Both Relay Teams Earn Berths into NCAA Championship



May 31, 2014

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By Nate Blythe

NCAA East Preliminary
Jacksonville, Fla. - Hodges Stadium

NCAA Championship Qualifiers

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - After a disappointing Friday, the UCF track and field team rebounded on Saturday evening with the 4x100 and 4x400 relay teams finishing in the top three of their heat at the NCAA East Prelims. Both teams earned the opportunity to compete at the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Ore., on June 11-14.

This is the second time in program history that both the 4x100 and 4x400 relay teams advanced to the NCAA Championships with the feat last being accomplished in 2011.

To open the evening, the 4x100 relay team came together as a unified group to post a 44.45, edging Florida State for third in heat two and the automatic berth to the NCAA Championship. Junior Kirsten Nieuwendam, who entered an alternate, stepped up and provided strong start off the blocks.

The second and third leg by sophomore Christal Peterson and senior Jen Clayton, respectively, put the Knights in position. Bellamy's anchor leg proved to be the difference as she ran down FSU and Indiana State to punch the Knights' ticket to Eugene.

That heat saw five teams qualify for nationals with three automatic and two at-large berths being earned.

Just 90 minutes after the 4x100 relay, Bellamy posted a time of 23.82 in the 200 meters to finish in the top 20 of the quarterfinals.

Sophomore Anne-Marie Blaney broke the school record for the third time in the 5000 meters with a personal best mark of 16:16.31. The Ocala native finished 13th, one spot from advancing to Eugene, in the 5000 and 10,000 meter races at Hodges Stadium at North Florida.

To conclude the NCAA East Prelims, senior Sandy Jean started off the 4x400 relay squad before handing off the classmate Jen Clayton, who fought back from fourth to second down the home stretch. Sophomore Ashely Jocelyn made up for a slow exchange and put the Knights in third before handing the baton to senior Afia Charles.

Charles made a charge in the last 200 meters and beat-out Purdue at the line for a 3:34.58. The time was the ninth best in the meet.

The relay teams join Clayton, who finished 12th in the long jump, as Knights that punched tickets to Eugene for the NCAA Championship on June 11-14.

NCAA East Prelims Day Three
May 31, 2013 - Jacksonville, Fla.

4x100 Relay
6. UCF - Kirsten Nieuwendam, Christal Peterson, Jen Clayton, J'Nea Bellamy - 44.54

200 Meters
18. J'Nea Bellamy - 23.82

5000 Meters
13. Anne-Marie Blaney - 16:16.31

4x400 Relay
9. UCF - Sandy Jean, Jen Clayton, Ashley Jocelyn, Afia Charles - 3:34.58



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