UCF Track & Field Fourth After Day Two at C-USA Championships

May 15, 2009

TULSA, Okla. (www.ucfathletics.com) - Led by an individual event championship by sophomore Lizzie Harris (Miami, Fla.) in the high jump, the UCF track & field team posted five NCAA regional qualifying marks and is in fourth place after day two of the Conference USA Outdoor Championships in Tulsa, Okla. UCF also had 10 athletes advance to Saturday's finals with strong performances in preliminary running events.

UCF has 30 points in the events after two days, 11 behind current leader SMU. Rice took the top three spots in the last event of the day, the 3,000-meter steeplechase, to vault into second with 40 points. UAB is in third with 34 points while East Carolina rounds out the top five behind UCF with 28.50 points.

In the high jump, Harris and SMU's Viktoria Leks both cleared 1.78 meters and were the only two athletes left to attempt to clear 1.81m. Harris, who entered with a top mark this season of 5-10.75/1.80m, cleared the mark on her second attempt while Leks missed in each of her three tries as Harris claimed the title.

The individual championship, which earned 10 points for the Knights, is the second all-time for a UCF athlete at the C-USA Outdoor Championships, with Sheree Carter's pentathlon win in 2008 being the first. The top mark by Harris in the high jump also tied the school record set in 2005 by Ann Louise Larsen.

With the best jump of her career, senior Dione Thomas (Jacksonville, Fla.) claimed fourth place in the long jump to earn five points for the Knights. Her jump of 20-7.25/6.28m would have been a school record if not for a wind reading of 5.5 meters per second.

In the discus, juniors LaKendra Thames (Winter Garden, Fla.) and Kelsey Poljansek (Milton, Kan.) finished fifth and sixth respectively to earn a combined seven points for UCF. Thames' top mark of 157-4/47.95m was also an NCAA regional qualifying mark.

Senior Natalie Braddock (Callahan, Fla.) used strong performances Friday in the long jump and 800-meter run to finish fifth in the heptathlon and gain four points. Juniors Jamie Rzepecki (East Aurora, N.Y.) and Erica Weitz (Morganville, N.J.) finished sixth and eighth respectively in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, gaining the final four points of the day for the Knights.

UCF competed in five preliminary events on Friday and claimed 10 different spots in Saturday finals. In the 100-meter hurdles, Knights took four of the eight positions in the final as junior Tiki James (Miami, Fla.), sophomore Micaela Wimberly (Miami, Fla.), freshman Jackie Coward (Knoxville, Tenn.) and Harris advanced. James (13.22), Wimberly (13.53) and Coward (13.53) ran qualified second, third and fourth while Harris (13.64) had the sixth-best time.

Coward and Harris also qualified along with freshman Aisha-Maree Frazier (Marietta, Ga.) in the 400-meter hurdles. Coward (1:00.35) and Harris (1:00.37) both posted regional qualifying times.

Freshman Sheila Paul (Lauderdale Lakes, Fla.) qualified for the finals in both the 100- and 200-meter dashes. In the 100-meter dash, Paul broke her own school and freshman records with a time of 11.60 seconds, good for fourth. She qualified sixth in the 200-meter dash, crossing the line in 24.07.

Senior Shantile Blackburn (Brooklyn, N.Y.) rounds out the qualifiers from Friday's prelims as she had the second-best time in the 800-meter dash (2:10.34).

An action-packed day three gets underway Saturday with field events at noon and running events at 5 p.m. To follow live results and for more information about the C-USA Championships, go to Conference USA's Championship Central.

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.

Conference USA Outdoor Chmpionships - Day Two
May 15, 2009

High Jump
1. Lizzie Harris, 5-11.25/1.81m (SR, N) (10 points earned)
T10. Samantha Shields, 5-1.0/1.55m

Long Jump
4. Dione Thomas, 20-7.25/6.28m (+5.5) w (5)
9. Jacqueline Gilchrist, 19-6.25/5.95 (+3.5) w

5. LaKendra Thames, 157-4/47.95m (4) (N)
6. Kelsey Poljansek, 153-2/46.68m (3)

5. Natalie Braddock, 4486 points (4)

100m prelims
4. Sheila Paul, 11.60 (+1.9) (SR, FR, N, Q)
13. Dione Thomas, 11.98 (+1.8)

100mH prelims
2. Tiki James, 13.22 (+6.7)w (Q)
3. Micaela Wimberly, 13.53 (+4.7)w (Q)
4. Jackie Coward, 13.54 (+4.7)w (Q)
6. Lizzie Harris, 13.64 (+6.7)w (Q)

200m prelims
6. Sheila Paul, 24.07 (-0.2) (Q)

400mH prelims
2. Jackie Coward, 1:00.35 (N, Q)
3. Lizzie Harris, 1:00.37 (N, Q)
7. Aisha-Maree Frazier, 1:01.96 (Q)
15. Natalie Braddock, 1:04.83

800m prelims
2. Shantile Blackburn, 2:10.34 (Q)
17. Carley Dart, 2:17.92

3000m steeplechase
1. Jamie Rzepecki, 11:20.68
2. Erica Weitz, 11:41.57

N - NCAA regional qualifying mark
SR - school record
FR - freshman record
Q - qualified for finals