Track Top 5: Kansas, A&M, Oregon, LSU, UCF
Knights earn best finish by non-BCS program in 13 years
The 2013 UCF track and field team has a habit of writing and rewriting history. It comes as no surprise, then, that the Knights capped their ground-breaking season Saturday as a top-5 team at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
With 35 points, the Knights earned the best finish by a non-BCS team since 2000 (BYU, 4th place). They more than doubled their previous program-best point total (16 points, 2011) at an NCAA Outdoor Championship meet to take fifth place behind perennial powers national champion Kansas, Texas A&M, Oregon and LSU.
“This is the best finish in UCF history so I’m very excited about it,” UCF head coach Caryl Smith Gilbert said. “It was a big year. It was an exciting year. It was a year full of surprises. More than the finishes, the records and the championships – all of the things and injuries we overcame is (an even bigger deal) to me. Everyone stepped up and pulled through. Everyone on the team started believing that we could make things happen.”
UCF entered the final day of competition with three scoring opportunities up for grabs in the 4×100 relay and 200 meters.
Alexis Faulknor, Aurieyall Scott, Afia Charles and Octavious Freeman finished runner-up to SEC Champion Texas A&M in the relay with their time of 43.36. Freeman blitzed down the final stretch, blowing by the field while hunting down the Aggies to give the Knights their best relay finish at the meet in school history, first team All-America status and eight points toward the team standings.
Roughly 30 minutes later, Freeman and Scott were at the blocks again ready to challenge LSU’s Kimberlyn Duncan – the two-time defending champion – in the 200-meter finals. Although Duncan successfully repeated, Scott earned her best finish in an individual outdoor championship final with her third-place, all-conditions personal-best of 22.48 (+3.5).
The NCAA indoor 60-meter national champion collected three first team All-American honors at this year’s meet, bringing her career total to an unparalleled 14 distinctions.
Freeman finished seventh in the race in 22.92, also picking up her third first team All-American honor of the meet. She now boasts nine career awards.
Throughout the four-day meet, the Knights brought in four medalist performances from Jen Clayton (long jump), Scott (200M), Freeman (100M) and the 4×100 relay in front of a combined attendance of 40,446.
Several Knights will set their sights on the Junior and Senior USA Outdoor Championships in Des Moines, Iowa, held June 20-23.