Record-breaker: Claire Uke


When senior Claire Uke broke Regina Cavanaugh’s ’87 29-year-old Rice record in the shot put at the 2015 C-USA Indoor Championships, her mind was in another place.

Claire Uke

Claire Uke

The 17.95-meter throw won Uke her third-consecutive C-USA Indoor title, but it came only a week after her aunt had died of breast cancer. “I took it really hard because it affected my mom really badly,” she said. “I wasn’t expecting to do anything tremendous at this meet. I just went in with the mindset that each of my throws would be dedicated to her memory. It turned out that she was smiling down from heaven at me because it was at this meet that I broke the school record and garnered the third-best throw in the country.”

It wasn’t the first time Uke excelled at a track and field event. She won five consecutive shot put competitions to start the 2015 indoor season. She has 26 career victories in throwing events — she also competes in the discus.

Although Uke plans to train for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, she said she’s not interested in a long-term professional career. Rather, her sights are set on medicine. “I’m a kinesiology major with a concentration in sports medicine,” she said. “My dream career is to be an orthopedic surgeon. I’ve been completely fascinated by the subjects of anatomy and physiology, and adding the biomechanics component of movement to this was one of the biggest reasons I chose my major.”

Uke has grown so close to the Rice track team she considers them family. “The friendships and bonds I’ve been able to make with these girls, regardless of what event they do, have been ones that I will cherish for a lifetime.”

—This story first appeared in the Spring 2015 issue of Rice Magazine.

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