Nationally Ranked UCF Track and Field Gears Up for UCF Invitational


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March 22, 2012

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By Jenna Marina
UCFAthletics.com

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ORLANDO, Fla. (UCF Athletics.com) - The UCF track and field team is ranked 12th in the country according to the National Team Computer Rankings posted by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association on Thursday. The Knights are the highest of three Conference USA teams who rank among the top 25, and UCF was just edged by Florida by one slot as the highest women's program in the Sunshine State.

A total of eight-ranked programs will compete at the UCF Invitational this Friday and Saturday as the Knights welcomes 28 teams to Orlando. The Knights will honor their senior class at their final appearance at the UCF Track and Field Complex at 11:30 a.m. Saturday.

The 12th-ranked Knights will square off against Clemson (No. 4), Florida (No. 11) and Baylor (No. 13) among others while ranked men's teams from Florida (No. 1), Virginia Tech (No. 10), Baylor (No. 12) and Princeton (No. 22) will also display their talents.

UCF will meet some of its toughest competition for the first time since the NCAA Indoor Championships, which took place March 9-10. Clemson edged the Knights by one point for a top-five finish at the meet while UCF topped the Gators and Ohio State in the standings with its highest finish in school history at No. 8.

Several Knights who rank among the nation's elite after their season opener last weekend are slated to compete this weekend.

The jumps are stacked with a wealth of talent. Senior Jacqueline Gilchrist will headline the long jump Friday as the highest ranked athlete in the event at No. 4 in the nation after her personal-best performance at the UCF Black and Gold Challenge. She will be joined by fellow senior Tomika Story, junior long jump All American Sonnisha Williams and freshman speedster Octavious Freeman.

Story and Gilchrist, who also rank among the nation's top 25 in the triple jump, will test themselves against the nation's leader in the event, Georgia Tech's Julienne McKee.

Seven Knights will compete in the 100 Meters, and sophomore Dominique Booker will look to improve upon her performance from the season opener that currently ranks her among the nation's top 25. Aurieyall Scott will compete for the first time in the race since taking gold with a personal-best and school-record time of 11.12 at the USA Junior Outdoor Track and Field Championships a year ago. The pair will be joined by Amanda Leland, Christal Peterson, Story, Tyler Smith and UCF's resident pole-vaulter Erica Weiss.

UCF's most stacked event of the meet, the 200 Meters, features 11 Knights scheduled to compete in the race. Sheila Paul (No. 9), Williams (No. 14) and Booker (No. 24) are all currently nationally ranked in the 200, and expectations are high as Freeman is scheduled to sprint in her first race of the outdoor season along with Scott, who claimed All-America honors in the event at last year's NCAA Championships. Leland, Afia Charles, Brittany McCord, Peterson and Smith round out the black and gold.

The first heat of the 100 Hurdles will set the tone as All American and NCAA medalist Jackie Coward debuts in her first race of the outdoor season alongside Baylor's Tiffani McReynolds, who finished fourth at the NCAA Indoor 60 Hurdles finals, and Georgia Tech’s Melanie Akwule, who currently ranks 11th in the country. UCF alum and All American Tiki James will also run in heat one after finishing sixth at the 2011 USA Track and Field Championships. Coward will also compete in the 400 Hurdles.

Women's javelin will kick off Friday's action at noon. Saturday's schedule will begin at 9 a.m. with women's discus. Admittance is free to the public.

Due to a number of events scheduled at the athletics quadrant of campus Saturday, spectators can park in lots E6 and E7. A parking map link is located at the top of the story.


 

 

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