Florida Atlantic University’s Justin Massey.