Thomas, James and Coward Set for NCAA Indoor Championships

March 12, 2009

ORLANDO, Fla. (www.ucfathletics.com) - Three UCF athletes - senior Dione Thomas (Jacksonville, Fla.), junior Tiki James (Miami, Fla.) and freshman Jackie Coward (Knoxville, Tenn.) - will all be competing in the NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships this weekend. Hosted by Texas A&M University, the event will be held at the Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium at the McFerrin Athletic Center on both Friday and Saturday.

On Friday, both James and Coward will be in action as both run in the 60-meter hurdles preliminaries beginning at 5:30 p.m. Eastern. James is the school record-holder in the event after posting a time of 8.17 last Saturday at the Virginia Tech Last Chance Meet. The time is the ninth best in the nation this season.

Coward's best time of 8.19 was set at the Conference USA Championships on Feb. 27. The C-USA indoor meet record is the 11th-best time in the country in 2009. Both Coward and James will be vying for a spot in Saturday's finals at 6:30 p.m. Eastern.

Thomas looks towards Saturday when she will compete in the triple jump trials and finals at 4:30 p.m. Eastern. After shattering her own school record in the triple jump at the Virginia Tech Last Chance Meet, Thomas will enter the NCAA Championships with the seventh-highest mark in the country this season. She jumped 43-7.0/13.28m, well over a foot more than the previous school record she set in 2008.

ESPN360.com will stream the meet live on both days. ESPN2, meanwhile, will air a 90-minute show on the championships on Monday, March 23, at 2:30 p.m. Eastern. Fans can also access live stats of the championships via NCAA.com or AggieAthletics.com.

With three participants on the women's side, UCF will be better represented than any other Conference USA school. The three athletes also mark the first time the program has sent multiple athletes to the NCAA Indoor Championships. Current sophomore Lizzie Harris (Miami, Fla.) was the first Knight to earn a place in the meet a season ago when she qualified in the high jump.

For the latest news on the Knights, log on to www.UCFAthletics.com - the official site for UCF varsity sports. The site, which also contains ticket and Golden Knights Club donor information, is also the home of UCF's new online apparel store. Also visit www.UCFPhotos.com, the exclusive fan source for UCF action sports pictures.