Remarkable. Unprecedented. Incredible. Exceptional. Incomparable.
Call it whatever you want – the No. 12 UCF track and field team made history on Sunday night as the first women’s program in Conference USA history to win four-straight outdoor championships.
The Knights capped their dynasty as the queens of C-USA with arguably their best all-around performance ever at a championship meet. They scored a program-best 167 points – outscoring runner-up SMU by 67.5 points — while hauling in 17 medals, six of which were gold.
As a result, Aurieyall Scott and Alexis Faulknor shared the honor of High Point Scorer. Scott earned the distinction for the third-straight year, and her reign stands as the most by a male or female athlete since C-USA started bestowing the award in 2007.
Faulknor also defended her title as Freshman of the Meet, joining the elite company of Scott (2011) and Octavious Freeman (2012) in sweeping the award at both the indoor and outdoor championships. During her time in Houston, she became the first freshman in conference history to win the long jump, won gold with the 4×100 relay and picked up a bronze medal in the 200 meters.
Caryl Smith Gilbert was named the Outdoor Coach of the Year for the fourth time, matching Houston’s Leroy Burrell for the most distinctions by one coach of a women’s program in conference history.
Not to be lost in the mix, three school records were either broken or matched. Most notably, sophomore Sandy Jean tied former Knight Jackie Coward’s C-USA Championship meet record and UCF school record in the 400 hurdles with a personal best 57.59. She jumped in the NCAA standings to No. 13.
Junior Afia Charles shattered her own 400-meter school record with a new personal-best 52.49 to deliver a gold medal for the team, capturing her first outdoor individual championship in the process. She now ranks 14th in the country this year.
Charles and Jean along with Freeman and Ne’Ausha Logan tied UCF’s 4×400 relay school record (3:36.37) to breach the NCAA East Region’s top 20 and secure the silver medal.
While the record-breaking performances certainly stood out, the Knights executed flawlessly all day.
The 4×100 relay squad bested the competition by more than a second to claim gold. Freeman, Scott, Faulknor and Charles combined to finish in 43.48, leaping their current No. 3 time in the NCAA. UCF continues to be the only program nationally besides Texas A&M to boast two 4×100 squads in the top 10 this year.
Just like their run through the 60 meters at the indoor championships, Scott, Freeman and Faulknor swept the 200-meter podium. Scott repeated as the gold medalist for the third-straight year with her best wind-legal time of the season, 23.06 (-0.2). Freeman clinched silver for the second-straight year, crossing the line in 23.24. Faulknor ran a season-best 23.60 for bronze.
The trio’s outing in the 100 meters didn’t disappoint either. Freeman defender her title as reigning champion with a time of 11.18. Scott matched her best time of the season (11.27) despite the headwind for second place and Faulknor barely missed third place by copying her season-best 11.54.
Logan and Erica Winston came through with silver and bronze finishes, respectively, in the 800 meters. As the defending champion, Logan clocked 2:07.04 and Winston, who had never finished higher than 11th in the event at the outdoor championships, earned her first individual medal with a time of 2:09.83.
Nine of UCF’s 11 points in the triple jump came from first-time competitors this season. In just her second collegiate attempt at the event, junior Jen Clayton earned her second medal of the meet with a bronze-finish leap of 12.58m/41-03.25 (+1.2).
Scott, who also competed in the event for just the second time of her career, scored points for the second-straight year sixth place (12.12m/39-09.25; +0.7), and freshman Shemael Hamilton scored points in seventh place by posting 11.87m/38-11.50 (+0.5).
Freshman high jumper Allison Lampert shined with a personal-best performance to claim fourth place, clearing 1.75m/5-08.75. Senior Sonnisha Williams also notched a point in the event by leaping 1.70m/5-07 for eighth place.
The throwers continued to perform well as freshman Megan Patterson led the charge with a collegiate-best 14.49m/47-06.50 for sixth place. Precious Ogunleye (14.42m/47-03.75) also scored points in seventh and junior Destinee Romain threw a personal-record 14.17m/46-06.
After her gutsy third-place run in the 10K on Friday night, Anne-Marie Blaney scored points in the 5000 meters and just missed out on the podium in fourth place with a time of 16:41.11.
The meet will air on Fox Sports Network on tape delay with the earliest showing scheduled for Friday. A complete listing of the channels and broadcast times can be found at the top of this story.
The Knights now set their sights on the NCAA East Preliminary Round in Greensboro, N.C., March 23-25. The list of accepted entries will be announced on Thursday, May 16.