More School Records Fall as Knights Begin Tyson Invitational

Feb. 12, 2011

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By Pat Salvas

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (UCFAthletics.com) - Already the program record holder in the 60-meter hurdles, junior Jackie Coward of the UCF indoor track & field team smashed her own previous mark Friday at Arkansas' Tyson Invitational at the Randal Tyson Track Center. Coward didn't break her record of 8.16 in one of her three heats Friday, but broke it in each of the three races en route to winning the event.

Coward began the day with an 8.09 in the preliminary heat, breaking her old mark by seven-hundredths of a second to start. She would eclipse that mark again with another first-place showing in the semis with a time of 8.08. In the finals, Coward took first place in the event with an 8.06, setting the new school record, while also tying the top time in the nation this year with USC's Nia Ali and automatically qualifying for the NCAA Championships.

All four of the Knights running in the preliminaries of the 60-meter hurdles qualified and advanced to the semifinals. After Coward, senior Karessa Farley posted a time of 8.41 to finish sixth and qualify for the finals. Junior Ashley Bolling set a new personal record in the semis, crossing the line in 15th place in 8.48, while senior Mica Wimberly was 23rd in 8.68.

Farley again finished sixth in the finals in 8.38, while Coward swept the event with her new record performance of 8.06 in the finals.

"I was extremely excited about the way the team performed today," UCF head coach Carly Smith Gilbert said. "There was a high level of competition at this meet, which makes PR's that much more impressive."

Freshman Dominique Booker also broke her own record Friday in Fayetteville. Booker eclipsed her own freshmen and school record of 7.26 in the 60 meters with a 7.24 in the semifinals. Besides setting new program and personal records, it was also an automatic qualifying time for the NCAA Championships later in the season. The freshman sprinter would finish fourth in the finals in 7.35.

Fellow freshman Aurieyall Scott was ninth in both the preliminaries and semifinals of the 60-meter dash. Her time of 7.30 (ninth place) in the prelims was one-hundredth of a second off her personal-best time in the event, set three weeks ago at Virginia Tech. Sheila Paul and Lynne Layne also qualified with strong showings in the preliminaries. Paul's time of 7.38 in the semis was a new personal record and good for 14th place. Layne followed in 15th with a time of 7.42, one-hundredth of a second off her preliminary time.

Paul and Layne moved on to run in the consolation heat, finishing fifth and seventh, respectively. Tyler Smith (7.60, 42nd) and Wimberly (7.62, 47th) rounded out a field of six UCF entrants in the event.

In the 800 meters, freshman Erica Winston set a new personal with a time of 2:15.52 to finish 15th overall. Senior Carley Dart was the second Knight to finish, crossing in 2:17.31 and 22nd place. Freshman Ne'Ausha Logan was 27th in 2:21.47 to round out the Knights' contingent.

Both UCF runners in the 400 meter set personal records Friday. Senior Champelle Brown was 16th in 54.31, while freshman Afia Charles crossed in 56.15 and 37th place. Brown's time broke her own school record of 55.09 in the event, set last season at the Last Chance Meet.

In the long jump, Jacquelyn Gilchrist and Tomika Story represented the Knights. Gilchrist's mark of 19-01.25/5.82m was good for 11th with Story finishing 15th with a jump of 18-03.00/5.56m.

"Jackie ran very aggressively. Ashley Bolling and Champelle Brown had two huge breakthrough performances this afternoon," Smith Gilbert said. "Many of the performances we experienced today are examples of how hard she and this team have trained and prepared themselves all year."

The Knights will be back at the Randal Track Center Saturday for the second day of competition, while Destinee Romain and Satrina Oliveira will be throwing at the Dick Taylor Invitational in Chapel Hill, N.C.

"Tomorrow promises to be another exciting day," Smith Gilbert added. "The track has been resurfaced and it is very fast so we are sure to see more great marks from everyone."