Knights Announce 2020-21 Signing Class

ORLANDO (UCFKnights.com) – UCF head coach Dana Boone announced her incoming cross country and track and field class for the 2020-21 campaign.
"This is an outstanding follow up class to our 2018-19 class," Boone said. "We have added some of the top talent across the board in the state. We also picked up some very good transfers to add into the mix.  The staff did a great job in filling in some areas where we were lacking. It is our goal each and every year to add to our scoring potential at the conference and national level. In adding these newcomers into the mix alongside of the returners that we do have coming back, we know we are moving in the right direction in terms of building for the future. We can't wait to welcome our newest Knights back on campus! As always, the future is bright for the Knights!"
The 15-member freshman class features a mix of sprinters, hurdlers, jumpers, throwers, distance runners and a heptathlete. Fourteen members hail from the Sunshine State, with one rookie heading to Florida from Maryland. The Knights also welcome four transfers to the 2020-21 squad.
The sprint group welcomes a 400m state title holder in Danielle Bess, who was also a member of the 2019 state champion 4x4 relay squad. Bess has personal bests of 24.32 in the 200-meter dash and 53.90 in the 400-meter dash. Kiah Williams, a two-time top-five finisher in the 400m at the state finals, earned back-to-back state championships with Hallandale High School. Williams has personal bests of 24.76 in the 200m, 54.61 in the 400m, 42.63 in the 300-meter hurdles and 62.63 in the 400-meter hurdles. Kai'lyn Kirkland picked up wins in the 100-meter, 200-meter and 400-meters during the 2020 season. She has personal best times of 12.02 in the 100m, 24.51 in the 200m and 54.97 in the 400m.
Redshirt senior Alexis Woodley joins the Knights after four seasons at Virginia. A two-time NCAA East Preliminary qualifier, Woodley was an All-ACC performer in the hurdles and has collegiate bests of 8.31 in the 60H and 13.31 in the 100H. Redshirt junior Selena Wright joins the Black and Gold from Sam Houston State where she was an NCAA West Prelim qualifying hurdler. Wright posted collegiate bests of 8.40 in the 60H, 13.59 in the 100H and 1:00.39 in the 400H with the Bearkats. Alicia Coleman was a top-five finisher in the 100-meter hurdles at the 2019 FHSAA State Track and Field Championships in 2019.
Holly Cassels will compete in the pentathlon and heptathlon for the Knights. Cassels was the 2019 FHSAA 3A District 14 champion in the 300-meter hurdles, high jump and long jump. She also captured the high jump title at the 2019 FHSAA 4A Region 3 and 4 meet and finished second at the state championship. She set a personal best score of 4726 in the heptathlon at the 2019 New Balance Nationals. She has personal bests of 26.20 in the 200m, 59.80 in the 400m, 14.67 in the 100H, 44.31 in the 300H, 5-5.75/1.67m in the high jump, 17-6/5.33m in the long jump, 34-8.25/10.57m in the shot put and 94-5/28.77m in the javelin.
Grace Bustamante joins the UCF throws group. The 2019 FHSAA 4A District 14 and FHSAA 4A Region 4 discus champion, Bustamante finished fourth in the discus at the 2019 state meet and was a top 25 finisher in the shot put.
UCF added a pair of jumpers in Asherah Collins and Leiya Green. Collins, who won the triple jump in each of her meets in 2020, was the 2019 FHSAA state champion in the triple jump with a personal-best mark of 41-3.75/12.59m. She also has a personal best of 5-1.75/1.57m in the high jump and 12.01 in the 100m. Green won the long jump at the 2019 FHSAA 2A District 3 meet and finished fifth at the FHSAA 1A and 2A regional meet. Green has a personal best of 19-2.5/5.85m in the long jump.
Jadae Barrett joins the mid-distance group for the Knights after success with Hallandale High School. She was a member of the district and regional champion 4x800 relay quad. She finished second with the 4x4 relay and third with the 4x8 relay at the 2018 FHSAA state meet. She has a personal best 56.88 in the 400m, 2:15.03 in the 800m.
The UCF cross country and distance group welcomes a decorated group of newcomers for 2020-21. Valerie Lastra, a two-time cross country All-American and qualifier for the Foot Locker Cross Country Nationals, won back-to-back 3A cross country state titles and set the Apalachee Regional Park course record (17:17.58) in 2018. She has personal bests of 4:45.95 in the mile, 2:14.07 in the 800m and 10:29.85 in the 3200m. Alexandra Del Re finished in the top 25 at the 2019 FHSAA cross country state meet and was second at the district meet.
Mackenzie Czurak qualified for the state championships in the 1600-meter and 3200-meter for Winter Springs High School. She has personal bests of 4:56.88 in the 1600m, 5:26.54 in the mile and 10:59.42 in the 3200m. Mikaela Brown won the 3200-meter run and finished third in the 1600-meter run at the 2019 Gateway Conference Championship. Brenna Mullaney was a top 30 finisher at the SXR Southeast Regional Championships in Maryland, while Megan Rhodes was a top 45 finisher at the 2019 FHSAA Cross Country Championship.
Sophomore Mariana Rodriguez joins the Knights after a season at Houston. During her rookie campaign, she was a member of the 2020 American Athletic Indoor Track and Field champion squad. Redshirt freshman Kiele Riefenstahl joins the Knights after a season on the women's soccer team at Wilkes University where she saw action in 18 matches, making 10 starts.
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