Knights Set for Last AAC Indoor Championships

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The UCF track and field team opens the 2023 American Athletic Conference Indoor Championship on Friday, marking the last time before the Knights make the transition into the Big 12. The squad enters the two-day meet as the title holders following last season's record-breaking performance, setting a new meet record with 156.5 points en route to the program's second AAC indoor title.
The American Championships will be held at the Birmingham Crossplex, with both days available to stream on ESPN+ along with live results. Friday's action begins at 10:45 am ET as Holly Cassels and Natalia Madison compete in the pentathlon. Distance gets their meet started in the mile at 1:25 pm. ET followed with sprints at 1:55 pm. ET in the 400-meter field at 3:00 pm. ET in the long jump. Saturday will also kick off at 10:45 am ET with the High Jump, while the meet will be wrapped up with the 4x400m relay at 3:40 pm ET.
UCF sends a talented squad to Birmingham once again, with a mix of returning all-conference athletes and a crop of newcomers. In fact, 10 of the 15 all-conference members will be back competing this weekend. Among them are Rayniah Jones and Latasha Smith, who each went on to represent the Knights at the 2022 NCAA Indoor Championships. Jones took home the 60-meter dash, 60-meter hurdles, and 200-meter dash, along with the AAC Most Outstanding Performance for her 7.90 mark in the hurdles and the Most Valuable Performer for her historic three-event wins. Smith took home the 400-meter dash, setting a new conference record with her time of 52.32. Asherah Collins, who won last year's triple jump with her 13.15m mark will look to both break the meet record of 13.16m this time around while also repeating as she enters the event with the best conference mark of 12.94m set earlier in the season.
Alabama transfer Daija Lampkin has lit up the track in a short time with the Knights. She's first in the 60-meter dash (7.33) in the conference this season along with her second-best time in the 200-meter dash (23.37). Fellow transfer Janyah Jasper is right behind her in the 60-meter dash with her time of 7.41 set at the Celebration Pointe Classic earlier this month. Kiah Williams, Beyoncé Defreitas, and Kaylor Harris will each strive to replicate their performance at conference from last season, as each landed on the all-conference list. All are among the best in the conference performance list entering this weekend.
Collins, Jasmine Scott-Kilgo, and Leiya Green will all look to give the Knights their first-ever win in the long jump along with Kaliah Jones in the high jump.
Following the mile to start action for distance on Friday, Katie Pinnell will return to the 800-meter as she finished third in 2022, garnering an all-conference inclusion. She's joined by freshman Kendall Hughes who has had a great start to her collegiate career in the event. Six of the 10 competing in the distance competition will be freshmen, with Isabella Richardson making her debut in the conference championship after setting a new Freshman record in the 3k with a time of 9:39.99, currently among the conference's best.
Last season, Brittany Floyd set a new conference record with 3,993 points, winning the pentathlon. The aforementioned Cassels and Madison have both shown they are capable of reaching that mark and giving UCF back-to-back wins in the event. The same goes for the 4x400m squad who took home gold in the event in 2022 with their time of 3:38.92.
UCF enters this weekend competing to become the third school to go back-to-back in the indoor championships, joining Houston (2019-20) and UConn (2015-16). Along with the program's first title in 2017 and last season's triumph, the Knights have the opportunity to become the conferenced sole leader with three indoor trophies.
UCF Schedule
Friday (All times eastern)
10 a.m. – Pentathlon 60H (Cassels, Madison)
10:45 a.m. – Pentathlon High Jump (Cassels, Madison)
12:30 a.m. – Pentathlon Shot Put (Cassels, Madison)
1:25 p.m. – Mile Run -Prelims- (Holtery, Rodriquez)
1:45 p.m. – Pentathlon Long Jump (Cassels, Madison)
1:55 p.m. – 400m dash -Prelims- (Williams, Smith)
2:35 p.m. – 60m Hurdles -Prelims- (Coleman, Harris, Jones)
2:55 p.m. – 60m Dash -Prelims- (Jasper, Jones, Defreitas, Wells, Harris, Wilson, Lampkin)
3:00 p.m. – Pentathlon 800m (Cassels, Madison)
3:00 p.m. – Long Jump -Finals- (L. Green, Scott-Kilgo, Collins)
3:30 p.m. – 800m Run -prelims- (Pinnell, Hughes)
4:00 p.m. – 200m Dash -Prelims- (Jasper, Lampkin, Wilson, Smith, Wells, Jones, Defreitas, Williams)
4:30 p.m. – 5000m Run -Finals- (Sosa, Del Re, R. Jaszczak, P. Jaszczak, Richardson)
5:15 p.m. – Weight Throw -Finals- (A. Green)
6:00 p.m. – Distance Medley -Finals- (Czurak, Holtery, Hughes, Kirkland, Pinnell, Rodriguez)
10:45 a.m. – High Jump -Finals- (K. Jones, Cassels, Madison)
12:00 p.m. – Triple Jump -Finals- (Collins, Scott-Kilgo, Madison)
12:20 p.m. – Mile Run -Finals- (Prelims: Top 3 per heat plus next 6 advance on time)
12:40 p.m.  – 400m Dash -Finals- (Prelims: Winner of each heat)
1:10 p.m. – 60m Hurdles -Finals- (Prelims: Heat winner plus next 5 advance on time)
1:30 p.m. – 60m Dash -Finals- (Prelims: Heat winner plus next 4 advance on time)
2:00 p.m. – 800m Run -Finals- (Prelims: Top 2 heat finishers plus next 4 advance on time)
2:20 p.m. – 200m Dash -Finals- (Prelims: Winner of each heat)
2:40 p.m. – 3000m Run -Finals- (Highes, R. Jaszczak, Czurak, P. Jaszczak, Del Re, Sosa, Holtery, Richardson, Rodriguez)
3:40 p.m. – 4x400m Relay -Finals- (Kirkland, Lampkin, Smith, Williams, Coleman, Defreitas)