Relay Teams Lead UCF at Final Day of NCAA East Preliminary Round


May 28, 2011

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By Pat Salvas

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (UCFAthletics.com) - The final day of the NCAA East Preliminary Round at Indiana's Robert C. Haugh Track and Field Complex saw several members of the UCF outdoor track & field team punch their tickets to the NCAA Championships in Des Moines in two weeks Saturday afternoon. The Knights finished the weekend with seven entries for the nationals June 8-11.

"We had a few close calls today with people barely making it through to the final round of NCAA's at Drake," head coach Caryl Smith Gilbert said. "We had to make some last minute changes in the 4x4 due to some nagging injuries. We made a commitment earlier this week to get as many people to the final round as possible.

"This was a good weekend for our team. You could see today that we really understood what was on the line for us and how our confidence has changed since Thursday. When you set a new program record with substitutes like we did today in the 4x4 it is evident that we came to compete. Now we have to turn our focus to nationals and make sure that we make the finals. We have two weeks before we compete again, which will give us time to rest, but I know that we are going to use that time to work on continuing to get better until the last race of the season," Smith Gilbert added.

The day began with the Knights' 4x100-meter relay team of Dominique Booker, Aurieyall Scott, Lynne Layne and Sheila Paul winning their heat in 43.63 to move on to nationals. The time was good for second overall on Saturday and an automatic berth in one of the national semifinals heats in Iowa.

But it was the final event of the day that saw the Knights break the school record in the 4x400-meter relay. Champelle Brown, Sonnisha Williams, Sandy Jean and Erica Winston combined to run a 3:36.37 to break the program record of 3:36.76 set in late April. The new mark gave UCF the ninth-fastest qualifying time and allows them to compete in nationals.

Freshman Afia Charles was a late scratch from the team and was replaced by Williams in the second leg.

In between the relay races, the 200 meters saw Scott automatically qualify after posting the fifth-fastest time of the day. Scott ran a 23.27 to place second in her heat. The freshman will be the lone UCF representative in the event at nationals as Booker (13th, 23.84) and Paul (17th, 24.04) failed to qualify.

A day after clipping one of the final hurdles and failing to advance in the 400-meter hurdles, Jackie Coward stepped up in her signature event. Coward ran a 13.16 in Saturday's quarterfinal heat, securing a spot at nationals with the 10th-fastest time of the day. With the top three hurdles in each heat automatically advancing, Coward finished fourth, but did secured one of the three final spots to move on. Karessa Farley will not be joining her as her time of 13.54 ranked 20th.

In all, UCF will send its 4x100- and 4x400-meter relay teams as well as Scott (100 and 200 meters), Booker (100m), Paul (100m) and Coward (100m hurdles) to compete in the NCAA Championships at Drake.

UCF Track and Field
2011 NCAA East Preliminary Round - May 28, 2011

Robert C. Haugh Track and Field Complex - Bloomington, Ind.

4x100-Meter Relay

2. UCF, 43.63 Q
(Booker, Scott, Layne, Paul)

4x400-Meter Relay

9. UCF, 3:36.37^ Q

(Brown, Williams, Jean, Winston)

100-Meter Hurdles

10. Jackie Coward, 13.16 (+1.1)q
20. Karessa Farley, 13.54 (+1.1)

200 Meters

5. Aurieyall Scott, 23.27 (-1.3) Q

13. Dominique Booker, 23.84 (-1.3)

17. Sheila Paul, 24.04 (-1.4)


Q - qualified automatically

q - qualified

m -meet record

! - Personal Record

# - Freshman Record

^ - School Record

w - wind aided