C-USA Track & Field Championships Preview: Running Events

May 12, 2009

Conference USA Entry List

ORLANDO, Fla. (www.ucfathletics.com) - The UCF track and field program begins postseason action this week as the Conference USA Track & Field Championships get underway on Thursday in Tulsa, Okla. The three-day event, which is hosted by the University of Tulsa, runs through Saturday.

In 2008, the Knights finished in third place at the outdoor championships with 84.33 points. Rice, the two-time defending champion of the event, took first place with 176 points while UTEP was second with 143.50 points.

This season at the C-USA Track & Field Indoor Championships, UCF finished in third place, the program's highest finish since joining the league. Rice won the event while Houston claimed second place. Freshman Sheila Paul (Lauderdale Lakes, Fla.) and senior Dione Thomas (Jacksonville, Fla.) each won individual event championships, winning the 60-meter dash and triple jump respectively.

Below is a preview of each of the running events the Knights will compete in at the C-USA Championships. Look for a preview of the field events on UCFAthletics.com on Wednesday.

100-meter dash - Prelims: Friday, 8:15 p.m.; Finals: Saturday, 7:30 p.m.
Paul and Thomas are slated to compete for UCF in the 100-meter dash preliminaries on Friday evening. Having a sensational freshman campaign, Paul now holds the UCF school and freshman records in the event. Seeded seventh in the event, Paul has crossed the line in a season-best 11.65 seconds on two occasions, including this past weekend in the UCF Twilight. Thomas, the previous school record holder, is seeded tenth in the event with a season-best time of 11.85.

100-meter hurdles - Prelims: Friday, 7:15 p.m.; Finals - Saturday, 6:50 p.m.
Four UCF athletes enter the 100-meter prelims seeded second through fifth behind Houston's Seun Adigun. NCAA indoor All-American, junior Tiki James, (Miami, Fla.) is the second seed behind Adigun. She holds the school record in the event with a time of 13.20 seconds. Freshman Jackie Coward (Knoxville, Tenn.) holds the UCF freshman record with a top time of 13.51. Harris and Wimberly are the fourth and fifth seeds with times of 13.76 and 13.88 seconds respectively. All four runners have posted NCAA regional qualifying times this season.

200-meter dash - Prelims: Friday, 9:45 p.m.; Finals: Saturday, 8:30 p.m.
Paul will be joined by sophomore Micaela Wimberly (Miami, Fla.) as UCF's participants in the 200-meter dash. The school and freshman record holder, Paul is seeded ninth with a season-best time of 23.95. Wimberly, who ran a season-best 24.91 on March 28, enters as the 15 seed.

400-meter hurdles - Prelims: Friday, 9:15 p.m.; Saturday, 8:10 p.m.
Harris enters the 400-meter hurdles as the top seed by nearly a second with a time of 58.92. Coward has also broke the one-minute mark this season and is the third seed (59.88). Fellow freshman Aisha-Maree Frazier (Marietta, Ga.) gives the Knights three of the top five spots as the fifth seed (1:00.46) while senior Natalie Braddock (Callahan, Fla.) will try to fight into the finals as the tenth seed (1:02.54).

800-meter run - Prelims: Friday, 8:45 p.m.; Finals - Saturday, 7:50 p.m.
Senior Shantile Blackburn (Brooklyn, N.Y.) heads to the C-USA Championships as the top seed in the 800-meter run. Blackburn broke her own school record at the Miami Elite Invitational on April 11 with a time of 2:06.94. She has won the 800-meter run in each of the three times she has run it in 2009. Junior Carley Dart (Whitby, Ontario), who ran a personal-best 2:12.86 this past weekend, is seeded ninth.

3,000-meter steeplechase - Friday, 9:20 p.m.
Juniors Jamie Rzepecki (East Aurora, N.Y.) and Erica Weitz (Morganville, N.J.) will compete in the 3,000-meter steeplechase as the fifth and seventh seeds respectively. Rzepecki has a season-best time of 11:10.29 and Weitz ran a personal-best 11:31.68 this season.

5,000-meter run - Saturday, 9:05 p.m.
Rzepecki and Weitz will join sophomore Ocean Cohen (Sarasota, Fla.) in the 5,000-meter run. Cohen is the 24th seed while Rzepecki and Weitz were 26th and 27th.

10,000-meter run - Thursday, 10 p.m.
Cohen is the lone Knight competing in the 10,000-meter run, and the sophomore enters as the fifth seed out of 15 competitors with a season-best time of 37:37.08.

4x100-meter relay - Saturday, 6:10 p.m.
UCF enters the 4x100-meter relay as the third seed behind Houston and UTEP. The team of James, Harris, Thomas and Paul ran the event in a school-record 45.22 seconds on March 21 at the Black & Gold Challenge.

4x400-meter relay - Saturday, 9:40 p.m.
In the final event of the championships on Saturday night, UCF will be seeded seventh in the 4x400-meter relay. The Knights' relay team of Blackburn, Coward, Paul and Harris ran the event in 3:45.79 at the Florida Relays on April 4.

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.