With a time of 12.82 seconds, UCF redshirt freshman Rayniah Jones finished runner-up in the NCAA Women’s 100-meter Hurdles National Championship.
In doing so, she became the first 1st-Team All-American Outdoor Track and Field athlete for UCF since 2013 and the best finisher in a hurdle event in school history at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
Jones said that she did not see anyone in her peripheral vision as she crossed the finish line, which gave her a gut feeling about where she finished.
“I definitely had a feeling I finished second,” Jones said. “That’s why I was really looking at the board like that, because I was like, ‘Let me see if my gut was right.’”
Jones’ performance in the Final was a bit different from how she normally had been running races this season, according to track and field head coach Dana Boone.
“Normally, we get out and then we might press a little bit and have problems with the hurdles late in the race,” Boone said. “This time, she maybe got a bit of a slower start, but she was patient and she made some corrections on the end that helped her move better through hurdles eight, nine, and 10. We didn’t hit any hurdles and we didn’t press at the end, and so she came up second.”
Meanwhile, freshman Asherah Collins finished 23rd overall in the Triple Jump Finals with a best jump of 42-½ feet, or 12.81 meters, earning her All-American status. Collins said that she had an amazing experience in Eugene, Oregon, and aims to be back next season. In the meantime, she said she will be honing her craft over, improving her jumping in the offseason, and training a part of her body that’s been giving her trouble this season.
“I’m definitely going to get my [hamstring] together, because I’ve had a lot of problems with this hammy throughout the season,” Collins said. “Strengthening it up this summer is a major goal.”
While Collins will be flying back to Orlando, Boone and Jones are not done in Oregon just yet. Back on April 24, Jones ran a 12.73-second time in the 100-meter hurdles at the Knights Invite. It not only broke school and conference records, but it also qualified her for the United States Olympic Trials.
Jones confirmed in a Twitter post that she will be participating in the trials, which will be held in the same venue as the NCAA Championships, Hayward Stadium, from June 18-27. Should Jones make the team, she would be the first UCF Track and Field athlete to participate in the Olympics since Afia Charles in the 2012 London Olympics.
“I just want to go out there and compete, have fun,” Jones said. “If I make the Olympic team, then I make the Olympic team. If I don’t, I’m just grateful for the experience.”
journey is FAR from over! olympic trials up next— (@RayniahJones) June 13, 2021
Charles was coached back then by then-track and field head coach Caryl Smith Gilbert. Coincidently, Boone said she was sitting next to Gilbert during the 100-meter hurdles final. Gilbert is now the USC Director of Track and Field and her athlete, USC senior Anna Cockrell, beat Jones to win the 100-meter Hurdle Championship with a time of 12.58 seconds.
The 1st Round of the Woman’s 100-meter hurdles at the Olympic Trials will be heldat 8:04 p.m. ET on June 19. NBC Sports Network is scheduled to broadcastthe trials at 8 p.m. ET on June 19, but with NBCUniversal’s tendency with Olympics-related coverage to broadcast events on a tape delay, it is uncertain if the event will be broadcasted live.
Stay tuned to the Black and Gold Banneret for updates on this matter.