James and Coward Move to Saturday's Finals at NCAA Indoor Championships

March 13, 2009

COLLEGE STATION, Texas (www.ucfathletics.com) - On day one of the NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships at the Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium on the campus of Texas A&M University, UCF junior Tiki James (Miami, Fla.) and freshman Jackie Coward (Knoxville, Tenn.) advanced to the finals of the 60-meter hurdles with strong performances in the prelims.

Two of the school-record and Conference USA best three UCF athletes to be in competition at the NCAA Championships, James and Coward both ran the 60-meter hurdles in 8.27 seconds to place among the top-eight competitors and earn spots in Saturday's finals. Senior Dione Thomas (Jacksonville, Fla.) will also be competing on Saturday in the triple jump.

In the opening heat of the day, Coward took first place and became an automatic qualifier for the finals with an 8.262. Coward's UCF freshman record and best time of the season (8.19) was the 11th-best in the nation this season entering the meet.

In the second of three heats, James finished in third place, but her time of 8.268 earned her a spot in the finals as a timed qualifier. The 60-meter hurdles are set for 5:20 p.m. Eastern on Saturday.

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 Saturday. 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.

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.