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Issue No. 7—Summer 2013
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Three teams earn C-USA championships for Owls

With three conference championships, NCAA tournament berths, dazzling individual and team play, and exceptional academic performance, Rice scholar-athletes have been on a roll this spring. And that extends to Rice’s 100th graduating class, which included 90 scholar–athletes.

Rice continues to be a leader in graduating scholar–athletes and in scholastic achievement. Earlier this year, Rice was recognized for having the No. 6 highest graduation rate among schools that compete in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS). The Owls also had 215 students earn recognition to the Conference USA Commissioner's Honor Roll, thirty-one of whom earned the C-USA Commissioner’s Academic Medal for holding a grade point average of 3.75 or higher.

In addition to several individual athletic accomplishments, the Owls had three teams — baseball, women’s swimming and women’s tennis — win C-USA championships this spring. Here are some of the highlights from their championship seasons.

Baseball makes the NCAA's Super Regional tournament 

Under the direction of 22-year head coach Wayne Graham, Rice baseball (44-20) advanced to NCAA postseason play for the 19th consecutive year. The Blue and Gray extended its streak of winning conference championships to 18 straight years by winning both the 2013 Conference USA regular season and tournament titles.

The Owls also reached the Super Regional round of the NCAA Tournament for the 10th time since 1999, when the format was first adopted. They fell to North Carolina State in two games, including a thriller that lasted 17 innings.

Individually the Owls won a host of honors and awards for their success on the field and in the classroom. While the NCAA Super Regionals were being played, no less than five Rice players were selected in the 2013 Major League Baseball draft.

For more information about the Owls’ baseball season, visit http://www.riceowls.com/sports/m-basebl/rice-m-basebl-body.html.

Women’s tennis wins first conference title in seven years 

The Rice Women’s tennis team won the 2013 Conference USA championship, giving the Owls their first conference crown since 2006 and an automatic return to the NCAA Championship, where they were defeated by Stanford in the round of 32.

The Owls were ranked as high as 20th in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association weekly national poll three times this year, their highest ranking since 1983 when they reached 19th in the poll for one week.

Natalie Beazant ’15 and Dominique Harmath ’14 carved out a piece of Rice women's tennis history when they both competed in the 2013 NCAA Women's Tennis Singles Championship. The duo also competed in the doubles tournament for the second consecutive year. Last year, they became Rice’s first doubles team to win a match in the NCAA tournament.

Beazant also made an incredible run at the NCAA singles tournament, becoming the first Owl to reach the quarterfinals after a series of dramatic upset victories. She is also one of only two Owls to compete twice in NCAA singles and the first Owl since Wendy Wood in 1986 to win a singles match.

For more information on the women’s tennis season, visit http://www.riceowls.com/sports/w-tennis/.  

Women’s Swimming emerges as conference powerhouse 

The Owl swimmers captured the program's second Conference USA league title in three years, proving that the program’s first league title in 2011 wasn’t a one-time fluke.

Casey Clark ’15 led the way. Named the Rice Swimmer of the Year, she won two C-USA individual championships in the 100- and 200-butterfly and set three new school records.

The team also excelled academically. Danielle Spence ’13 was named to the conference’s All-Academic Team for her 3.92 grade point average while majoring in mathematical economic analysis with a minor in business. The Rice trio of Spence, Quincy Christian ’14 and Rachel Lu ’16 was named C-USA Academic medalists this season. A total of 23 Rice swimmers were named to the 2013 C-USA Commissioners Academic Honor Roll.

For more information on women’s swimming, visit http://www.riceowls.com/sports/w-swim/rice-w-swim-body.html.