Jones Makes History, Wins 100m Hurdles at Big 12 Outdoor Championship

by Alex Clough

WACO, Texas – “I set a goal to be the first Big 12 champion,” proclaimed Rayniah Jones minutes after she crossed the line in the 100m hurdles; and her excitement as she made her final push was that of a champion who had reached that goal.

Saturday afternoon, Jones became the first athlete in UCF history to secure a Big 12 title, etching her name as one of the greatest athletes to compete in Black and Gold.

Her showing highlighted an eventful conclusion to the Knights’ first Big 12 Outdoor Championship, as multiple athletes tallied points for a strong day three display.

From the start, championship Saturday had a different feeling at the Clyde Hart Track and Field Stadium. With yesterday’s preliminary events for the majority of track events nixed, the Knights would be competing in timed finals with each heat remaining intact.

The 4x100m relay commenced action for the Black and Gold as under head coach Dana Boone, the Knights have consistently competed at a high level. In their first outing in the Big 12, the squad ran a season-best time of 43.78 to place fifth and collect the first four points for UCF. Anchored by I’Asia Wilson, Jones, Paige Archer and Ani Wells each displayed strong efforts to drop their time before the NCAA Preliminary rounds.

Today we crowned our first Big 12 champion in the 100H. Iā€™m super happy and proud of the day that Rayniah had. Kiah Williams had a great double today in the 400/200 as well. Asherah had a very good day in the triple jump. We are going to have to continue to evolve as we compete in this very competitive conference.

Head coach Dana Boone

Running concurrent with the opening hour on the track, Asherah Collins’ prowess on the platform led the senior to a fourth-place finish in the triple jump (13.25m), a strong mark for the reigning second-team All-American. Collins improved upon her sixth-place finish during indoors and looked primed to make another run on the national stage.

What followed will long live in the history of UCF, both for the program and for the entire athletics department. Competing in lane five of the second heat in the 100m hurdles, Jones’ goal was clear, bring home the gold. Just 12.78 seconds after the gun fired, she had crossed the finish line a Big 12 champion, besting the field in a dominating finish to collect all 10 points and the highly coveted title.

The eight-time All-America honoree has now won four consecutive conference titles in the 100m hurdles, including her dominating three-peat in The American. While her day wasn’t done, three events in, she had already played a part in 14 points for UCF. During her five-year career at Outdoor Championships, the Florida native has tallied a remarkable 86 points.

Continuing their strong form, the Knights saw Kiah Williams podium in the first of two finals she laced up for this afternoon. In the 400m, the senior crossed the line at 51.74, garnering a fourth-place finish and five additional points. Just over an hour later, the Hallandale, Florida, native finished sixth with a time of 23.35 in the 200m, one of the lone events that ran prelims on Thursday. All in all, Williams collected eight points for the squad and after missing out on a pair of finals during the Indoor Championship, secured a podium spot in two events.

Splitting both of her dominating performances was the 100m, which saw a fellow Knights complete the double. Jones, nearly an hour after claiming her historic gold medal in the hurdles, led the Knights with a fifth-place finish in the 100m at 11.33. Her new season-best completed yet another dominating championship from the All-American and tallied four more points for UCF.

Knights Who Scored at the Big 12 Outdoor Championship

Following Jones was a pair of Knights who just missed out on the podium, as I’Asia Wilson (11.42) and Janyah Jasper (11.52) secured 10th and 12th-place finishes. The latter’s time smashed her season-best and concluded her outdoor season on a high note.

Ali Del Re and Isabella Richardson concluded the night in the 5000m, as the pair clocked times of 17:56.50 (27th) and 18:33.69 (28th).

Overall, the Knights tallied 31 points to claim a 10th-place finish.