C-USA Track & Field Championships Preview: Field Events

May 13, 2009

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. Thomas went on to be named the C-USA Field Athlete of the Year.

To follow the action in Tulsa, go to Conference USA's Championship Central.

Below is a preview of each of the field events the Knights will compete in at the C-USA Championships.

High Jump - Friday, 7 p.m.
Sophomore Lizzie Harris (Miami, Fla.), who won the indoor high jump in 2008, is tied with SMU's Victoria Leks for having the best mark this season in the outdoor high jump. Harris cleared 5-10.75/1.80m at the Black & Gold Challenge on March 21. Freshman Samantha Shields (Orlando, Fla.) is seeded 12th in the event, having posted a best mark of 5-3.0/1.60m.

Pole Vault - Saturday, 7 p.m.
Senior Brittney McDermott (Oviedo, Fla.) is seeded seventh entering the pole vault, having cleared a personal best 10-8.0/3.25m at the Miami Elite Invitational on April 11th.

Long Jump - Friday, 4 p.m.
Thomas, who finished second in the long jump at the C-USA Indoor Championships, enters the outdoor event as the fifth seed. Her best mark in the event was 19-11.50/6.08m and came at the UCF Invitational on March 27. Freshman Jacquelyn Gilchrist (Tallahassee, Fla.) had a personal-best 19-6.75/5.96m at the UCF Invitational and is seeded seventh.

Triple Jump - Saturday, 7:30 p.m.
The defending champion in the C-USA indoor triple jump, Thomas heads into the outdoor event as the fourth seed. Thomas had a season-best jump of 41-4.25/12.60m last Sunday at the UCF Twilight.

Shot Put - Saturday, 7 p.m.
The school record holder in the event, junior Kelsey Poljansek (Milton, Kan.) heads to her first C-USA Outdoor Championships as the third seed in the shot put. Poljansek had a season-best toss of 49-3.75/15.03m at the Florida Relays. After an impressive UCF Twilight, junior LaKendra Thames (Winter Garden, Fla.) is seeded eighth (45-9.75m/13.96m). Junior Jessica Francis (Orlando, Fla.) is seeded 15th (42-9.0/13.03m) and rounds out the UCF participants in the shot put.

Discus - Friday, 2:45 p.m.
The same three UCF throwers will also compete in the discus. Seeded second, Poljansek became the first UCF athlete to surpass 170 feet in the event with a throw of 170-2/51.86m at the Iron Discus Classic on April 23. Thames, who won the discus at the UCF Twilight, is seeded fourth (161-10/49.34m) while Francis is seeded 13th (150-9/45.96m).

Hammer Throw - Thursday, 1:30 p.m.
In winning the event, Thames also improved her top mark in the hammer throw and will enter the C-USA Championships as the 10th seed (162-1/49.41m). Poljansek is also slated to compete, and her best toss of 151-7/46.20m ranks her 20th.

Two UCF athletes - senior Natalie Braddock (Callahan, Fla.) and freshman Samantha Shields (Orlando, Fla.) will participate in the heptathlon at the championships. Neither has participated in the heptathlon this season.

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.