UCF Invitational Preview: Sprints and Hurdles

May 6, 2008

Editor's Note: This is the first in a four-part daily series previewing the 2008 UCF track and field squad leading up to the 2008 UCF Invitational to be contested on Saturday, May 10, at the UCF Track and Field Complex.

By: Sean Cartell, UCF Athletics Communications

ORLANDO, Fla.(www.ucfathletics.com) - The 2008 track and field season has been a record-setting one for the UCF Knights under the direction of first-year head coach Caryl Smith Gilbert. A large part of that success has come from UCF's sprinters and hurdlers, who have consistently set and broken school records, and notched NCAA regional-qualifying marks.

Of the nine outdoor school records that the Knights have set this season, five of those times/marks have come from the team's sprinters. UCF's last outing at the Penn Relays was one of its finest for the sprint corps, as members of that event area teamed up to break school records in the 4x100-meter relay, the 4x200-meter relay and the sprint medley relay.

Senior Victoria Chin, an Orlando native, has set herself up to finish her collegiate career on an extremely strong note. Chin has qualified for the NCAA East Regional in the 100 and 400-meter hurdles and is also a member of the school's record-setting 4x400-meter relay.

"It is great as a senior to go out in style," Smith Gilbert said. "Victoria is really setting herself up to do that this season."

Junior Dione Thomas, who is a two-time UCF Track and Field Athlete of the Week, became the first track and field athlete in school history to earn a Conference USA Track and Field Female Athlete of the Week honor last Monday after her strong performance at the Penn Relays. Thomas ran legs of the school-record-setting 4x100 (46.28), and 4x200 (1:36.34) relay teams and also established a new school record of 42-4.25/12.91m in the women's triple jump.

Thomas set UCF's school-record in the 100-meter dash with a time of 11.83 (+1.6) at the Pepsi Florida Relays in early April. Thomas has shown her versatility by excelling in the sprints, relays and jumps.

"Dione has been doing a great job training hard and humbling herself to become a well-rounded young woman," Smith Gilbert said. "As far as her athletic, academic and personal life is concerned, she has worked incredibly hard on the track and in the classroom each week. She is one of several athletes on our team who is capable of earning a Conference USA Athlete of the Week honor."

Sophomore Shantile Blackburn is an athlete who is part of the sprint corps but also can be considered more of a middle-distance competitor. She holds UCF's school record in the 800-meter run and has also excelled in the 400-meter dash.

Freshman Micaela Wimberly, who did not join the team until just before the start of the indoor season, has shined in her inaugural season, setting a PR in the 100-meter hurdles at the Miami Elite Invitational and also has competed in the 200-meter dash. Fellow rookie Lizzie Harris, who became UCF's first-ever NCAA Indoor participant in the high jump during the indoor season, also competes in the 200-meter dash and is a member of the 4x200-meter relay squad.

A breakdown of the UCF sprinters and hurdlers is below:

Who To Watch in the Sprints/Hurdles

100-Meter Dash

100-Meter Hurdles

200-Meter Dash

400-Meter Dash

400-Meter Hurdles

4x100-Meter Relay

4x200-Meter Relay

4x400-Meter Relay

Sprint Medley Relay

  • UCF - 3:57.40