Jones Shines, Collins Punches Ticket to Open NCAA East Preliminary Rounds

by Alex Clough

LEXINGTON, Kentucky – Led by a dominant showing from Rayniah Jones and a fourth-consecutive ticket for Asherah Collins, the Knights opened the NCAA East Preliminary Rounds this afternoon at the Kentucky Outdoor Track and Field Stadium.

It was a good day for us on the track and on the field. We had Rayniah and Kiah advance to the next round. I was very happy for Asherah as she punched her ticket to the NCAA final site in the long jump.

Head coach Dana Boone

With two of the four athletes advancing to Saturday’s quarterfinals on the track, coach Dana Boone and her squad will look to continue some dominating first-round performances.

Here's what you need to know.

Who Punched Their Ticket?

With three consecutive qualifications to the National Championships in the triple jump, Collins showed her versatility this afternoon, punching her first ticket in the long jump. The senior placed eighth among a strong east regional field, securing a 6.25m mark in her third and final jump.

The Lake City, Florida, native has raised the bar this season, consistently setting personal bests en route to the east preliminary. Competing in flight four, Collins brushed off an early foul to advance with her third-best jump of the season.

Collins becomes the fifth athlete in program history to qualify for nationals in the event, joining multiple legends including former Knight Jasmine Scott-Kilgo who competed in Austin, Texas, a year ago. With another possible ticket on Saturday in the triple jump, she would become the first athlete in UCF history to qualify in both the long and triple jump in the same season.


Who Advanced to the Quarterfinals?

Jones was simply stunning in the 100m hurdles first round, leading 48 athletes with a season-best 12.72. The performance matches the Kentucky Outdoor Track and Field Stadium facility record, set by LSU's Kim Carson in 1996.

After winning the Big 12 title in the 100m hurdles at the Outdoor Championships earlier this month with a time of 12.78, Jones smashed her season best and continues to approach sub 12.70. The automatic qualification will give the eight-time All-American a chance at her fourth-consecutive ticket to the NCAA Outdoor Championships on Saturday at 6 p.m. ET. 

Joining Jones will be Kiah Williams, who was clinical in the sixth and final heat, advancing to the quarterfinals with an automatic qualification and a time of 51.62. Placing fourth overall, the reigning All-America honorable mention honoree in the event secured a strong path to nationals with a vibrant final 100m in lane two.

Other Notables

Freshman Y’Vette Harris concluded her remarkable debut season in Orlando with a respectable 39th-place finish in the 100m hurdles. Crossing the line at 13.72, Harris has all the tools to build upon her promising 2024 campaign.

Just missing out on Saturday's quarterfinal in the 100m, junior I’Asia Wilson clocked an 11.46 to place 26th overall in the first round. Her growth has been evident throughout the team’s inaugural season in the Big 12 and with personal bests set in the 100m and 200m, she’ll look to be right back in this position next year.

Saturday’s Schedule

  • 6 p.m. – 100m Hurdles Quarterfinal (Rayniah Jones)
  • 6 p.m. – Triple Jump (Asherah Collins)
  • 6:50 p.m. – 400m Quarterfinal (Kiah Williams)