Track & field completes C-USA trifecta
No.14 UCF Knights win third consecutive Conference USA Outdoor championship
Published: Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Updated: Friday, May 18, 2012 21:05
The No. 14 UCF Knights track & field team hauled in nine gold medals en route to winning its third consecutive Conference USA Outdoor championship on Sunday.
The Knights finished the meet with 160 team points, defeating runner-up and C-USA Indoor champion East Carolina (132.16) by nearly 28 points.
In addition to the nine gold medals, UCF racked up 18 all-conference honors. Freshman standout Octavious Freeman was honored as Freshman of the Meet, sophomore Aurieyall Scott was named High Point Scorer of the Meet for the second straight year and head coach Caryl Smith Gilbert was recognized as Coach of the Year for the third consecutive year.
For Smith Gilbert, this win may have been the sweetest.
“This is probably the best one because … everybody came through big,” Smith Gilbert said in a release. “It was more exciting to have everybody in every event contribute to the championship.”
Freeman ran an impressive 11.09 in her first-place performance in the 100 meters, setting a meet, school, freshman and personal record.
Senior Jackie Coward won the 100 meter hurdles and 400 meter hurdles. Coward, who was Smith Gilbert’s first All-American recruit and has had the most decorated career of any UCF track athlete, will be particularly difficult to replace in performance and leadership once the season draws to a close.
“It is sad to see her go, but it’s great to see her [Coward] go out like this,” Smith Gilbert said.
The 4x100 relay team took home the gold with a time of 43.47, a top-15 time in the NCAA this year.
The Knights may have been dominant in the sprints and hurdles events, but they also picked up plenty of points in some of the other events, with Tomika Story, Sonnisha Williams, Ne’Ausha Logan, Satrina Oliveiria and Precious Ogunleye all turning in notable performances.
Following the conference championship, UCF jumped up four spots in the national polls, from No. 18 to No. 14 on Monday. The Knights have now been among the nation’s top ranked squads for 22 weeks in a row, since April 26, 2011.
UCF gets a week off to rest before participating in the NCAA Championships East Preliminary on May 24-26 in Jacksonville. The official field for the East Preliminary will be announced today.