Track and Field Announces Six Signees for 2008-09

June 4, 2008

ORLANDO, Fla. (www.ucfathletics.com) - UCF head track and field coach Caryl Smith Gilbert has signed six standout athletes to National Letters of Intent to join the Knights for the 2008-09 season, she announced Wednesday. The impressive class includes multi-time high school state champions, a national high school record holder, a multi-time NJCAA national champion and numerous All-Americans.

"This is the beginning of a great 2008-09 recruiting class of Knights," Smith Gilbert said. "I am looking forward to these ladies joining our team and being a part of the winning tradition that we are building at UCF. I always stress with each of our athletes that graduation is the priority. The lessons of track and field teach you how to become well-rounded and self-sufficient individuals."

UCF Track and Field Signees

  • Jacquelyn Coward - Sprinter/Hurdler - Knoxville, Tenn. (West HS)
  • Aisha-Maree Frazier - Sprinter/Hurdler - Marietta, Ga. (Marietta HS)
  • Kelsey Poljansek - Thrower - Arkansas City, Kansas (Cowley College)
  • Kathia Skinner - Mid-Distance - Tampa, Fla. (Wharton HS)
  • Katrina Skinner - Mid-Distance - Tampa, Fla. (Wharton HS)
  • Zakeya Stinson - Thrower - Miami, Fla. (Southridge HS)

Jacquelyn Coward is a 12-time state champion sprinter/hurdler from West High School in Knoxville, Tenn. Her best time in the 100-meter hurdles this season (13.26) ranks No. 1 in the nation according to Track and Field News rankings released May 22. According to those same rankings, she ranks second in the nation in the 300-meter hurdles (41.26) and third in the 400-meter hurdles (60.76).

She wrapped up her prep career with three victories at the 2008 Tennessee State High School Athletics Association Championships. She won the 100-meter hurdles (13.48), the 300-meter hurdles (41.11) and anchored the team's championship 4x400-meter relay (3:51.12) with a 55.23 split.

The victory in the 4x400 relay clinched the Tennessee Class AAA state championship for her team. Coward's time in the 300-meter hurdles broke her own state meet record in that event. She finished second in the 100-meter dash at the state championships.

Coward holds the national high school indoor record in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.16. She is a member of the 2006 and 2007 USA Today All-America team, won the bronze medal in the 2007 Junior Pan-Am Games in Sau Paulo, Brazil and the 2007 Nike Outdoor National Champion in the 100-meter hurdles.

In her junior season, Coward claimed the Class AAA individual state championship in the 100-meter dash (11.98), the 200-meter dash (24.16) and the 400-meter dash (54.97).

Coward was named the USA Track and Field Athlete of the Week on January 9, 2007 after winning the women's 55-meter hurdles at the 28th Ed Temple Classic in Nashville, Tenn. As a sophomore, she accomplished that feat in 7.67 seconds, the fastest time by a high school athlete since 1993.

Aisha-Maree Frazier is a hurdler, sprinter and mid-distance runner from Marietta High School in Marietta, Ga. Frazier won the 800-meter dash (2:11.75) at the 2007 USATF Youth Nationals. Her personal best in that event is 2:10.68.

At the 2008 Georgia State High School Association meet, Frazier finished fourth in the 400-meter dash in a time of 56.67. She also ran the third leg of her school's 4x400-meter relay team that notched a time of 3:56.92.

Frazier spent the 2007 season at Summerville High School at Summerville, Ga., where she helped her team win the South Carolina Class AAAA state championship. She ran a leg of her school's state-record setting 4x800-meter relay, running a split of 2:11 during that race. She also won the 400-meter hurdles in a time of 1:01.75, despite it being just her first year competing in the hurdles. She also finished third in the 800-meter run at that event. Frazier participated in the 2007 Nike Outdoor nationals, finishing second in her heat in the 400-meter hurdles.

Kelsey Poljansek is a transfer thrower from Cowley College in Arkansas City, Kansas. Poljansek is a two-time NJCAA national champion in the outdoor shot put (46-8/14.22m). In 2008, she also finished as the national runner-up in the discus (157-3/47.92m) and hammer throw (154-4/47.04m), just missing the national championship in the discus by two centimeters. She earned NJCAA All-America honors in each of those three events. Her mark in the discus broke Cowley's school record.

Poljansek is a two-time recipient of the NJCAA Female Field Event Athlete of the Meet and helped lead her team to an eighth-place finish at the 2008 national championships. She was the Jayhawk Conference Champion in the shot put, discus and hammer throw, and also the NJCAA Region VI Champion in the discus (141-11/43.25m) and hammer throw (156-10/47.80m).

As a freshman, Poljansek claimed the NJCAA outdoor national championship in the shot put and discus. She tied the NJCAA meet record in the shot put with a toss of 48-4/14.73m.

Mid-distance runners Kathia and Katrina Skinner join the Knights from Wharton High School in Tampa. The duo will compete in the 800-meter run, the 1,500-meter run and cross country for UCF. Katrina's accomplishments include six medals from the FHSAA Class 3A state track and field finals, a top-15 performance in the 2006 state cross country meet and a top-50 showing at the 2007 Foot Locker regional cross country championships. She posted the area's top 5K time in that meet of 18:34.

Katrina was the 2007 Hillsborough County cross country champion by nearly a minute over her next competitor, she also won the district and was the regional runner-up. Both Kathia and Katrina were named to the Tampa Tribune Girls' Cross Country First Team in 2007, while Katrina was named the St. Petersburg Times 2007 Cross Country Runner of the Year. Katrina posted the state's top time (2:16.18) in the 800-meter run in 2008, while Kathia finished second at the 2007 FHSAA state meet in the 1,600-meter run.

Zakeya Stinson is a thrower from Southridge High School in Miami, Fla., who is a four time Florida High School Activities Association Class 4A State Champion in the shot put and currently ranks sixth nationally in the high school rankings in the shot put (49-7.50/15.12m). She won the discus at the 2008 meet, with a personal-best toss of 140-2/42.72m, while also winning the shot put with a throw of 48-1/14.65m. She won the regionals in the shot put with a throw of 46-10.25 and placed second in the region in the discus (130-4). Stinson finished first in the shot put at the Bob Hayes Invitational in Jacksonville on March 15 with a personal-best toss of 49-7.50/15.12m. She helped lead her team to the 2008 FHSAA Class 4A State Championship.

Stinson won the shot put at the 2007 state championship with a throw of 49-0.50/14.94m and won the discus with a throw of 124-11/38.07m. She also claimed the 2006 championship in the shot put with a toss of 43-7.50/13.29m. Her sophomore season, she finished second in the discus (130-7/39.80m) at the state meet behind current Knight Jessica Francis. Her freshman year, Stinson's winning throw was 41-0.50/12.50m.

Stinson is tied for the Dade County all-time record with six individual state championships and was named the 2008 Miami Herald All-Dade County Outstanding Female Senior Award.

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