Knights Begin Indoor Season With a Trip to Gainesville

ORLANDO – All sights are set on this weekend's Jimmy Carnes Invitational in Gainesville, Florida, where the Knights will begin the 2023 campaign. Head coach Dana Boone along with assistant coaches Brian Jackson and Glenn Smith will look to build on what was the most successful season in program history. 

The 2022 indoor season was an incredible two months, consummated with a record-breaking 156.5 points on way to the team's first American Athletic Conference Indoor Championship since 2017. Rayniah Jones and Latasha Smith were the first pair of Knights to compete at the NCAA Indoor Championships since that last conference title five years ago. Jones landed on the podium after a dominant performance in the 60-meter hurdles. 

The aforementioned duo that represented UCF in Birmingham last March are returning for their junior seasons. Topping the historic 2022 season, both indoor and outdoor, will be a difficult task but one each will strive for. Jones, a now first-team All-American, has broken numerous records since arriving in Orlando, smashing the indoor 60-meter hurdles school record at last year's American Athletic Conference Championships with a time of 7.90. 

Smith landed on the All-America Honor Roll with her 53.92 mark in the 60 meters. The day before the 60-meter hurdles record was broken by Jones, Smith eclipsed the 400 meters record with her 52.32 mark at the American Championships. 

The 2022 Cross Country season was one of promising newcomers breaking out on the scene. Distance will have multiple freshmen ready to add to an already sound unit led by seniors Katie Pinnell and Charlotte Crook. Penelope Sosa, who took first place at the Florida Atlantic Invitational, and Isabella Richardson had outstanding freshman campaigns. 

The Eugene Eight, apart from Ciara Holback, are returning for the team's final season in the American before making the transition into the Big 12. From June to early January, the AAC Coaching Staff of the Year have been hard at work with yet another talented group as expectations for the upcoming season will surely seem to replicate the success of 2022 and serve as a perfect stepping stone into a new era for the program.

The Knights will do plenty of traveling in the next two months, with trips to five states, including two meets in Boston with the Crimson Elite Invitational at Harvard and the Valentine Invitational at Boston University. The squad will split up the next week, with some traveling to Nashville, Tennessee, for the Vanderbilt Invitational and others to Lubbock, Texas, for the Red Raider Open at Texas Tech.

Following this week's opening meet in Gainesville, UCF will make a return trip to Florida two more times before heading back to Birmingham, Alabama, for the conference championships Feb. 24-25. 

For the full schedule (both indoor and outdoor), click here.

This Friday's meet will take place at the brand-new Alachua County Sports Center which opened just this week. The new state-of-the-art complex will be situated within Celebration Pointe, a multi-entertainment facility to the west of Florida. The facility, acting as the first indoor track in the state of Florida, will host the Knights on three occasions. The Alachua County Collegiate Invite will take place on Jan. 26-27, followed the next week by Celebration Point Indoor Classic on Feb. 2-3.

The field events will begin at 9 a.m. with the high jump, followed by the mile at 11 a.m. which kicks off the running events. Jones will return to the 60-meter hurdles at 12:15 p.m. for prelims. The day wraps up with the 4x400 meter relay finals at 4 p.m.

You can follow along with Friday's results here.

Never miss any UCF Knights news from your favorite team by downloading the free UCF Gameday app right to your iOS or Android phone. The app provides personalized information for men's and women's teams, scores, schedules, loyalty programs and even breaking news. Click here to download the app now.