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Muhlenberg College

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

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NCAA Championships Preview
Rice ready for second shot

Before he can get to his summer break, Peter Rice has a little business to take care of.

The junior sprinter will travel to Delaware, Ohio this weekend to compete in the 400-meter dash at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships hosted by Ohio Wesleyan University. The prelims are set for 7:00 p.m. Friday with the finals scheduled for 2:40 Saturday afternoon.
Peter Rice
Rice’s school record in the 400 is more than 1.50 seconds faster than second place on Muhlenberg’s all-time performance list.

Rice, who also competed in the 400 at the NCAA Indoor Championships in March, is just the second Muhlenberg male athlete to compete in the same event at both national championship meets in the same year.

But this trip feels different, he said, because of the added experience on his side.

“When I went for indoors it was a little more surprising because it hadn’t been an expectation during the season,” he said. “This time around I knew I could make it there. So I’m not satisfied with just going; I want to run well too.”

Rice, who is the first sprinter in Mule history to qualify for the national championships, admitted the indoor meet did not go as well as he would have liked. He finished fourth in his heat and did not qualify for the finals. But, that just adds more fuel to his competitive fire.

“It’s not something I’m always thinking about, but when I’m out practicing and training it crosses my mind,” Rice said. “I will definitely be thinking about it when I get out there because I want to prove to myself that I can perform at this level.”

Rice is one of only five competitors that qualified for the 400 at both the indoor and outdoor championships this season. But while this field is fairly new, he has had some success against his competition.

During the Moravian Coach P Invitation in April, Rice finished third, just ahead of two runners who will also be taking the blocks in Ohio. Add to that his four gold medals and Most Outstanding Performer award at the Centennial Conference Championships and Rice said he is very confident heading into this weekend.

Seeded 12th out of 19 competitors, Rice said he feels he can definitely go faster than his school-record time of 48.09 seconds. And after having spent the past two weeks working on exploding out of the blocks, he said a strong start could be the key to delaying the beginning of his summer by one more day.

“I feel really refreshed and strong right now,” Rice said. “I have been running well in practice, and I am really looking forward to this opportunity. I want to get to the finals so I can see what I can do. There is no doubt in my mind that I can run with anybody in this race.”
Click here for the championship site.

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