Track and Field Secures Three Event Wins at Crimson Elite

by Alex Clough

BOSTON – Three event wins and a flurry of personal bests unfolded at the Crimson Elite for the UCF track and field team. The squad dominated the field at the Gordon Indoor Track on the campus of Harvard, as multiple Knights broke into and climbed up the record books.

Today was a good day for the UCF Knights. We had some progress across the board and the pieces are starting to come together. This is the type of meet we want to have at this time of the year. The sprint and hurdle crew will line up tomorrow and see if we can continue to build on the success of today. The field event crew will head back to Orlando to prepare for next week.

Head coach Dana Boone

Competing in their second pentathlons of the season, Holly Cassels and Natalia Madison were among the top contenders in each event alongside collegiate and professional athletes. The first of three personal records from Cassels came from her 1.64m mark in the high jump, as Madison would also secure her highest finish of the day with a 1.70m performance.

In the long jump, both secured top 10 finishes as Cassels set her second personal best of the day with her 5.56m mark and sixth-place finish. Madison trailed just .05m behind her with a 5.51m performance and seventh-place finish.

In the pentathlon’s final event, Cassels set a personal record in her historically best event, the 800m, running a 2:21.32 en route to an overall pentathlon best and the program's third-best performance with 3,690 points. With under a month until the Big 12 Indoor Championships, Cassels and Madison have each raised the bar, setting personal bests with the hopes of securing points for UCF in Lubbock, Texas.

Intertwined with the tail-end of the pentathlon, Asherah Collins shined in the triple jump, securing her best mark since winning the 2022 American Athletic Indoor Championships with a 13.14m jump. The performance is just .01m shy of her personal best as the All-American looks to attain the double, as she currently holds the outdoor program record and is .14m away from the indoor record, currently held by former Knight Dione Thomas (13.28m).

In the 60m dash qualifying round, six of eight Knights who lined up advanced to the prelims, headlined by Colleen Branch’s 7.45 as she claimed first in the round. Among other notable performances, Collins showed her prowess on the track with a fourth-place finish and a time of 7.57.

Y’Vette Harris, who set the freshman record in the pentathlon two weeks ago, led the Knights in qualifying for the 60m hurdles. The freshman ran an 8.60 to claim seventh, followed by Ese Awusa in 12th with her 8.71 performance.

I’Asia Wilson, along with Branch, advanced to the finals of the 60m with strong showings in heat two. Wilson clocked a personal best 7.40 to win the rounds, followed by Branch who topped her previous best in the qualifiers with a 7.44 and a fourth-place finish.

The 60m hurdles preliminary round saw automatic qualifiers Rayniah Jones and Adaobi Tabugbo join Harris and Awusa. The formers punched their ticket to the finals as Tabugbo led the way in the second with an 8.31, followed by Jones in the third with her time of 8.35.

In the finals of both events, the Knights remarkable day continued. Wilson secured her first career win in the 60m, smashing her previous best with her 7.26 performance. The time stands as the fifth best in program history as the junior climbed into the record book in style. Branch would also secure a sixth-place finish, her best as Knight.

With two event wins in the books, Jones capped off the day with a third, claiming first in the 60m hurdles with her second-best performance of the season. Jones’ 8.05 marked her third sub-8.10 time of the season and her first triumph in the hurdles thus far. She was followed closely by Tabugbo in third, who ran the program’s sixth-best time and matched her personal best with her 8.20 performance.

The Knights will be back in action tomorrow, making the short trip across the Charles River for the Scarlet and White Invitational at Boston University.