This Friday, Afia Charles-Wilson (2011-2014) becomes the first-ever UCF Knight in the sports of Track and Field to be inducted into the UCF Athletics Hall of Fame.
It is not the first time Charles has done something that no other UCF Knights track and field athlete has done. Charles is UCF’s first track and field Olympian, as she represented Antigua and Barbuda at the London 2012 Summer Olympics in the women’s 400 meters, 28 years after her mother, Ruperta, a native of Antigua, competed at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles in the 100 meters, and 200 meters, and the 4×400 meter relay.
“My sister has always been a role model to me…she is a competitor in everything she does whether that’s running on the track or playing Monopoly at home (lol).” said Afia’s sister, Kaila Charles, who plays for the Connecticut Sun of the WNBA.
“She always wanted to excel in everything she did. I vividly remember when I use to go in her room to look through her stuff when she wasn’t home (because that’s what little sisters do lol) and I would be in awe by her bookshelf that housed all the trophies, medals, and rings she won from running track. And I would say to myself, ‘Wow, I want to be a champion like my sister.’ Whether she knows it or not, that was one of my motivating factors in basketball: to be a champion on every level just like my sister.”
Afia’s husband is Torrian Wilson (2010-2014) who was a teammate of Blake Bortles, who is also getting inducted into the same UCF Hall of Fame class as Charles on Friday Night.
“Words can not explain how proud I am of the things Afia has accomplished and continues to accomplish,” said Wilson, who started on the offense line on the Knights’ 2013 Fiesta Bowl team that beat Baylor and won the AAC Championship.
“All of the extra work that she has put in day in and day out has paid off. Being inducted into the hall of fame is the greatest honor for any kid that decides to get into sports and you did it. I’m blessed to call you my wife, I love you and congrats again,” said Wilson.
During her time at UCF from 2011-2014, Charles was a 2011 NCAA Indoor All-American (4x400 Relay), 2013 NCAA Outdoor All-American (4x100 Relay), and 2014 NCAA Outdoor All-American (4x400 Relay). She was a member of the 2014 UCF 4x400 meter relay team that advanced the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Oregon. That squad crossed the line in 3:35.42 to place 15th, making them Second Team All-Americans. That team — Sandy Jean, Jen Clayton, Ashley Jocelyn, and Charles — also recorded a school-record time of 3:32.59 at the American Athletic Conference Championships.
“As a former Knight and coach of Afia Charles, I am so proud of her Hall of Fame induction. From day one, Afia made a commitment to UCF to be excellent academically and athletically,” said former UCF Track and Field Head Coach Caryl Smith Gilbert (2008-2013), who brought Afia to UCF.
“She came to UCF, set goals, made the Deans’s List several times, achieved numerous All-American accolades, established school records and was a team leader at every turn! Student-athletes such as Afia Charles are hard to find and I am honored that I had the opportunity to be her coach at UCF because she’s a phenomenal woman,” said Gilbert, who is currently the Director of both the Men’s and Women’s Track and Field teams at Georgia.
Charles was part of the Knights’ three outdoor C-USA Championships (2011-2013) as well as two indoor C-USA Championship teams (2011, 2013). Charles helped UCF finish 5th in 2013 NCAA Championships as the Knights became the first non-P5 program since 2000 to earn a top-five finish at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. Charles was a member of the 4x100 relay squad that set a new school record in the prelims and finished as the runners-up in the finals.
During her time at UCF, Charles was also the president of UCF Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.
Now Charles can add another title to her incredible resume: UCF Hall of Famer.
For more information on UCF Athletic Hall of Fame. Check out our special edition of “Knight Shift” where broke down this year’s class and look towards the future.