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Knight Cap: Spring Has Sprung

UCF Track and Field begins Indoor Season

Noah Goldberg

Basketball is no longer alone on the UCF Athletics calendar.

This past week, the UCF Knights of other spring sports got their first action of 2023 underway.

Plus, we name the Knight of the Week and the Knights Play of the Week in your first Knight Cap of the New Year on Tuesday, January 17, 2023.

Men’s Basketball Falls Short to Tulane

Fresh off a win in a double-overtime gauntlet against Memphis, the UCF Men’s Basketball team got to within three points of Tulane with about three minutes left in the game. However, the Knights (13-5, 4-2 AAC) ultimately fell to the Green Wave, 77-69.

The loss came despite a career performance from guard Tyem Freeman, who set a new career high with 22 points in his first start of the season. It was also just the second start of his career, the last one also coming in New Orleans against the Green Wave back in March 2022.

Forward Taylor Hendricks achieved his 4th double-double of the season thanks to 11 rebounds and 15 points after going 5-8 from the floor (2-4 from beyond the arc) and 3-4 from the free-throw line.

The loss kept UCF ranked No. 43 in the NET rankings. The team will have a week’s rest before traveling down I-4 to take on South Florida on Saturday at noon. The Bulls are 6th in the AAC in both scoring offense and defense and have one of the conference’s top three-point shooters in Tyler Harris and one of the conference’s top rebounders Russel Tchewa.

Track and Field Begins Indoor Season

The UCF Track and Field team kicked off its Indoor season last week with the Jimmy Carnes Invitational in Gainesville.

The Knights took home 19 podium finishes on the day, alongside athletes setting 11 new personal records.

Amongst the podium finishes are:

  • Senior Jasmine Scott-Kilgo took home 1st place in the Long Jump with a 5.88-meter (19 ft. 3.5 in.) best jump.
  • Junior Rayniah Jones (8.29 seconds), senior Kaylor Harris (8.42 seconds), and sophomore Alicia Coleman (8.72, a new personal record) made it an all-UCF podium for the 60-meter hurdles.
  • Alabama transfer Daija Lampkin (7.41 seconds) and Colorado State transfer Janyah Jasper (7.42 seconds, a personal record) took home 1st and 2nd place in the 60-meter dash.
  • Junior Beyonce Defreitas took the victory in the 400-meter dash with a 56.92-second time.
  • Jones (24.49 seconds), Jasper (24.86 seconds), sophomore Kiah Williams (24.90 seconds), and junior Ani Wells (25.25 seconds) swept the Top 4 spots in the 200-meter dash.
  • Sophomore Asherah Collins got the win in the Triple Jump with a 12.94-meter (42 ft. 5.5 in.) best jump.
  • Williams, Defreitas, Lampkin, and junior Latasha Smith got the top spot in the 4x400-meter relay with a 3:41.6 time.

The full results of the Jimmy Carnes Invitational on Half-Mile Timing.

The team will divide and conquer this week, with the sprinters heading to Lubbock, Texas for the Red Raider Open, while the rest of the team will be in Nashville, Tennessee for the Vanderbilt Invitational. Both events are set to start on Friday, Jan. 20.

Men’s Golfer Finishes Runner-Up at Latin American Amateur

A couple of UCF golfers vied for a spot in the Masters this weekend in the Latin American Amateur Championship.

5th-year Luis Carrera, a native Mexican, finished in the runner-up spot in the tournament with a 269 (-19) after four rounds. He came four strokes shy of champion Mateo Fernandez de Oliveira, an Arkansas senior and native Argentinean.

Carrera was joined at the Grand Reserve Golf Club in Puerto Rico by another Knight, redshirt sophomore Juan Camilo Vesga, a Columbian native. Vesga finished his tournament with a 288 (E), putting him in a tie for 29th.

Both golfers will be back in action for the Knights on Feb. 5, when the UCF Men’s Golf team begins its spring season.

Women’s Tennis Freshman Competes in Naples Pro Event

The UCF Women’s Tennis dual-match season does not get underway for a few more days, but that does not stop some Knights from getting playing time through various International Tennis Federation events.

True freshman Jantje Tilbuerger competed in a W25 event in Naples last week, getting a victory in the first round of the qualifying draw. She upset Great Britain’s Emily Appleton, (7-6 (3), 7-6 (2)), who was ranked No. 485 in the Women’s Tennis Association’s (WTA) rankings at the time. For comparison, Tilbuerger ranked No. 830.

Tilbuerger ultimately fell in the second round of the qualifying draw to North Carolina graduate Makenna Jones, (6-4, 7-5) who ranked No. 578 in the WTA rankings at the time.

Now moved up two spots to No. 828, Tilbuerger is slated for one more ITF W25 event in Boca Raton this week before the UCF Women’s Tennis team’s dual match season begins on Jan. 21 with a matchup against Stetson. Also slated to compete in that tournament is fellow Knight Noel Saidenova.

Knight of the Week

Tyem Freeman, Men’s Basketball

Eric Lopez said on the Black and Gold Banneret Podcast that Tyem Freeman was a guy to watch. On Saturday, his words proved prophetic.

Fresh off his contributions in the overtime thriller that was the Memphis game, Freeman followed it up with the 2nd start of his career and set a new career-high at 22 points. His basket ended up being the one that brought the Knights to within three points of the Green Wave late in the game.

With Darius Johnson sidelined, Freeman was a player that had to step up in his place, and step up he has.

Play of the Week

Tyem Freeman scores from the paint to set a new career high