Track and Field Concludes Action in Day One of Big 12 Indoor Championships

by Alex Clough

LUBBOCK, Texas – A new era commenced on Friday as the UCF Track and Field team competed in its first Big 12 Indoor Championships at the Sports Performance Center, embarking on a new journey in the program’s 29-year history. The Knights saw a pair of athletes punch their tickets to tomorrow’s finals along with their first point in the conference in an eventual slate of action.

In the first event of the afternoon, Natalia Madison placed 14th (8.86) in the 60m hurdles to claim 939 points to open the pentathlon, as Holly Cassels finished in 18th with a time of 9.37 to attain 834 points. The tandem would each secure personal records, with Madison’s coming in the shot put following a 12.21m throw and fifth-place finish.

Cassels would set bests in the long jump (5.59m) and the 800m (2:20.33) en route to the program’s third-best performance overall in the pentathlon, tallying 3,723 points and a 13th-place finish. Madison would claim 11th with a respectful 3,744-point showing.

Friday’s action on the track began with the most-anticipated event of the weekend for the Knights, as a trio dawning Canaveral blue left their mark in the prelims of the 60m hurdles. The field was led by the conference leader, Rayniah Jones, who ran a composed 8.02 to punch her ticket to tomorrow’s final. In third, Adaobi Tabugbo secured a personal-best 8.13, her third-consecutive weekend setting a new record. The Black and Gold field was rounded out with Y’Vette Harris who made her conference debut with an 8.57, securing a new record as the freshman will look to build on a promising indoor season ahead of outdoor.

The 60m hurdles final will be streamed live on ESPN+ tomorrow afternoon as UCF will look for its first Big 12 trophy at 3 p.m. ET.

Jones wasted no time in securing yet another spot in tomorrow’s finals, placing fifth in the 60m prelims with a 7.24 in heat three. For the third consecutive season, the All-American will embark on multiple finals with the hopes of garnering the last indoor medals of her storied collegiate campaign.

In the 1000m, freshman Abigail Stratton secured her place in yet another all-time list, running a 2:57.59 in heat three to attain fourth place in program history. The English native now sits sixth in the 800m, fifth in the mile, and the aforementioned placement in the 1000m, a remarkable feat in her first collegiate campaign.

The Knights had multiple seasons and personal bests in the 200m prelims, headlined by Kiah Williams’ 23.33 performance, the program’s new fourth-best time. She was followed in 10th by Jones who secured her best performance of the season with a 23.36, just .01 off her personal record. Wilson also notched a best with her 23.76 in heat six.

Asherah Collins concluded action with a brilliant display in the long jump throughout the six rounds, eventually securing a season-best 6.13m in her final attempt to secure UCF its first points in the Big 12. Collins won’t dwell on the performance though, as she’ll shift her sights towards the triple jump at 2 p.m. ET tomorrow.