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Friday April 6, 2012 Florida's 1992 NCAA champion women's track team to be honored Saturday at Florida Relays

Updated: 7:52am, April 6

The memories unexpectedly rushed through LaTanya Wynn-Hall’s head on a trip back to UF’s campus to watch her nephew compete. They were woken up when she looked up and saw the banner at the O’Connell Center honoring the Gators’ 1992 NCAA Indoor champion women’s track and field team.

Had it really been 20 years?

UF women's track in 1992

The Gators, after five seasons of building toward the ultimate goal under then-head coach Beverly Kearney, captured the school’s first national championship in men’s or women’s track – it remains the only one for the women’s program – in Indianapolis.

“That was a dynamic team,’’ said Wynn-Hall, a graduate assistant coach on the team. “They literally worked four years for that national title. They had won three SEC titles but had not won the Big Dance.”

It looked as if the Gators might fall short again on the first day of competition when senior Michelle Freeman, the favorite in the 55-meter hurdles, finished a disappointing fourth. Meanwhile, teammate Monifa Taylor fell down in the semifinals and didn’t even make it to the finals.

Those were points the Gators expected to gain but didn’t.

No worries. Kearney, who left after the season to become head coach at Texas, had built a deep roster. The Gators scored enough points (50) to nearly double the total of second-place Stanford (26) to leave Indianapolis with the national title.

Leah Kirklin (triple jump) won her second consecutive individual national title, Nekita Beasley finished second in the 800 meters, and Beasley, Freeman, Anita Howard and Kim Mitchell teamed up to win the 1,600-meter relay with a school-record time of 3:33.10.

Mission accomplished. The victory was the first of 18 national team titles for the Gators’ athletic program since Jeremy Foley took over as athletic director in March 1992.

“That’s the pinnacle,’’ said Wynn-Hall, a former standout at Virginia known as LaTanya Wynn back then. “We went in there as No. 1 and got the points we needed to make it happen.”

The moment was also the pinnacle of Wynn-Hall’s coaching career. When Kearney left for Texas a couple of months later Wynn-Hall opted to embark on a career in children’s social services rather than coaching. She recently returned to Gainesville after many years in Jacksonville and will be all smiles on Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m. when the ’92 Gators are honored at Percy Beard Track during the Florida Relays.

After seeing that banner at the O-Dome, Wynn-Hall became the driving force to get the team back together for a special occasion. A phone call here, countless Facebook searches there, and more than a dozen members of the team will be recognized Saturday.

It really has been 20 years.

“I think there is going to be a sense of pride,’’ Wynn-Hall said. “Most of the ladies coming in now are wives and mothers who are bringing their children. All of these young ladies graduated from Florida and they are now professionals, from teachers to real estate agents to an athletic director at her high school.

“There’s a lot of pride in what that team accomplished and they now can share it with their kids and families.”

Thanks to research done by Florida track sports information director Amanda Brooks and her student staff, here is a list of those scheduled to be recognized on Saturday:

Assistant Coaches:

Patricia Davis

Monica O'Reilly

LaTanya Wynn-Hall

 Athletes:

Anita Howard Prather

  • UF Sports Hall of Fame (F Club) Inductee
  • Former Olympian
  • NCAA Indoor 1,600 Relay Champion (1992)
  • NCAA Outdoor 1,600 Relay Champion (1990, 1992)
  • NCAA Outdoor 400 Champion (1992)
  • Indoor All-American:
    • 1989: 55 – sixth; 200 – fifth
    • 1990: 55 – second; 200 – third; 1,600 relay
    • 1991: 55; 1,600 relay
    • 1992: 55 – fifth; 1,600 relay – first
  • Outdoor All-American:
    • 1989: 100 – fourth; 200 – seventh
    • 1990: 1,600 relay – first
    • 1991: 100 – seventh; 1,600 relay – second
    • 1992: 400 – first; 400 relay – second; 1,600 relay – first
  • SEC Indoor 55 Champion (1990)
  • SEC Outdoor 1,600 Relay Champion (1990, 1991)

