Shuttle Hurdles Title Highlights Incredible Day for UCF Track & Field at Penn Relays

April 24, 2009

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. (www.ucfathletics.com) - With a dominating performance, the UCF shuttle hurdle relay team shattered the school record and claimed the coveted first-place trophy at the 115th running of the historic Penn Relay Carnival on Friday afternoon at Franklin Field in Philadelphia. The finish was just one highlight in an extremely successful day for the Knights' track and field program.

The Knights' shuttle hurdle team consisted of Jackie Coward (Knoxville, Tenn.), Tiki James (Miami, Fla.), Micaela Wimberly (Miami, Fla.) and Lizzie Harris (Miami, Fla.), and the team's time of 54.07 bested the previous school record by over one second. The squad was also two and a half seconds clear of second place Western Michigan.

The victory is the first for the UCF track and field program at one of the most historic and largest track and field meets in the world. This year's field was expected to include over 1,300 high school, college and professional teams and exceed over 22,000 entries.

"We had an exciting day at the Penn Relays, highlighted by a great performance by the shuttle hurdle relay team," said head coach Caryl Smith Gilbert. "The performance shows we are working are way into one of the top programs in the country because if you win any event at the Penn Relays, it is quite a feat. It was not an easy race and there was great competition, but we were able to come away with the win."

Another highlight of the day for UCF came in the preliminaries of the 100-meter hurdles, where James and Coward both qualified for Saturday's finals with season-best times. James qualified second in 13.20 (+0.6) seconds, easily besting the school record and posting an NCAA qualifying mark. Coward now holds the UCF freshman record after qualifying seventh in 13.51 seconds. The pair will compete in the finals on Saturday at 2:55 p.m.

Shattering the school record by over four seconds with a time of 3:53.16, the UCF sprint medley relay team came in fourth place in the event, finishing behind only LSU, Georgia State and Penn State. Sheila Paul (Lauderdale Lakes, Fla.) and Coward ran the first two legs of the event while Harris ran the third and senior Shantile Blackburn (Brooklyn, N.Y.) took the anchor leg.

Paul ran well in the 100-meter dash preliminaries but fell just short of making Saturday's finals. The freshman finished 12th with a time of 11.77 (-1.0).

In the finals of the college division of the 4x100-meter relay, James, Wimberly, senior Dione Thomas (Jacksonville, Fla.) and Paul finished fifth with a time of 45.95.

"Everyone performed well and the team was exciting. The goal today was to raise the level of expectation, and the team stepped up to the plate and did just that," said Smith Gilbert. "The hurdlers were impressive and should have a great performance tomorrow in the finals. The sprint medley breaking the school record by so much also proves the improvements we are making from meet-to-meet and year-to-year. I am looking forward to finishing up this meet with another successful day tomorrow."

The Knights conclude the Penn Relays tomorrow with a light day of action. Prior to the 100-meter hurdles championships at 2:55 p.m., the 4x800-meter relay team will compete at 2 p.m.

On the west coast in San Diego, the Knights' throwers are competing in the UC San Diego Invitational. Friday's results were not available at press time, but please visit UCFAthletics.com and http://www.ucsdtritons.com/fls/5800/live/track/index.htm?SPSID=93286&SPID=11064&DB_OEM_ID=5800 throughout the weekend for results.

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 Two
April 24, 2009
Triple Jump Championship of America
7. Dione Thomas, 41-1/12.52m (w)

High Jump Championship of America
3. Lizzie Harris, 5-10.5/1.79

4x100-meter College final
5. 45.95 (Tiki James, Micaela Wimberly, Dione Thomas, Sheila Paul)

Shuttle Hurdle Championship of America
1. 54.07 (Jackie Coward, Tiki James, Micaela Wimberly, Lizzie Harris) (SR)

Sprint Medley Championship of America
4. 3:53.16 (Sheila Paul, Jackie Coward, Lizzie Harris, Shantile Blackburn) (SR)

100m preliminaries
12. Sheila Paul, 11.77

100mH preliminaries
2. Tiki James, 13.20 (N, SR, Q)
7. Jackie Coward, 13.51 (N, FR)

N - NCAA regional qualifying mark
SR - school record
FR - freshman record
Q - advanced to Saturday's finals
W - wind-aided