UCF's Paul Earns Ticket to Nationals

May 28, 2010

GREENSBORO, N.C. (UCFAthletics.com) - By the slimmest of margins, sophomore Sheila Paul (Lauderdale Lakes, Fla.) punched her ticket to the NCAA National Track & Field Championships, finishing third in her 100-meter dash heat Friday evening at Iwin Belk Track.

In the first of three final heats at the NCAA East Championships, Paul barely edged Chassity Riggien of Southern Miss, 11.54 to 11.55, to claim third place. The top three from each of the three heats earn spots in the NCAA Championships June 9-13 in Eugene, Ore.

A day after running a personal-best 11.36 seconds in the prelims, Paul was slowed slightly Friday, but she knew what she needed to do and used a lunge at the line to earn her first trip to nationals.

Paul joins freshman Sonnisha Williams (Jacksonville, Fla.) as Knights already heading to Eugene after Williams advanced Thursday with a school-record performance in the long jump.

Paul just missed the opportunity to have a chance to qualify for nationals in the 200-meter dash, finishing fifth in her heat (24.00) and qualifying 29th, just missing the top-24 that advance to Saturday's final.

In the 100-meter hurdles, senior Tiki James (Miami, Fla.) and sophomore Jackie Coward (Knoxville, Tenn.) advanced to Saturday's finals by finishing in the top three of their respective heats. James, still recovering from an injury which kept her out most of the outdoor season, took third in heat five with a time of 11.25.

Coward meanwhile finished second in heat four, crossing the line in 11.50. She will aim to make her trip to outdoor nationals while James will be looking to advance for the second-straight season. The top three from each heat Saturday plus the next three best times will earn trips to Eugene. The 100-meter hurdles final heats are set for 7:20 p.m.

Also in action when the NCAA East Championships conclude on Saturday will be senior LaKendra Thames (Winter Garden, Fla.) and junior Tomika Story (Tallahassee, Fla.). Thames will look for a return trip to nationals in the discus at 3:30 p.m. while Story will compete in the triple jump at 4 p.m.

2010 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field East Championships
Greensboro, N.C. - Irwin Belk Track

Day Two - May 28, 1010
12. Sheila Paul, 11.54 (+0.6) - N

29. Sheila Paul, 24.00 (-0.8)

100mH Prelims
13. Tiki James, 13.25 (+0.7) - Q
23. Jackie Coward, 13.50 (-0.2) - Q
30. Micaela Wimberly, 13.74 (+1.2)

N - Qualified for nationals
Q - Qualified for Saturday's finals
SR - School Record
PR - Personal Record