Women's Track and Field Seeks to Defend Atlantic Sun Title

April 14, 2005

ORLANDO - When the UCF women's track and field team travels to Nashville, Tenn. for the Atlantic Sun Championship on April 15, the Golden Knights are depending upon some impressive individual efforts in order to come away with their sixth consecutive conference title.

It won't be an easy task for the Knights, who have won seven of nine championships since 1996 and never finished lower than second. "We will need to rely on our strength in the field events as we have in the past to overcome teams who are strong in the running events like Florida Atlantic and Georgia State as well as a solid all-around team like Troy," said UCF head coach Marcia Mansur-Wentworth.

Led by junior and five-time all-conference honoree Tiffany Roebuck, the throwers could contribute a significant amount of points to the cause. Roebuck is not only the defending champion and conference record holder in the hammer throw, but also owns the school records in that event as well as the discus and shot put. She has also posted NCAA Qualifying marks in the hammer (185-10) and the shot put (47-2.50) this season.

Among the others looking to score in the throws are junior Rian Thomas and the freshmen trio of Virginia Traynor, Sade Kusimo and Kendra Howell. Thomas and Howell join Roebuck in the hammer, where Thomas was a silver medalist and NCAA Regional qualifier in 2004 and Howell has a season-best throw of 150-1.75. Earlier in the season, Kusimo threw a 140-6 in the discus, a mark that ranks third all-time in the school record books, while Traynor has impressive marks in both the shot put (42-3) and the discus (130-1).

Junior Diana Chinand younger sister and freshman Vicky Chin could also contribute points in multiple events. The elder Chin recently posted an NCAA Regional qualifying mark in the long jump at 19-9.5 - which currently tops the A-Sun's performance chart in the event. She also has the second best time in the league in the 100-meter hurdles, an event she won the conference title in as a freshman and settled for the silver last season. Diana will also compete in the triple jump where she has a mark of 35-2.5.

Meanwhile, Vicky Chin has set a high standard in her rookie season as she recorded a personal best in the 100m hurdles at 14.36. She also boasts the league's second best time in the 400m hurdles at 62.26 and the second best mark in the triple jump at 36-11.75.

Another threat in the horizontal jumps is junior Lynnsey Hicks (Ocala/Vanguard HS). With a season best of 37-1, she tops the A-Sun in the triple jump.

The Golden Knights will also be competitive in the vertical jumps thanks to veterans like senior captain Ann-Louise Larsen and sophomores LesSundra Ford and Katie Fowke.

In the high jump, Larsen and Ford have continued to be impressive. Larsen, a three-time all-conference honoree, has qualified for the NCAA Regional the last three consecutive seasons. This year, she has leaped over the NCAA Regional qualifying standard with marks of 5-8.75 in four different meets. Although she was the first in program history to compete in an NCAA event final in 2004, Ford has struggled with an injury and posted a season best of 5-7 - short of her school record of 5-11.25.

Fowke, meanwhile, leads a group of talented pole vaulters. Last time out, she tied her school record of 12-0 and in the attempt to defend her conference title will also try to gain the extra half inch needed for NCAA Regional qualification. Joining her are freshman Michelle Teuton and Kelsey Bealert, who are just behind Fowke in second and third on the Atlantic Sun performance list.

The Golden Knights are strong in the middle distance events. Sophomore Karen Kozub is set to defend her title in 800m and has the Atlantic Sun's top time at 2:13.62. Her classmate Christina Jones will also race in the event and is sixth in the A-Sun with a season best of 2:17.52. An all-conference honoree in cross country, junior Astrid Claessens will be competing in the 1500m - an event in which she tied the school record at 4:40.05 during the Florida Relays.

In the sprints, sophomores Jenny Rogan and LaToya Green have shown improvement under assistant coach John Guarino's guidance. Both could score in the 100m or 200m. Green is currently ranked fifth in the former with a time of 12.07, while Rogan is eighth at 12.15.

Although she has struggled early in the season, junior Andrea Morrow is hoping to earn her third consecutive all-conference honor and qualify for her third NCAA Regional in the 3000m steeplechase with a solid performance this weekend.

Finally, freshman Allison Palmer hopes to capitalize on her talents in the 10,000m and 5,000m events.