Trio of Knights Qualify to National to Conclude NCAA East Preliminary Rounds

by Alex Clough

LEXINGTON, Kentucky – A trio of Knights rose to the occasion Saturday evening at the Kentucky Outdoor Track and Field Stadium, each securing tickets to the NCAA National Championships in Eugene, Oregon, next month.

From a pair of stellar outings on the track to runner-up placement in the triple jump, the group will now set sites on the historic Howard Field at the University of Oregon, each vying for All-America honors.

What a great day on the track and in the field for UCF! These seniors stepped up and got the job done today and we as a staff are very proud of what was accomplished. They all competed so well and you could tell they were hungry to return to Eugene.

Head coach Dana Boone

Who's Heading to Eugene?

In the quarterfinals, Jones was composed running in lane five of the first heat, securing an automatic qualification and a second-place finish with her time of 12.82. The graduate had a strong latter half and eventually placed fourth overall out of 24 qualified athletes.

With yet another big stage in Eugene awaiting, Jones has consistently performed at the nation’s premier facility. In 2021, she was runner-up at the national championship before competing at the United States Olympic Trials. Since, she’s made multiple trips including securing first-team All-America honors in the 4x100m relay in 2022.

With her ninth and final honor, Jones would match UCF legend Octavius Freeman, who still holds the 100m program record (10.87). 

Not long after Jones tallied her qualification, Williams followed suit in the 400m, clocking in at 51.49. After promising to open 300m, she turned on the jets during the final stretch to pass Kentucky’s Janiah Martin, placing third in a stacked hear and seventh overall.

A year after becoming the first athlete in program history to qualify for the national championships in the 400m, Williams will be making the journey to the big stage once again.

Collins’ breakthrough campaign in the long jump saw the senior secure her first ticket of the weekend on Thursday. This evening, for the fourth consecutive season, she qualified in the triple jump a season-best 13.44m mark on her third and final attempt. The performance pushed Collins into second place, a strong finish ahead of Eugene.

The Lake City, Florida, native makes history, becoming the first athlete in program history to secure bids in both the long and triple jump during the same season. One of two Knights to qualify in the event, Collins joins Jones in being among a rare few the advance to four straight outdoor national championships.