After capturing both the conference indoor and outdoor titles in the same season for the first time since 2013, seven athletes made the trip to Oregon’s Hayward Stadium with head coach Dana Boone to compete in five events.
“This has been a storybook season,” Boone said. “I always say every year I’m going to the national championship, it’s just a matter of who’s coming with me, and they all told me they weren’t going to be left out and they definitely did not disappoint.”
Rayniah Runs It Back
Sophomore Rayniah Jones, in her second trip to the national championships, competed in two events. She served as the opening runner on the 4x100-meter relay team and returned to her signature event, the 100-meter hurdles, where she captured the silver medal last season.
Jones made her second-straight appearance in the Final of the 100-meter hurdles thanks to a 12.95-second time in her semifinal heat.
However, her run in the Final ended with her disqualification due to a “Lead Leg Violation” of NCAA Rule 15.6-2a. The rule states that a competitor that “advances or trails a leg or foot outside the hurdle width and below the top horizontal plane or plane extended of the hurdle” will be disqualified.
“It was unfortunate, and we’re obviously frustrated, but it’s water under the bridge,” Boone said. “She’s had a phenomenal season and we’ll bounce back and we’ll be back next year.”
Some unfortunate news from the @NCAATrackField— Bryson Turner (@itsBrysonTurner) June 12, 2022
Track and Field Championships:
Looking back at the 100-meter hurdle results, #UCF's @RayniahJones was disqualified from the race due to a Lead Leg Violation. https://t.co/zrS9FHaILb pic.twitter.com/ZjbYQ26vaB
Despite qualifying to compete in the 100-meter hurdles in the USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships later this month, Jones has elected not to compete, per UCF Athletics.
Jones commented on her time in Eugene, which has brought her 2022 season to a close, in an Instagram post on Sunday.
“to my 2022 track season: thanks for showing me what it’s like to face adversity and most importantly overcoming it,” Jones said. “this sport isn’t linear and it’s full of highs and lows. your perspective is important and how you view yourself is more important.”
Going Out an All-American
While Jones did not take home hardware for the 100-meter hurdles, that does not mean she came back to Orlando empty-handed.
Jones, alongside senior Ciara Holback, sophomore Beyonce Defreitas, and freshman I’Asia Wilson, were named First Team All-Americans after taking seventh place in the 4x100-meter relay final.
This is the team’s second time making it to NCAA Outdoor Championships under Boone’s four-season tenure, but it’s the first time the team has made the final in the event since the team’s silver-medal finish in 2013.
“Since I’ve gotten here, that’s one thing I wanted to do is to get people on the podium,” Boone said. “Last year, it was Rayniah on the podium, and this year I was hoping to come back and get a couple more people on the podium.”
The team’s 43.22-second semifinal time clocked in as the second-fastest 4x100-meter relay time in program history, while its 43.69-second final landed as the eighth-fastest. The quartet now lay claim to three of the Top 10 fastest 4x100-meter relay times in program history.
It also marks the final collegiate appearance of Holback.
“I’m coming off the track like it was the best feeling ever,” Holback said. “I’m happy to retire, happy to be done with this work because I accomplished all that I wanted to accomplish.”
I’m so thankful that you have been a part of this program! You leave as a two time Conference Team Champion and a 2 x All-American. We made a goal to get here and leave with some hardware. Mission accomplished. Now go be great in life! @13eautyyy love ya Cici! pic.twitter.com/MMdjOE1PRH— Dana Boone (@CoachDanaB) June 12, 2022
Thank you Brittany for being a Knight and all that you contributed to this team!!! https://t.co/Z4CjM3XMms— Dana Boone (@CoachDanaB) June 12, 2022
Senior Brittany Floyd, UCF’s first-ever heptathlete to make it to the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, also closed out her collegiate career with an All-American designation.
The UAB transfer came back from 22nd overall in the standings after Day 1 to capture Top 15 finishes in the final three events to take 16th place overall, earning her Second Team All-American honors.
“I’m coming in as the underdog, there’s really no pressure,” Floyd said. “There’s nothing to prove. So, just knowing that I had to put the numbers up and knowing what I had to do and do it.”
“Little Bits of History”
On her second trip to Hayward Field, sophomore Asherah Collins improved on her previous Triple Jump marks.
Collins’ 12.88-meter (42 ft. 3.25 in.) best jump, a 0.07-meter improvement on her last best jump in Hayward Field, was enough for her to land 17th-place. It was an improvement on her 23rd-place position from last year, though one spot shy of Second-Team All-American status.
While Collins made history last year as the first Triple Jumper to travel to the NCAA Track and Field Outdoor Championships, sophomore Adrienne Adams became the first Discus Thrower to make it there this year.
She finished 21st overall with a 46.06-meter (151 ft. 1 in.) best throw.
Whether it’s with an athlete’s performance, or simply their work to get them this far, Boone said the team has continued to make “little bits of history” this season. Last weekend’s Championships were no exception.
“As long as we’ve come in and improved, we’re moving in the right direction,” Boone said. “I rate this as a good stepping stone for the future.”