The UCF track and field team witnessed eight personal records fall and six first-place finishes with numerous marks that rank among the nation’s elite in its outdoor season opener Saturday at the UCF Black and Gold Challenge.
“Today was a good starting point for the season and we’re going to build off of this meet,” UCF head coach Caryl Smith Gilbert said.
UCF shined in the 100 Meters by recording the top-three finishes with times that all rank among the top 10 in the nation at time of publication. Sophomore Dominique Booker led the way with a time of 11.74 (0.9), followed by Amanda Leland’s personal-best 11.76 (1.8) and Sheila Paul rounded out the trio with a time of 11.81 (0.9).
The Knights also clinched three of the top five spots in the 200 Meters with marks that rank among the nation’s top 10. Sheila Paul emerged as UCF’s best finisher of eight competitors with a second-place time of 23.75 (-0.3). Junior Sonnisha Williams fell in step behind her at 23.89 (-0.3) while Booker also finished among the top five with a time of 24.12 (-0.3).
Leland recorded a personal best 24.74 (-0.1) in the race for 10th place and Jen Clayton won her heat with a time of 24.76 for 11th place.
Sophomore Afia Charles came up with a first-place time of 53.73 which currently leads the country in the 400 Meters.
UCF’s jumps crew represented the Knights well by taking gold in both the triple jump and long jump. Jacquelyn Gilchrist bested her personal record in the long jump with a leap of 6.17m/20-03 (0.8), which ranks second in the country, to defend her first-place finish from last year’s meet.
Tomika Story took first place in the triple jump with a wind-aided mark of 12.40m/40-08.25 (2.5). Gilchrist claimed second place in the event with a jump of 12.27m/40-03.25 (+0.0) to rank second in the country.
After clearing the bar and hitting the cushion on landing, Erica Weiss sprang up with a smile on her face and clapped her hands to celebrate her new personal best in the pole vault with a mark of 3.77m/12-04.50. The junior bested her competitor by more than two feet to rank among the top 15 in the country.
Sophomore Destinee Romain earned two third-place finishes on the day in the hammer and the shot put. She topped her personal best in the hammer by nearly 40 feet, recording 48.74/159-11 before posting 12.85m/42-02 in the shot.
In her first collegiate hammer throw appearance, Precious Ogunleye posted a mark of 45.47m/149-02 to fall less than a foot shy of the UCF freshman record. Ogunleye also finished third in the discus with a toss of 42.40m/139-1.
UCF’s distance crew saw a number of personal-best performances. Freshman Cody Castillo had a memorable debut in her first collegiate outdoor meet with two personal-best outings. Castillo earned fourth place to pace five Knights in the 1500 Meters with a time of 4:44.60. She followed that up with a personal record 2:20.28 in the 800 Meters for 10th place.
Jessica Pachay ran a personal best 19:27.08 for fourth place in the 5000 Meters. Erica Winston took fourth place in the 800 Meters with a time of 2:13.84 to qualify as UCF’s best finisher in the race.
UCF’s 4×100 Relay team of Christal Peterson, Tyler Smith, Clayton and Leland combined to run a fourth-place time of 44.84, which at the time of publication ranked sixth in the nation.
UCF closed out the day with the top 4×400 Relay performance as Charles, sophomore Aurieyall Scott, freshman Christal Peterson and sophomore Erica Winston combined to clock 3:42.78, which ranks third in the nation.
Up next, the Knights will host the UCF Invitational on Friday and Saturday. Saturday will also serve as Senior Day to recognize the Knights’ outstanding Class of 2012.