Harris Advances as UCF Begins Actions at NCAA Track & Field Championships

June 10, 2009

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Championship Central

ORLANDO, Fla. (www.ucfathletics.com) - Sophomore Lizzie Harris (Miami, Fla.) started the action for the UCF track and field team Wednesday evening at the 2009 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships, advancing to the finals in the high jump with a strong effort in the preliminaries.

Head coach Caryl Smith Gilbert's squad will have a school-record five athletes competing throughout the four-day NCAA Championships, which began on Wednesday and will run through Saturday. The national meet is being hosted by Arkansas and being held at McDonnell Field in Fayetteville, Ark.

The high jump field began with 25 athletes and was dwindled down to 15 with Wednesday's action. Harris, who earned an at-large bid to nationals and is seeded 14th, missed on her opening attempt before clearing three heights perfectly to advance to the high jump finals on Friday. She cleared 5-9.75/1.77m on her final jump of the day.

Harris won the Conference USA Outdoor Championship in the high jump with a top mark of 5-11.25/1.81m, a jump that tied the school record in the event.

With the top-10 American-born athletes earning All-American status, Harris, along with teammate Tiki James (Miami, Fla.), has the opportunity to become the first UCF athletes named All-Americans in both the indoor and outdoor seasons.

Harris is joined at the NCAA Championships by senior Dione Thomas (Jacksonville, Fla.) in the triple jump, juniors LaKendra Thames (Winter Garden, Fla.) and Kelsey Poljansek (Milton, Kan.) in the discus and James in the 100-meter hurdles.

Poljansek and Thames will be in action on Thursday morning at 11:30 a.m. with the prelims of the discus. James, who ranks sixth nationally in the 100-meter hurdles, will run in the prelims Thursday evening at 6:30 p.m. with the goal of advancing to Friday's semifinals.

Prior to this season, the program had just one representative at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, LesSundra Ford (high jump) in 2004.

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