Trio of Knights Getting Set for NCAA Championships

June 2, 2010

NCAA Championships Central

By Andrew Gavin

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Just days after earning a trip to nationals, a trio of UCF student-athletes were back to work Wednesday morning preparing for the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships next week in Eugene, Ore. UCF sophomores Jackie Coward (Knoxville, Tenn.) and Sheila Paul (Lauderdale Lakes, Fla.) and freshman Sonnisha Williams (Jacksonville, Fla.) will hold practice sessions Friday and Sunday in Orlando before departing for Eugene and competing at nationals June 9-12.

The event is being held at historic Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon. Paul will be the first Knight in action, running in the semifinal heats of the 100-meter dash Wednesday at 6 p.m. Coward will compete in the semifinals of the 100-meter hurdles on Thursday night at 5:55 p.m. Williams will wait until the final day to compete, as the trials and finals of the long jump will be Saturday beginning at 9:30 a.m.

The three Knights will each be looking to gain All-American accolades by finishing among the top-eight Americans in their respective events. All three will be making their first trip to outdoor nationals. While UCF has had four NCAA Indoor All-Americans, the program will be looking for its first All-American on the outdoor side.

Coward, an Indoor All-American in 2009, will have strong opportunity to make the 100-meter hurdles final. The sophomore enters ranked seventh nationally in the event with a season-best time of 12.99. She is seeded 11th based on her time of 13.11 ran at the NCAA East Championships last week.

There will be three heats of the 100-meter hurdles Thursday night, with the top-two finishers from each heat plus the top-two fastest times advancing to the final Saturday at 11:09 a.m.

Paul, who ran a personal-best 11.36 in the prelims at the NCAA East Championships, is ranked 16th nationally entering the 100-meter dash. She is seeded 22nd based on her time of 11.54 in the NCAA East Championship finals.

Like the hurdles, Wednesday night will feature three heats of the 100-meter dash, with the top-two finishers from each heat plus the top-two fastest times advancing to Friday's final at 5:32 p.m.

After coming on strong at the end of her freshman campaign, Williams has visions of earning All-American honors in the long jump. She is ranked 20th nationally in the event, including second among the country's freshmen. After a school-record jump of 20-6.25/6.25m at the NCAA East Championships, she is seeded 18th in the national field.

Williams and her 23 competitors will get three jumps Saturday morning in the long jump trials, with the top-nine athletes making the three-attempt final immediately following.

For more information about the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships, including a full schedule of events and live results, please visit NCAA Championships Central.


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