Hello World! UCF Sprinter Qualifies for IAAF Track & Field Championships

GO KNIGHTS Alexis Faulknor  became the first USA junior champion in program history after winning gold in the long jump Friday.
Alexis Faulknor became the first USA junior champion in program history after winning gold in the long jump Friday.

June 21, 2013

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By Jenna Marina

DES MOINES, Iowa (UCFAthletics.com) - The Black and Gold faithful need to start practicing how to pronounce "Go Knights!" in Russian - one of their own is headed to the IAAF World Track and Field Championship.

Sophomore Octavious Freeman shattered records on every level imaginable Friday night at the USA Senior Championships at Drake Stadium. In front of a national television audience, she finished second in the 100-meter finals in a supersonic 10.87 (+1.8).

The time - her second personal record and school record of the day -- will go down as the No. 2 all-time, all-dates collegiate best. It is the second-fastest time in the world this year and was just two-hundredths of a second shy of Nike's English Gardner's first-place finish.

In effect, she will become the first UCF track and field athlete to represent the United States at the World Championships, which will be held in Moscow in August.

"I'm just glad to be here," Freeman said in her post-race ESPN interview. "Two [personal records], what more could I ask for? I've been praying for a long time. I had a breakthrough and I thank God that I got out here and did my best."

The semifinals set the stage for a dramatic 100M final. The top four times of the 100M semifinals all bested the world's current leading time, and seven of the eight finalists hit personal records.

Freeman came in third overall with her first wind-legal sub-11 time of 10.90 (+1.7). Scott also clocked a new personal best for the second-best time of heat one and fifth overall at 10.96 (+2.0) for the fifth all-time, all-dates collegiate best. They became the first collegiate teammates to run sub-10.97 in NCAA history.

Scott finished sixth in the final, running a still-blistering 11.00 (+1.8), and remains eligible for the 4x100 relay pool.

"It's a historic night for UCF track and field," UCF coach Caryl Smith Gilbert said. "Alexis Faulknor is a national junior champion and made the U.S. junior national team for the Pan Am Championships. Aurieyall Scott PR'd twice, and ran under 11 seconds, which is huge. Octavious Freeman ran the second-fastest time by a collegian ever. This is what we've been working for. It's only going to get better from here. I love UCF, and I'm just trying to embrace the moment."

Freeman and Scott will resume competition Saturday at 4:35 p.m. in the 200-meter preliminaries. The race will air on Universal Sports, and should they advance, they will compete in Sunday's semis at 3:22 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network.

Scott and Freeman are ranked fourth and sixth, respectively, overall among the field - second and third among collegians - in the event. They will go toe-to-toe against three-time 200M Olympic medalist Allyson Felix and Jeneba Tarmoh, who both won gold at the London Games as a part of the 4x100 relay.

Not to get lost in all the excitement, freshman"Alexis Faulknor became the first USA junior champion in a field event in program history after winning gold in the long jump Friday.

The Los Angeles native entered the event as the favorite by more than a foot, and she didn't disappoint by besting the rest of the field with her mark of 5.96m/19-6.75 (+0.5). As the latest junior long jump champion, she joins elite company such as 2005 world champion Tianna Madison and Olympic and two-time world champion Jackie Joyner-Kersee as gold medalists in the event.

Faulknor will go on to represent her country in the Pan Am Junior Athletics Championships in Colombia this August. She is also eligible for the 4x100 relay pool at the Pan Am Championships after placing fourth in the 100-meter finals Thursday.

Running for Saucony, UCF alum Jackie Coward automatically qualified for Saturday afternoon's 100-hurdles semifinals with a wind-aided 12.88 (+2.1) for the third-best time of the first heat.