UCF Track and Field Fares Well in Two Meets on Friday

Feb. 14, 2009

ORLANDO, Fla. (www.ucfathletics.com) - Competing against high-level fields in two locales, the UCF track and field team fared well Friday. On day one of the Tyson Indoor Invitational in Fayetteville, Arl., junior Tiki James and freshman Jackie Coward advanced to the finals of the 60-meter hurdles with NCAA provisional qualifying times. At the UNC Invitational in Chapel Hill, N.C., Kelsey Poljansek claimed the title in the shot put.

"Overall we had a so-so day [at Arkansas] as far as performances are concerned," said head coach Caryl Smith Gilbert. "However, we had a great day when it comes to lessons learned and lining up against some of the best competition in the United States. I feel that this meet is serving its purpose in getting us ready for the C-USA Championships in two weeks."

Tyson Invitational
In the 60-meter hurdles, school-record holders James and Coward both advanced to Saturday's finals with strong performances. James finished in third place (8.29), just four one-hundredths off of her school record while Coward qualified in seventh position (8.37). Both marks were again under the NCAA provisional qualifying marks.

Freshman Sheila Paul just missed her own school record in the 60-meter dash, crossing in the consolation final in 7.51 seconds, just two-hundredths of a second off the record. She ran the preliminaries in 7.57 seconds. Senior Dione Thomas and Coward finished 20th and 34th in the same event.

Senior Shantile Blackburn finished 12th against an impressive field in the Olympic development section of the 800-meter run. Freshman Aisha-Maree Frazier finished 18th in the 400-meter dash.

"We expected a better showing on such a fast track for some athletes such as Blackburn and Frazier and I know that the outcome disappointed them, but I told them that success is only possible after failure in order to learn how to achieve success, said Smith Gilbert."

With a leap of 18-11.25/5.77m on her final jump, Thomas claimed eighth place in the long jump.

UNC Invitational
At Chapel Hill, junior Kelsey Poljansek won the shot put invitational with a toss of 46-8.75/14.24m. LaKendra Thames also posted a top-five finish, claiming fourth with a throw of 42-11.75/13.10m.

"In the last meet before the conference championships the team went out and competed hard," said assistant coach John Ridgway. "The lessons learned from today should help the team as we focus in on the conference meet in two weeks."

A pair of UCF runners set new personal bests in the 3,000-meter run. Junior Jamie Rzepecki finished the event in fourth place (10:23.61) while senior Allison Palmer took seventh place (10:27.80).

UCF had four other top-five performances as freshman Kathia Skinner claimed fifth place in the 800-meter run (2:18.23), freshman Jacqueline Gilchrist took second in the long jump with a leap of 18-1.50/5.52m, Thames posted a third-place finish in the weight throw invitational (53-8.50/16.37m) and the 4x400-meter relay team finished fifth with a 4:04.65.

UCF athletes will continue competition in the Tyson Invitational on Saturday while the Knights' distance runners and throwers will be participating in the UNC Invitational in Chapel Hill, N.C.

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Tyson Invitational
Friday, Feb. 13, 2009
60mH (Prelims)
3. Tiki James, 8.29q (P)
7. Jackie Coward, 8.37q (P)

60m (Prelims)
14. Sheila Paul, 7.57q
20. Dione Thomas, 7.61
34. Jackie Coward, 7.75

60m (Consolation)
5. Sheila Paul, 7.51

18. Aisha-Maree Frazier, 56.17

800m Olympic Development
12. Shantile Blackburn, 2:11.01

Long Jump
8. Dione Thomas, 18-11.25/5.77m
- 5.66m, 5.46m, 5.67m, 5.71m, FOUL, 5.77m

UNC Invitational
5. Kathia Skinner, 2:18.23
7. Carly Dart, 2:21.44

24. Jamie Rzepecki, 5:27.14
30. Carly Dart, 5:30.79

4. Jamie Rzepecki, 10:23.61 (PR)
7. Allison Palmer, 10:27.80 (PR)

18. Jacqueline Gilchrist, 9.22
25. Natalie Braddock, 9.74

4x400-meter relay
5. UCF `A', 4:04.65

Long Jump
2. Jacqueline Gilchrist, 18-1.50/5.52m

Shot Put Invitational
1. Kelsey Poljansek, 46-8.75/14.24m
- (13.98m, 12.92m, 13.69m, 13.44m, 14.24m, 13.63m)
4. LaKendra Thames, 42-11.75/13.10m
- (ND, 12.50m, FOUL, 12.03m, 13.10m, FOUL)

Weight Throw Invitational
3. LaKendra Thames, 53-8.50/16.37m
- (16.37m, 16.32m, 15.52m, FOUL, FOUL, PASS)
7. Jessica Poljansek, 48-11.75/14.93m
- (FOUL, FOUL, ND, 14.93m, FOUL, 14.64m)
9. Jessica Francis, 47-4.25/14.43m
- (14.43m, FOUL, 14.13m, FOUL, FOUL, FOUL)

P = NCAA Provisional Qualifying Mark
q = qualified for next round
SR = school record
FR = freshman record
PR = personal record