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Knight Cap: Track continues progressing, spring golf tees off

Plus updates on both Tennis teams

Rayniah Jones
Rayniah Jones
Photo courtesy: UCF Athletics

The past week of UCF Knights sports saw one team continuing to raise the bar, another team beginning its spring season, and one other team continuing a rough start. Plus, we name the Knight of the Week in your latest Knight Cap for Thursday, February 10, 2022.


More record breaking and new personal bests for Track and Field

The UCF Track and Field team competed at the Charlie Thomas Invitational last weekend, hosted by Texas A&M.

Some highlights from the action in College Station include:

- Redshirt senior Brittany Floyd broke the program pentathlon record again, with 3,865 points. She surpassed her own 3,825-point performance two weeks ago. She finished 4th overall.

- Junior Kaylor Harris captured the bronze in the 60-meter hurdles. Redshirt senior Selena Wright also made the final for the Knights, finishing in 8th.

- Freshman I’Asia Wilson set a new personal best in the 60-meter dash final (7.42 seconds) en route to a 3rd-place finish. The winner of the event was UCF Knights as well, but more on that in the “Knight of the Week” section.

For more results from the Charlie Thomas Invitational, check out UCF Athletics’ Day 1 and Day 2 recaps or view the results on flashresults.com.

The team returns to Clemson on Friday and Saturday to compete in the Tiger Paw Invitational.


Women’s Tennis splits weekend

The No. 18-ranked UCF Women’s Tennis team rebounded from a 5-2 Friday loss on the road to No. 7-ranked Virginia by sweeping Georgia Southern, 7-0, at home on Sunday.

The split of the weekend brings the team to 3-2 overall. However, both of those losses have come against ranked teams.

The now-No. 121-ranked Marie Mattel earned the lone point for the Knights against the Cavaliers that did not come from an opponent retirement.

The sweep of Georgia Southern gave now-No. 48-ranked senior Evgeniya Levashova and No. 65-ranked redshirt senior Valeriya Zeleva their first singles wins of the season.

Additionally, the weekend marked the first time this spring season that Levashova and Zeleva paired up in a doubles match. While their match with Georgia Southern went unfinished, they were leading 5-2 when the match was halted.

Also against Georgia Southern, freshman Sophia Biolay paired up with her third different doubles partner of the season, sophomore Jaleesa Leslie, to win her third doubles match of the season.

For more freshman success on the women’s tennis team, check out Knight of the Week.

The team will have this weekend off before returning to action on Feb. 18 with a 6 p.m. road match against LSU. Shortly after that, the team will have a two-day stint in south Florida to face Miami (FL) at noon on Sunday and Florida International at noon the following day.


Women’s Golf begins spring season at home event

The UCF Women’s Golf team opened its spring schedule with its home event, the UCF Challenge, this week at Eagle Creek Golf Club.

Junior Tunrada Piddon led the team, scoring a 207 (-9) on the tournament, the 4th-lowest 54-hole score in program history, to finish in a tie for 4th overall individually.

The team itself ended up coming in 11th place, with a combined score of 862 (-2) for the tournament. Wake Forest went on to take the team victory with a combined score of 819 (-45).

Freshman Zoe Allaux was the only other member of the team to finish under par, finishing in a tie for 40th place with a 214 (-2).

Click here to view the full tournament results.

The team is back in action on Feb. 20-22 for the Moon Golf Invitational in Melbourne.


Men’s Tennis swept by two ranked foes

The UCF Men’s Tennis team’s struggle against ranked teams continued last weekend after being swept 7-0 by then-No. 10 Wake Forest and 4-0 by then-No. 24 NC State.

The loss takes the team’s record down to 1-5.

After starting the season ranked No. 11, these two losses have dropped the Knights from the Top 25 ranking. Additionally, junior Trey Hilderbrand has fallen in the individual player ranking to No. 50.

However, while the team was unable to win a doubles point, the Knights have won some singular doubles matches that show some improvement in that facet of their play.

Hilderbrand and his latest doubles partner, freshman Cooper White, took down Wake Forest’s then-No. 19-ranked Jakob Schnaitter and Siddhant Banthia, 7-5.

Meanwhile, juniors Lleyton Cronje and Bogdan Pavel defeated NC State’s Yannai Barkai and Collin Shick, 6-3. This win propelled the duo to a 3-2 record on the season and is ranked the No. 41 doubles pair in the country.

For a more in-depth look at the Men’s and Women’s Tennis teams, click here.

The team hits the road once again this weekend to face off against unranked Florida State on Friday at 5:30 p.m. and No. 14-ranked Texas at 1 p.m. on Sunday.


Knights of the Week

Rayniah Jones, Track and Field

Sophomore Rayniah Jones rebounded from a setback to take the gold in another event on Day 2 of the Charlie Thomas Invitational in College Station.

Despite running the 7th-fastest time in her 60-meter hurdle preliminary heat race, it was not enough to win the heat and also not fast enough to qualify for the final.

Jones, who competed for NCAA Championships and at the Olympic Trials in the 100-meter hurdles, would miss the 60-meter hurdle final at the Charlie Thomas Invitational.

However, Jones did make the final in the 60-meter dash, and she made the most of it, taking 1st place. She was joined on the podium by fellow Knight I’Asia Wilson, who finished in 3rd.

On top of this, Jones set a new personal best in the 60-meter dash in the process with her 7.23-second winning time; and according to Jones on her Twitter account, she will soon beat this time as well.


Noel Saidenova, Women’s Tennis

True freshman Noel Saidenova had her arrival at UCF delayed due to complications acquiring a visa that stemmed from the COVID-19 pandemic, per head coach Bryan Koniecko.

So, for a true freshman player that has only been with the team for around a month and a player that started her season a combined 1-4 in singles and doubles matches, it makes her combined 4-0 record this weekend stand out all the more.

While her opponent in Virginia, Sofia Munera, retired from the match, Saidenova was leading at the time she did so (6-4, 4-6, 4-3). She also defeated Sophie Wagemaker of Georgia Southern (6-1, 6-2).

In doubles play, Saidenova paired up with redshirt junior Nandini Sharma for the first time against Virginia’s Amber O’Dell and Sara Ziodato and won 6-3.

Two days later, she paired up with a new partner once again, this time sophomore Nadja Bay Christians. The duo defeated Georgia Southern’s Nadja Meier and Silvia Martinez 6-2.

While she may not have had the most ideal beginning to her UCF tennis career, this true freshman showcased great positive strides in her development this weekend.