Knights Open Track & Field Meets with Success

April 24, 2009

ORLANDO, Fla. (www.ucfathletics.com) - Spread across on both sides of the country, the UCF track and field had an impressive day Thursday. At the Penn Relays Carnival in Philadelphia, the 4x100-meter relay team qualifying for the finals highlighted a light day of action for the Knights. Three time zones away in Chula Vista, Calif., junior Kelsey Poljansek (Milton, Kan.) set a personal best and broke her own school record in the discus at the Pumping Iron Discus Classic.

At the 115th Penn Relays at historic Franklin Field, the 4x100-meter relay had a historic day, qualifying for the first final at the event in school history by finishing 15th with a time of 46.37. The team, consisting of Tiki James (Miami, Fla.), Micaela Wimberly (Miami, Fla.), Dione Thomas (Jacksonville, Fla.) and Sheila Paul (Lauderdale Lakes, Fla.), will compete in the college final on Friday at 1:15 p.m.

"We had a good showing today at both events," said head coach Caryl Smith Gilbert. "At the Penn Relays, the 4x100-meter relay team made the first final in school history, which is impressive at such an elite event. It was cold and windy, but we were fortunate to not have rain and our athletes performed well considering the difficult conditions. We do not have as many bodies as a lot of teams here so we are competing in fewer events, but we are making it work with less and are looking forward to a busy but exciting day on Friday."

The Penn Relays, with over 1,300 high schools, collegiate and professional teams competing, kicked off Thursday morning with the 400-meter hurdles. Freshman Jackie Coward (Knoxville, Tenn.) posted an NCAA qualifying mark and finished seventh with a time of 1:00.42 for UCF.

Thomas placed 14th in the long jump championship division with a top jump of 18-1/5.51m while freshman Jacqueline Gilchrist (Tallahassee, Fla.) performed well in the long jump college division, finishing 15th with a wind-aided mark of 18-9.25/5.72m.

Junior Jamie Rzepecki (East Aurora, N.Y.) posted a top-10 finish in the collegiate division of the 3,000-meter steeplechase, placing eighth with a time of 11:12.39. In the last event for a UCF athlete Thursday, over 12 hours after the 400-meter hurdles, Ocean Cohen (Sarasota, Fla.) placed 21st in the 10,000-meter run, cutting nearly three minutes off her previous time with a finish of 37:37.08.

At the Pumping Iron Discus Classic, Poljansek stole the show for UCF, becoming the first Knight in school history to throw past 170 feet in the discus. The junior fired a top toss of 170-2/51.86m for a school record, personal best and NCAA qualifying mark. "Kelsey has done a great job of showing consistency and improving each week," said Smith Gilbert. "The day was a strong start for our throwers and we look for good things from them at the meet Friday and Saturday at UC San Diego."

Friday's action at the Penn Relays will include four UCF relay teams, preliminary heats in the 100-meter dash and the 100-meter hurdles and the championship divisions of the high and triple jumps. The Knights throwers will be back in action in California, beginning the UC San Diego Invitational.

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.

Penn Relays - Day One
April 23, 2009
Long Jump Championship
14. Dione Thomas, 18-1/5.51m

Long Jump College
15. Jacqueline Gilchrist, 18-9.25/5.72w

15. 46.37 (Tiki James, Micaela Wimberly, Dione Thomas, Sheila Paul)

8. Jackie Coward, 1:00.42 (N) 15. Lizzie Harris, 1:01.55 55. Jacquelyn Gilchrist, 1:06.27

3000m steeplechase college
8. Jamie Rzepecki, 11:12.39 14. Erica Weitz, 12:30.89

21. Ocean Cohen, 37:37.08

Pumping Iron Discus Classic
April 23, 2009
Kelsey Poljansek, 170-2/51.86m

N - NCAA regional qualifying mark
SR - school record