Knights Set Records, Finish Fifth at AAC Championship


TAMPA – The UCF track and field team collected a pair of event titles, set a meet record and matched a school record on the final day of the 2021 American Athletic Conference Outdoor Championship at the USF Track and Field Complex.
"We had some really great performances," UCF head coach Dana Boone said. "We had two conference champions and a Freshman of the Year award. This is a young team that just needs to gain more experience competing at this next level. We will be a much stronger team in the years to come."
Rayniah Jones was named The American Freshman of the Year following a dominant performance at her first outdoor championship. The rookie became UCF's first Freshman of the Year in The American and is the first Knight to collect the outdoor honor since Jenny Clausen earned the distinction at the 2007 Conference USA meet.
Jones accounted for 20 of UCF's 71 team points, highlighted by her AAC meet record showing in the 100-meter hurdles. The Miami native seemingly cruised to the event title in 12.76, which was just shy of her school record performance. She also added five points for UCF in both the 100-meter dash and 200-meter dash, finishing fourth in both events. Her 23.28 mark in the 200m was not only a personal best, but also puts her 26th on the NCAA East Region performance list.
UCF saw another rookie capture an event title, as the Knights started off the day with their first triple jump champion as members of The American.
Asherah Collins opened the outdoor season with a UCF freshman record mark in the triple jump. On Sunday, she opened the meet by besting that mark. The rookie landed at 42-11.5/13.09m, which not only carried her into the finals, but also carried her to the top of the podium. Collins moved up to 14th on the NCAA East Region performance list with her championship jump.
The Knights added a third all-conference performer to their resume on Sunday as Charlotte Crook earned a spot on the podium in the 1500-meter run. The sophomore made a strong push at the end to not only collect a medal, but also to tie the school record in the event. Crook's time of 4:21.64 matches Anne-Marie Blaney's 2017 record in the event.
Additionally, UCF earned points in the 400-meter dash on a fourth-place finish from Latasha Smith. The 4x4 relay squad of Kai'lyn Kirkland, Samieryah Bradwell, Kiah Williams and Smith closed out the meet with a fourth-place performance.
Alexis Woodley ran a personal best 13.23 to not only give UCF a pair of top five finishers in the 100H, but also move her up to 28th on the NCAA East Region list.
Katie Pinnell added a trio of points with a sixth-place finish in the 800-meter run, as did Selena Wright in the 400-meter hurdles. Kaliah Jones cleared a personal best 5-7/1.70m to finish sixth in the high jump for three points. UCF's 4x1 relay of Ani Wells, Ciara Holback, Beyonce Defreitas and Leiya Green earned two points with a seventh-place finish. Valerie Lastra earned two points in the 1500-meter run with a seventh-place performance and Kiara Lee added a point with an eighth-place finish in the triple jump.
UCF also collected the final six points in the 2020-21 War on I-4 rivalry series. The Black and Gold held an eight-point edge entering the final event of the weekend, the 4x4 relay. While South Florida captured the relay title, UCF needed to finish sixth or better to secure the War on I-4 points, and the squad delivered with a fourth-place showing. The Knights earned six points to bring the final tally to 59.25-24.75.
UCF Results
1. Rayniah Jones 12.76
5. Alexis Woodley 13.23
Triple Jump
1. Asherah Collins 42-11.5/13.09m
8. Kiara Lee 40-10.25/12.45m
3. Charlotte Crook 4:21.64
7. Valerie Lastra 4:30.65
4. Rayniah Jones 11.31
4. Rayniah Jones 23.28
4. Latasha Smith 53.95
4x4 Relay
4. Kai'lyn Kirkland, Samieryah Bradwell, Kiah Williams, Latasha Smith 3:38.60

6. Katie Pinnell 2:10.46
6. Selena Wright 1:00.58
High Jump
6. Kaliah Jones 5-7/1.70m
18. Holly Cassels 5-3.75/1.62m
4x1 Relay
7. Ani Wells, Ciara Holback, Beyonce Defreitas, Leiya Green 46.51
9. Adrienne Adams 147-1/44.83m
27. Alexandra Del Re 18:20.57
Team Standings
1. Houston 153
2. Cincinnati 106.333
3. Temple 81
4. Wichita State 79
5. UCF 71
6. South Florida 68
7. Memphis 67
8. Tulsa 57
9. SMU 48.33
10. East Carolina 43.50
11. Tulane 42.83
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