 Kimberly Mitchell Jones

  • NCAA Indoor 1,600 Relay Champion (1992)
  • NCAA Outdoor 1,600 Relay Champion (1990, 1992)
  • Indoor All-American:
    • 1990: 1,600 Relay
    • 1991: 200 – seventh; 1,600 Relay
    • 1992: 1,600 Relay – first
    • 1993: 400 – fifth; 1,600 Relay – third
  • Outdoor All-American:
    • 1990: 1,600 Relay – first
    • 1991: 1,600 Relay – second
    • 1992: 400 Relay – second; 1,600 Relay – first
  • SEC Outdoor 1,600 Relay Champion (1990, 1991)

 Leah Kirklin Anderson

  • UF Sports Hall of Fame (F Club) Inductee
  • NCAA Indoor Triple Jump Champion (1991, 1992)
  • NCAA Outdoor Triple Jump Champion (1992)
  • Indoor All American – Triple Jump (1991, 1992 first, 1993 second)
  • Outdoor All-American – Triple Jump (1991 third, 1992 first, 1993 third)
  • SEC Indoor Triple Jump Champion (1990, 1992)
  • SEC Outdoor Triple Jump Champion (1991, 1992)

 Monifa Taylor

  • Olympics alternate (4th place at Olympic Trials)
  • NCAA Indoor 55H Champion (1993)
  • Indoor All-American
    • 1991: 55H – third
    • 1993: 55H – first; 1,600 Relay - third
  • Outdoor All-American
    • 1992: 100H – fifth; 1,600 Relay – first
    • 1993: 100H – third
  • SEC Indoor 55H Champion (1993)

 Michelle Freeman

  • UF Sports Hall of Fame (F Club)  Inductee
  • Former Olympian, World Champion (Olympic bronze medalist in 1996, 4x100 relay)
  • NCAA Indoor 1,600 Relay Champion (1992)
  • NCAA Outdoor 100H Champion (1992)
  • NCAA Outdoor 1,600 Relay Champion (1992)
  • Indoor All-American
    • 1991: 55 – fifth
    • 1992: 55 – second; 55H – fourth; 1,600 Relay – first
  • Outdoor All-American
    • 1992: 100 – third; 100H – first; 400 Relay – second; 1,600 Relay - first
  • SEC Indoor 55 Champion (1991,1992)
  • SEC Indoor 55H Champion (1991,1992)
  • SEC Indoor 200 Champion (1992)
  • SEC Outdoor 100 Champion (1992)
  • SEC Outdoor 100H Champion (1992)

 Tasha Downing Hill

  • NCAA Outdoor 1,600 Relay Champion (1990)
  • Indoor All-American 1,600 Relay (1990, 1991, 1992)
  • Outdoor All-American
    • 1990: 400 – seventh; 1,600 Relay – first
    • 1991: 400 – fifth; 1,600 Relay – second
  • SEC Outdoor 1,600 Relay Champion (1990)
  • SEC Outdoor 400 Champion (1991)

 Dorchelle Webster

  • NCAA Outdoor 1,600 Relay Champion (1990)
  • Indoor All-American 1,600 Relay (1990)
  • Outdoor All-American
    • 1990: 400H – fourth; 1,600 Relay – first
  • SEC Outdoor 400H Champion (1989, 1990)
  • SEC Outdoor 1,600 Relay Champion (199)

 Raelene Carter Lawless

  • SEC Outdoor Discus Champion (1990)

 Maria Galloni Czyzewski

  • Indoor All-American High Jump (1990 sixth, 1991 fifth)
  • Outdoor All-American High Jump (1992 seventh)
  • SEC Indoor High Jump Champion (1990, 1991, 1992)
  • SEC Outdoor High Jump Champion (1990, 1991, 1992)

 Angela Fitts Holloway

  • Indoor All-American
    • 1996: 1,600 Relay; DMR
  • Outdoor All-American
    • 1996: 1,600 Relay – third

SEC Outdoor 1,600 Relay Champion (1996)

 Lisa Rhodes

  • Indoor and Outdoor All-American in Triple Jump
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