UCF Sets Five Regional Qualifying Marks; Breaks Two School Records at UCF Invitational


May 10, 2008

ORLANDO, Fla. (www.ucfathletics.com) - The UCF track and field team set five NCAA regional-qualifying marks/times and broke two school records on Saturday at the UCF Invitational, the first home event for head coach Caryl Smith Gilbert and her team at the UCF Track and Field Complex.

The Knights now have accumulated 10 NCAA regional-qualifying marks/times this outdoor campaign, which gives the 2008 edition of UCF the most NCAA regional qualifiers in school history. That eclipses the previous season-best of eight regional-qualifiers that the Knights had both in 2004 and 2005. The NCAA East Regional takes place May 30-31 in Tallahassee, Fla.

UCF also broke school records in the 4x100-meter relay and the 400-meter hurdles on a steamy day in Orlando that saw temperatures reach as high as 94 degrees. The Knights have now set 22 school records this season (indoor and outdoor), including breaking many of those records multiple times over. In the outdoor season alone, UCF has broken 10 school records this year.

"Our first home meet at UCF was very successful," Smith Gilbert said. "We had some great performances, the track ran very fast and we had good weather. We had five regional-qualifying marks and, under the conditions, they were great times. Our facilities people did a great job of preparing the facility and our coaches and volunteers did a good job of running the meet. Everyone who visited the meet today had a great time and said that it ran smoothly. We plan to have three meets at home next season."

The UCF Invitational marked the final event before the Knights head to El Paso, Texas, on Wednesday for the Conference USA Championships, a three-day meet hosted by UTEP that begins on Thursday.

"This was a good way to go into the conference meet," Smith Gilbert said. "We leave Wednesday for El Paso and I thought this was a good tune-up for our team, breaking school records, qualifying for regionals and setting PRs."

The 4x100-meter relay team broke its own school record set at the Penn Relays by running a time of 45.47, which was a regional-qualifying time. The squad, consisting of Micaela Wimberly (Miami, Fla.), Lizzie Harris (Miami, Fla.), Dione Thomas (Jacksonville, Fla.) and Feyisara Adaramola (Bronx, N.Y.), shattered its previous best of 46.28, accomplished two weeks ago in Philadelphia. The record-setting time also punched the relay team's ticket to the NCAA East Regional.

Harris, competing in the 400-meter hurdles for the first time this season, broke the school record and qualified for regionals with a time of 59.80. That personal-record broke Kellie Marzetta's previous school record of 59.24 set in the 2001 campaign. Harris joins senior Victoria Chin (Orlando, Fla.), who has already qualified for regionals in the 400-meter hurdles.

Harris, who in March became UCF's first NCAA Indoor National qualifier and the school's first NCAA Indoor All-American in the high jump, qualified for the outdoor regionals in that event with a leap of 5-8.75/1.75m.

Other Knights who notched NCAA regional-qualifying marks on Saturday included LaKendra Thames (Winter Garden, Fla.) in the shot put, and Thomas in the triple jump.

One of the highlights of the meet was the participation of several nationally and internationally renowned athletes. UCF staff assistant Alexis Joyce, who competes professionally and is successful on an international level in her own right, ran a valiant race in the 100-meter dash with Veronica Campbell-Brown who was the 2004 Olympic Gold Medalist in the 200-meter dash. Campbell-Brown finished first in the 100 with a time of 11.02 (a new UCF stadium record), followed by Joyce's time of 11.21 (+0.9). Both times shattered the previous stadium record time of 11.52 in that event, set by Monique Tubbs of Jacksonville at the UCF Twilight in 2003.

Senior Karen Kozub (Alden, N.Y.) won the 1,500-meter run with a personal-best time of 4:35.71. That shattered her previous best time of 4:37.78 set on April 18 at the Vanderbilt Invitational in Nashville, Tenn. Junior Shantile Blackburn (Brooklyn, N.Y.) was the other Knight who placed first in an event on Saturday, claiming the 800-meter run in a time of 2:11.46. Senior Kristen Zieminski (Sarasota, Fla.) finished third in the 800, setting a new personal-record time of 2:13.28, which broke her previous top time of 2:13.76 set at the Vanderbilt Invitational.

Junior Brittney McDermott (Oviedo, Fla.) tied her personal-best mark in the pole vault with a leap of 10-6/3.20m to finish third in the event. Freshmen Vanessa Ziccardi (Boca Raton, Fla.) and Jackie Potter (Palm Bay, Fla.) competed in the pole vault for the first time this outdoor season.

Junior Sheree Carter (Tallahassee, Fla.) showed her versatility on Saturday, competing in the long jump, shot put, javelin and 100-meter hurdles. She was the first UCF athlete this season to throw a javelin in a meet and improved her personal-best time in the 100-meter hurdles by finishing in 14.21 (+1.5).

Adaramola competed in the 400-meter dash for the first time this season, finishing in a time of 55.71, which was less than a second shy of the regional-qualifying standard.

"Fey ran a good race in the 400 today," Smith Gilbert said. "It was her first time this season running that event. We are trying to figure out what the best events are for her to run at conference, as we are with all of our athletes."

UCF returns to action May 15-17, when it travels to El Paso, Texas, to compete in the Conference USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. Complete coverage of UCF's participation in that event will be available at www.ucfathletics.com.

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