Dana Boone Signs Contract Extension

ORLANDO – UCF head track and field and cross country coach Dana Boone signed a contract extension that will keep her at the helm through the 2025-26 seasons.
"I consider this an honor and a privilege to work at UCF," Boone said. "I'm excited about the direction the program is moving. Although we have so much more to accomplish, we are on the right track and I look forward to a bright future. I would like to thank Terry Mohajir and this administration for believing in our vision for the future! Go Knights, Charge On!"
The Knights turned in a record-setting 2021 campaign. While the indoor slate saw UCF travel to Houston for just two meets, the Knights saw both their freshman mile and triple jump records set.

The outdoor campaign saw the emergence of Rayniah Jones' dominance in the 100-meter hurdles under Boone's guidance. The Miami native, competing in her first collegiate outdoor season, opened her campaign by setting the UCF freshman record in five straight meets. At the Knights Invite on April 24, Jones not only broke the UCF freshman record, she also set the school record and posted a U.S. Olympic Team Trial qualifying mark of 12.73. 

Jones became the first Knight to earn The American Freshman of the Year as she set the AAC meet record on her way to capturing the 100-meter hurdle title. Asherah Collins gave the Knights two event champions at Boone's second outdoor conference championship, as she set the freshman triple jump record on her way to the title. 

Both Jones and Collins qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Championship, marking the first time UCF had multiple individual competitors at the NCAA Championships since 2016. Jones was the first Knight to compete in the 100-meter hurdles at the national meet since Jackie Coward in 2012 while Collins became the first Knight to advance to the NCAA Outdoor Championship in the triple jump. Both returned to Orlando as All-Americans, with Jones earning the silver medal in the 100H and Collins finishing 23rd in the triple jump.

In all, five Knights combined to tie or set seven freshman or school records during the 2021 outdoor slate.
Valerie Lastra, who broke the UCF freshman records during the shortened cross country slate, added her name to the track record books with the school 3000-meter record and freshman records in the 3000m and 1500m. Holly Cassels broke the freshman heptathlon record and Charlotte Crook tied the school's 1500m record.

In her first season at the helm, Boone led the UCF 4x1 relay squad back to the NCAA Championship for the first time since 2017. The quartet of Shaniya Williams, Ciara Holback, Beyonce Defreitas and Loren Gallmon turned in a 14th-place performance – the best relay finish since 2014 – to earn Second Team All-America honors.
Under her leadership, UCF picked up a pair of event titles and finished fifth overall at the 2019 American Athletic Conference Outdoor Championship. For the first time since 2016, the Knights captured gold in the 4x100 relay. The squad of Shaniya Williams, Shian Hyde, Beyonce Defreitas and Ciara Holback turned in a season-best mark and set a stadium record with a time of 44.17 to edge Cincinnati for the top spot. Devin D'Oliveira added another trophy to UCF's case this weekend, cruising to the 400-meter hurdle title. The Pembroke Pines, Florida, native broke her own UCF freshman record, posting a time of 58.80 to take home the gold medal. 
In her third year at the helm, the Knights were looking to build off an American Athletic Conference Indoor Championship that saw a trio of podium finishes for the Black and Gold before the outdoor slate was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
UCF is currently in its cross country season, with the Knights slated to return to action on Oct. 1 to host the UCF Invite. The indoor track and field season gets underway in January 2022.

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