Both Jackie Coward and Octavious Freeman came up just short of medaling and the UCF Knights track & field team fell short of its goal of placing within the top 10, finishing 19th at the NCAA Outdoor Championships over the weekend in Des Moines, Iowa.
The national championship appearance capped a 2012 campaign that saw the program finish eighth at the Indoor Championships earlier this spring, win its third consecutive Conference USA Outdoor championship and rank as high as No. 13 in the nation.
UCF was represented by six student-athletes in Iowa; Coward, Freeman, Aurieyall Scott, Sheila Paul, Sonnisha Williams and Jacquelyn Gilchrist.
Coward and Freeman emerged from the pack to earn All-America First Team honors by advancing to the finals in their events.
The two athletes, senior and freshman standouts, respectively, seemed a good shot to medal but it was not to be.
Coward competed in the 100-hurdle, barely missing the opportunity to attain a medal by finishing in fourth place.
Freeman also just missed the chance, placing fourth in the 200-meter competition.
The No. 19 finish marked the program’s second straight top-20 finish.
Although head coach Caryl Smith Gilbert’s team fell short of its desired top-10 finish, it capped off an extremely successful season.
UCF recorded a total of seven All-America honors at the NCAA Championships while maintaining its national ranking throughout the duration of the season.
Coward, Freeman and Scott will represent UCF at the U.S. Olympic Trials, which start June 22 in Oregon.
The three will look to become the Knights’ first Olympic track & field athletes.
UCF’s Stricklin honored by Orlando Business Journal
Brad Stricklin, the senior associate athletic director and chief financial officer for UCF Athletics, was honored last week by the Orlando Business Journal.
Stricklin received the publication’s top annual honor for nonprofit CFOs. Stricklin was recognized for putting UCF Athletics in a position to continue to grow its budget, a key factor in UCF reception of a bid to the Big East Conference, which the program will move to in the fall of 2013.
“I really appreciated just being nominated,” Stricklin said in a release. “But to win the award is quite an honor … Consistency is a key. We’ve had our staff in place for many years; we work really well together.”