Women's Track and Field to Compete at Walt Disney World Invitational This Weekend

March 21, 2007

ORLANDO, Fla. (www.ucfathletics.com) - The UCF women's track and field team faces some tough competition when the Golden Knights head to the Walt Disney World Invitational at Disney's Wide World of Sports® Complex from Thursday, March 22 through Saturday, March 24. Among the schools slated to join UCF are Maryland, Iowa State, Princeton, Villanova and Florida State.

Kicking off the meet on Thursday afternoon is the hammer throw as five Golden Knights go head-to-head. Leading the group is junior Kendra Howell, who posted the team's best mark of the season at 149-feet, four inches at the USF Invitational. Her classmate Virginia Traynor (Miami Westminster Christian HS) has a mark of 135-2.50 followed by freshmen LaKendra Thames, Ashley Kirkpatrick and Jessica Francis.

Traynor, Thames and Francis also compete in the discus throw on Friday and in the shot put on Saturday. Thames owns the team's best marks in both events, including the UCF freshman record in the shot put at 45-7.75. Junior Sade Kusimo, who has the team's second-best mark in the discus at 136-8, participates in the event again this weekend.

Thursday is also Disney Distance Night, beginning at 5 p.m. The Golden Knights have two teams registered for the 4x1500m relay then take on the 3,000m steeplechase. Redshirt freshman Jamie Rzepecki (East Aurora, N.Y./East Aurora HS) makes her UCF debut in the event after missing most of the outdoor season last year due to injury. Earlier this season, junior Elizabeth Miller (Orlando, Fla./Timber Creek HS) went 7:24.26 in the 2,000m steeplechase, while junior Allison Palmer (Oviedo HS) and freshman Erica Weitz (Morganville, N.J./Marlboro HS) performed well in their first ever attempt at the event.

Making her outdoor debut, freshman Jenny Clausen (Jackson, N.J./Jackson Memorial HS) leads a trio of Golden Knights in the 5,000m. Clausen was an all-conference honoree in cross country and also broke the school's freshman record in both the 3,000m and 5,000m in the indoor season. Also on Thursday night, seven members of the UCF men's cross country team race in the 5,000m after taking the top six spots in the 3,000m at the USF Invitational two weeks ago.

Friday is the by far the busiest day as the Golden Knights are featured in no fewer than 10 events with some athletes contesting two. In keeping with training for the heptathlon, sophomore and all-conference honoree Sheree Carter (Tallahassee, Fla./Godby HS) lines up for the 100m hurdles and the long jump, while junior Tia Harwood (Wyandach, N.Y./Half Hollow Hills East HS) races in both the 100m and 400m hurdles.

Joining Carter in the long jump are sophomores Dione Thomas (Jacksonville, Fla./Raines HS) and Ricki Sullivan (Santa Cruz, Calif./Harbor Hills HS). Thomas has the team's best mark thus far this season after opening with a leap of 18-8 at the UCF Invitational, while Sullivan, who also competes in the triple jump on Saturday, is second at 18-5.50.

The Golden Knights are also well-represented in the pole vault. Headlining the trio of UCF athletes is three-time NCAA Regional qualifier and school recordholder Katie Fowke (Tampa, Fla./Riverview HS). After opening with a height over 11-feet at the USF Invitational two weeks ago, she finished first in the event at 11-7.25. Meanwhile, junior Kelsey Bealert (Orlando, Fla./Oak Ridge HS) has gone 10-6 in the first two meets and sophomore Brittany McDermott went 10-6 at USF.

On the track, senior Latoya Green (Miramar, Fla./McArthur HS) aims for another impressive effort in the 100m, an event in which she broke the school record at UCF Invitational. Junior Sadé Nero (Miami, Fla./Miami Northwestern HS) also runs the event.

Freshman Stephanie Knapp (Englewood, Fla./Lemon Bay HS) races the 800m after going 2:15.27 at USF, while sophomores Shantile Blackburn, Kelly McNeill and freshman Carley Dart, compete in the 1500m. The trio owns the team's top three times in the event.

The Golden Knights are slated to run five different relays between Friday and Saturday. In addition to having athletes participate in the shot put and triple jump in the final day of competition, freshman and all-conference honoree Katorie Stinney (Rockledge HS) makes her outdoor debut in the high jump.

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