UCF Travels Down I-4 to USF Invitational on Friday

March 8, 2007

ORLANDO, Fla. (www.ucfathletics.com) - Looking to build upon a strong outdoor season opener, the UCF women's track and field team heads down the I-4 corridor to Tampa, Fla. for the USF Invitational on Friday. The field events begin at 4 p.m. with the running events starting at 7 p.m.

The Golden Knights won eight of the 18 events and captured the top two finishes in six during their 2007 outdoor debut at the UCF Invitational on March 3. They are aiming for another impressive showing.

Kicking off the meet is the hammer throw with five athletes representing the Black & Gold. Junior Virginia Traynor (Miami, Fla./Westminster Christian HS) headlines that list as she posted personal bests and finished in the top three of the shot put, discus and hammer throw a week ago. Freshman LaKendra Thames (Winter Garden, Fla./Raines HS) and Jessica Francis (Orlando, Fla./Boone HS) join her in all three events, while junior Kendra Howell (Providence, R.I./LaSalle Academy) and freshman Ashley Kirkpatrick (Lake Mary HS) compete in the hammer throw. Junior Sade Kusimo (Winter Park, Fla./Lake Howell HS) makes her season debut in the discus.

A three-time NCAA Regional qualifier and school recordholder, senior Katie Fowke (Tampa, Fla./Riverview HS) tied for first place with a mark of 11-5.75 in the pole vault in the opener. Her personal best in the event is 12-5.50. Meanwhile, both junior Kelsey Bealert (Orlando, Fla./Oak Ridge HS) and sophomore Brittney McDermott (Oviedo HS) also compete at USF after posting marks over 10-feet at the UCF Invitational.

After earning all-conference honors and a bronze medal in the pentathlon at the Conference USA Indoor Championship, sophomore Sheree Carter (Tallahassee, Fla./Godby HS) makes her first appearance of the outdoor season, competing in the long jump, high jump and 100m hurdles. Her classmates Dione Thomas (Jacksonville, Fla./Raines HS) and Ricki Sullivan (Santa Cruz, Calif./Harbor HS) go head-to-head in the long jump, triple jump and 100m dash. The duo finished one-two in the long jump a week ago.

Junior and two-time NCAA qualifier Victoria Chin (Orlando, Fla./Oak Ridge HS) returns to the lineup after a three-meet absence. Along with sophomore Olinka Crusoe (Harlem, N.Y./Bishop Laughlin HS), she takes on the 400m and also runs a leg of the 4x400m relay. In the sprints, senior LaToya Green (Miramar, Fla./McArthur HS) looks to improve upon her recently established school record of 11.94 in the 100m and also races in the 200m. Junior Sadé Nero (Miami, Fla./Miami Northwestern HS) joins her in both events.

In addition to competing in the high jump, junior Tia Harewood (Wyandach, N.Y./Half Hollow Hills East HS) lines up for the 100m hurdles with sophomores Michelle Ranc (Weston, Fla./Archbishop McCarthy HS) and Shenevia Patterson (Yorktown, Va./Grafton HS), who also take on the 400m hurdles with classmate Natalie Braddock (Callahan, Fla./West Nassau HS).

Elsewhere on the track, freshman Stephanie Knap (Englewood, Fla./Lemon Bay HS) adds her name to the lineup for both the 4x400m relay and the 800m. Last weekend, she won the 400m with a personal best time of 57.51. After posting the team's fastest times in both the 800m and 1500m a year ago and winning the 800m at the UCF Invitational last week, sophomore Shantile Blackburn (Brooklyn, N.Y./Bishop Laughlin HS) races with junior Kristen Zieminski (Sarasota, Fla./Riverview HS) and freshman Carley Dart (Whitby, Ontario/Father Leo J. Austin HS) in the 1500m.

UCF is also well-represented in the 3,000m. Last weekend, junior Elizabeth Miller (Orlando, Fla./Timber Creek HS) set a new personal best in the 2,000m steeplechase, while freshman Jamie Rzepecki (East Aurora, N.Y./East Aurora HS) won the 3,000m in a time of 10:35.42. Junior Allison Palmer (Oviedo HS), sophomore Mary Schaefer (Tampa, Fla./Plant HS) and freshman Erica Weitz (Morganville, N.J./Marlboro HS) also run the event.

The men's cross country team begins its non-traditional season of competition this weekend at USF. Junior and 2006 all-conference honoree Dustin Hicks (Oviedo HS) leads a group of seven Golden Knights in the 3,000m.

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