Feb. 27, 2010
HOUSTON, Texas (UCFAthletics.com) - Led by a third-place finish and freshman school record by freshman Sonnisha Williams (Jacksonville, Fla.), the UCF track and field team began competition in the 2010 Conference USA Indoor Championships Friday at Yeoman Fieldhouse in Houston, Texas.
In a day filled with field events and preliminary running action, Williams and senior LaKendra Thames (Winter Garden, Fla.) led the Knights with a pair of third-place finishes to claim six points each. Williams set a UCF freshman record in the long jump with a top mark of 19-10.75/6.06m. Thames competed in the weight throw and also took third. The Winter Garden native had a best throw of 59-8.50/18.20m.
The other point scored for UCF on Friday was junior Samantha Shields (Orlando, Fla.), who claimed eighth place in the pentathlon. Led by a third-place finish in the shot put, Shields scored 3,426 points.
"Today was basically a tough day for us even though we had a few great performances," said head coach Caryl Smith Gilbert. "Lakendra, Sonnisha and Tiki [James] performed well and put themselves in position to score some quality points for the team. However, overall, our effort was lackluster and once again we did not compete up to our level of talent. The conference meet is a meet that you come to prepared to fight for your team at all costs. Today, we simply weren't "hungry" enough to put ourselves in position to win the championship."
The strength of the Knights in preliminary action was in the 60-meter hurdles, where UCF athletes will make up half of the field in Saturday's finals. Senior Tiki James (Miami, Fla.) easily had the best time in the prelims, crossing in 8.22 seconds. Sophomore Jackie Coward (Knoxville, Tenn.) qualified second at 8.47 while junior Micaela Wimberly (Miami, Fla.) and sophomore Ashley Bolling (Jacksonville, Fla.) also advanced to Saturday's final, qualifying fourth and eighth.
Sophomore Sheila Paul
(Lauderdale Lakes, Fla.), the defending champion in the 60-meter dash, qualified for Saturday's final in the event by crossing in 7.49.
"All is not lost though for our team," Smith Gilbert continued. "We have quite a few chances tomorrow to prove that we are a team that is a force to be reckoned with in Conference USA. I am looking forward to a much more competitive day tomorrow."
After the first day of action, UCF sits in ninth place with 13 points. UTEP is leading the field with 41 points while Rice sits in second with 35.
To follow live results of Saturday's events, click here
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Conference USA Championships - Day 1
Houston, Texas - Feb. 26, 2010
3. LaKendra Thames, 59-8.50/18.20m (6 points earned)
13. Jessica Francis, 50-2.75/15.31m
14. Ashley Kirkpatrick, 50-2.0/15.29m
3. Sonnisha Williams, 19-10.75/6.06m (6) (FR, PR)
10. Erica Weitz, 10-8.0/3.25m
8. Samantha Shields, 3426 (1)
17. Ashley Bolling, 2837
14. Ocean Cohen, 17:58.80
Distance Medley Relay
9. UCF (Alyssa Franks, Sonnisha Williams, Carley Dart, Katrina Skinner), 12:26.97
1. Tiki James, 8.22 (P,q)
2. Jackie Coward, 8.47 (q)
4. Micaela Wimberly, 8.67 (q)
8. Ashley Bolling, 8.72 (q)
8. Sheila Paul, 7.49 (q)
10. Tiki James, 7.52
23. Tomika Story, 7.93
12. Sheila Paul, 24.87
18. Micaela Wimberly, 25.42
10. Champelle Brown, 57.29
20. Aisha-Maree Frazier, 58.29
10. Carley Dart, 2:16.01
PR = Personal Record
FR = Freshman Record
P = NCAA Provisional Qualifying Mark
q = qualified for Saturday's final