UCF Indoor Track & Field Prepares for Two Meets This Weekend

="" alt="Knight Head" border="0" class="imported"> Read John Denton's Knights Insider | ="" alt="Twitter Logo" border="0" class="imported">Follow us on Twitter | ="" alt="Facebook Logo" border="0" class="imported">Get social with the Knights on Facebook

By Pat Salvas

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - This weekend's UCF indoor track & field team will have a slightly different look to it. Several members of the Knights will be headed to the Penn State National Invitational, while the remaining members of the team will participate in the Jimmy Carnes Indoor Meet at the University of Florida's O'Connell Center.

UCF is ranked No. 15 in the country this week in the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association's (USTFCCCA) first poll of the season. The Knights, ranked 34th in the preseason poll, jumped 19 spots after two stellar weekends at Kentucky and Virginia Tech to open the season. No team on either the men's or women's side made a bigger leap in the rankings than the Black and Gold.

The Penn State National Invitation will begin and Friday and run through Saturday, while the Jimmy Carnes Meet is set to get underway on Saturday and continue through Sunday afternoon.

Those Knights running at Penn State's Ashenfelter Multi-Sport Facility will be part of a field of more than 1,000 participants and 50 teams, including Tennessee, Georgetown, Clemson, Ohio State, Virginia Tech and the host Nittany Lions.

UCF's athletes in Gainesville will go up against competitors from Florida State, Jacksonville, North Florida and FIU. The Jimmy Carnes Indoor Meet is hosted by the Gainesville Sports Commission and is named in honor of the former Florida men's track & field coach, who was recently inducted into the USA Track & Field Hall of Fame.

Running the 60-meter dash at Penn State are freshmen Dominique Booker, Aurieyall Scott, Tyler Smith and senior Lynne Layne. On Friday at Virginia Tech, Booker broke her own school and freshman record set the week before to place third in 7.26 at the Hokie Invitational.

Scott, who has won the 200 meters in each of her first two collegiate races, will represent UCF in the event again this weekend along with Booker, Layne, Smith and junior Sheila Paul. Layne will also participate in the women's long jump with fellow senior Karessa Farley.

Freshmen Afia Charles and Sandy Jean and senior Champelle Brown will make up the Knights' contingent in the 400 meters at Penn State. Jean will also compete in the pentathlon as the lone UCF representative.

A week after junior Jackie Coward broke the school record in the 60-meter hurdles and earned a provisional qualifying time at Virginia Tech, she and seniors Farley and Mica Wimberly will run in the event at the Multi-Sport Facility. Coward's record time of 8.16 last weekend just missed an automatic qualifying time for the NCAA Indoor Championships by two-hundredths of a second.

UCF's throwers in University Park will be Satrina Oliveira and Destinee Romain. Both are scheduled to compete in the shot put, while Oliveira will also participate in the weight throw.

The Knights' 4x400-meter relay team has eclipsed the previous school record in each of the first two meets this season and will look to continue the trend in central Pennsylvania this weekend. UCF opened the season with a 3:40.15 at Kentucky, breaking the old mark by nearly six seconds.

In Gainesville, sophomore Tomika Story and junior Jacquelyn Gilchrist will be competing in the 55-meter dash. Also running in the event will be sophomore and current Conference USA Women's Track & Field Athlete of the Week Sonnisha Williams. The Knights have yet to enter anyone in this event in either of their first two meets in 2011.

Williams made a significant impact for the Knights in Blacksburg, setting a new school record (20-9.0/6.32m) and finishing first in long jump, while also placing first in the high jump. The second-year Knight will also be running the 200 meters as the lone UCF entrant.

Gilchrist, Story and Williams will all participate in the long jump, while freshman London Enos and sophomore Erica Weiss are entered in the pole vault. The Knights will also have a second 4x400-meter relay team this weekend running at the O'Connell Center.

Running in the 400 meters is junior Aisha-Maree Frazier and senior Dan'Elle Bellamy as well as sophomore Eva Pierce, who will make her track debut as she rounds out the trio of Knights in the race. Bellamy and Pierce will also be running in the 800 meters alongside freshmen Ne'Ausha Logan, Erica Winston and senior Carley Dart.

Sophomore Mason Gardberg and senior Ocean Cohen will represent UCF in the 3,000 meters. Junior Ashley Bolling is the lone UCF runner entered in the 55-meter high hurdles.

The one mile will feature just one Knight as freshman Danielle Scaffidi makes her first appearance with the indoor track team. In all, four members of the Knights will be making their debut this weekend in Gainesville (Frazier, Gardberg, Pierce and Scaffidi).

The Knights will have a week off before running again at the Tyson Invitational in Fayetteville, Ark., on Feb. 11-12.