UCF Track & Field Begins NCAA East Championships Thursday

May 25, 2010

By Andrew Gavin

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - On the heels of a historic performance to capture the 2010 Conference USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships, UCF will send a school-record 11 student-athletes to the 2010 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field East Championships, hosted by North Carolina A&T at Irwin Belk in Greensboro, N.C. this Thursday-Saturday, May 27-29.

The fields in Greensboro will consist of 48 athletes in each of the individual events and 24 teams in each of the relays. The top-12 individuals or relay teams at the end of the weekend that will earn a trip to Eugene, Ore., June 9-12 to participate in the NCAA Outdoor Championships. The 12 in each event from Greensboro and the 12 in each event from Austin, Texas, site of the West Preliminary Rounds, will vie for the national title.

The 2010 campaign marks the first season of the NCAA preliminary rounds, following seven years of the regional (four-region) format.

Of the 14 entries that UCF will have in Greensboro, including the 4x100-meter relay team, 12 set their season-best marks in helping the Knights to win the C-USA Championship from May 13-16 in Orlando.

Sophomores Jackie Coward (Knoxville, Tenn.) and Sheila Paul (Lauderdale Lakes, Fla.) and senior LaKendra Thames (Winter Garden, Fla.) will all compete in two individual events, while Paul will also run the anchor leg in the 4x100-meter relay.

Coward is the fourth seed in the 100-meter hurdles after winning the C-USA title with a time of 12.99 seconds. She is also ranked fifth nationally in the event. Coward will compete in the 400-meter hurdles alongside teammate Aisha-Maree Frazier (Marietta, Ga.), the C-USA champion in the event.

Paul meanwhile will compete in both the 100- and 200-meter dash and is seeded among the region's top-30 in the 100 after running the event in 11.53 seconds at the C-USA Championships.

Joining Coward in the 100-meter hurdles will be teammates Tiki James (Miami, Fla.) and Micaela Wimberly (Miami, Fla.). James, forced to miss most of the outdoor season due to an injury, qualified 10th in the event by running a 13.19 to take second at the C-USA Championships. Wimberly also qualified with a strong effort in the C-USA final.

Thames broke the school records in both the shot put and the discus at the C-USA Championships and will return to Greensboro for the NCAAs in both events for the second-straight season. Thames advanced to the national championships in the discus a season ago and is seeded ninth in the event this season.

Freshman Sonnisha Williams (Jacksonville, Fla.) and sophomore Jaquelyn Gilchrist (Tallahassee, Fla.) will each compete in the long jump qualifying. Williams is seeded 10th in the event after jumping 20-6.25/6.25m and finishing second at the C-USA Championships.

Other Knights that have earned spots in Greensboro are juniors Carley Dart (800m, 2:08.92) and Tomika Story (Triple Jump, 40-9/12.42m). The 4x100-meter relay team, which set a school record at the C-USA Championships, will include James, Champelle Brown, Wimberly and Coward.

Events get underway Thursday at 10 a.m. EST, Friday at a.m. 10 EST and Saturday at 9:30 a.m. EST. Live results will be available at FlashResults.com or by visiting the NCAA Championships Central.

Tickets can be purchased in advance by calling (336) 334-7749 or at the Irwin Belk Track on meet day. Three-day ticket passes are available for $25 for adults, $15 for students and senior citizens and free for those 12 and under. Single-day passes are available for $10 for adults, $7 for students and senior citizens and free for those 12 and under.

Last season, UCF sent 10 student-athletes to the East Regionals, finishing in ninth place and having five Knights punch tickets to the NCAA Outdoor National Championships.

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.

NCAA Outdoor Track & Field East Championships
UCF Entries

100m (First Round - 1 pm Thursday; Quarters - 6:15 pm Friday)
23. Sheila Paul, 11.53

200m (First Round - 8 pm Friday; Quarters - 7:50 pm Saturday)
41. Sheila Paul, 23.88

800m (First Round - 8 pm Thursday; Quarters - 6:45 pm Friday)
34. Carley Dart, 2:08.92

100mH (First Round - 5 pm Friday; Quarters - 7:30 pm Friday)
4. Jackie Coward, 12.99
10. Tiki James, 13.19
41. Mica Wimberly, 13.69

400mH (First Round - 4 pm Thursday; Quarters - 7:15 pm Friday)
28. Jackie Coward, 59.11
29. Aisha-Maree Frazier, 59.20

4x100m (Quarters - 6:15 pm Saturday)
17. 45.05 (James, Brown, Wimberly, Paul)

Long Jump (Qualifying - 1 pm Thursday)
10. Sonnisha Williams, 20-6.25/6.25m
39. Jacquelyn Gilchrist, 19-9.75/6.04m

Triple Jump (Qualifying - 4 pm Saturday)
45. Tomika Story, 40-9/12.42m

Shot Put (Qualifying - 3 pm Thursday)
21. LaKendra Thames, 51-4.25/15.65m

Discus (Qualifying - 3:30 pm Saturday)
9. LaKendra Thames, 174-4/53.14m