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Kevkhishvili won the SEC shot put title with a toss of 17.05m/55-11.25

Saturday May 12, 2007Kevkhishvili Wins Shot Put to Lead Florida WT&F on Day Three of SEC Championships

TUSCALOOSA, Ala.

Kevkhishvili won the SEC shot put title with a toss of 17.05m/55-11.25

Freshman Mariam Kevkhishvili (Tbilisi, Georgia) became Florida’s first Southeastern Conference outdoor shot put champion since 2004 with the nation’s fifth-best throw and a personal best 17.05m/55-11.25 to lead the University of Florida women’s track and field squad on the third day of competition at the SEC Championship at Sam Bailey Stadium.

 

After six scored events, the Gators stand in second place with a total of 38 points. Georgia leads the competition with 48 points. Also scoring points for the Gators on Saturday was junior Lindsay Sundell (Fort Salonga, N.Y.) with a second-place finish in the 3,000m steeplechase in a personal-best time of 10:20.58 to contribute eight points.

 

“The meet keeps getting tougher each day and our athletes have came out and competed very hard,” Florida women’s interim head coach Steve Lemke said. “With Mariam winning the shot put, she came out and did what she was supposed to do, and the win was pretty much decided after her second throw. She performed at a very high level today. Lindsey performed very well for us as well with a PR in the steeplechase to take second. We also had a couple more competitors advance to Sunday’s finals. Now it’s time for them to take the next step and come out and compete hard again, and I’m confident they can do that.”

 

Kevkhishvili’s shot put of mark of 17.05m/55-11.25 not only ranks fifth in the nation but also ranks fourth-best in UF history and is the number one mark amongst NCAA East Regional competitors. She earned 10 points for Florida in the team standings with her second victory of the season, which came by nearly six and a half feet ahead of the second-place finisher and was a PR by 15 inches. She has now regionally qualified four times this season. Kevkhishvili becomes Florida’s first SEC outdoor champion in the event since Kim Barrett in 2004 and the Gators’ first shot put champion since Candice Scott won the indoor title in 2005. UF has now claimed eight of the last 12 shot put titles at the indoor and outdoor meets.

 

“I’m feeling very good,” Kevkhishvili said. “I cannot describe all of my feelings right now. It is great to do well in my first year at the University of Florida. I’m very thankful for the help from Coach Lemke because to be an SEC Champion, it is not just for me; it is also for Coach Lemke and Florida.

 

“I’m almost crying because I wish I could share this moment with my family back in Georgia and my husband back in Gainesville, but it is also great to be able to share this moment with my second family – our team.”

 

Sundell earned the second-place finish in the 3,000m steeplechase by clocking a personal-best time of 10:20.58. The only competitor to finish ahead of Sundell, Georgia’s Sarah Madebach earned victory with a meet record 10:13.73. Sundell’s mark was her third NCAA regional qualifying mark of the season.  

 

Advancing to Sunday’s final for the Gators were junior Kristen Johnson (Atlanta, Ga.) in the 1,500m and junior Lakecia Ealey (Albany, Ga.) in the 100m. Johnson advanced by winning the second heat of the 1,500m. She crossed the finished line in 4:30.45, the fourth-fastest overall preliminary time. Knight advanced by finishing second the third heat of the 100m. She clocked a mark of 11.43, the third-fastest preliminary time.

 

“We have talked a lot about opportunities to score, and with two more runners, Kristen and Lakecia, advancing to finals today, that opportunity is in front of us,” Lemke added.

 

Also competing for the Gators on Saturday, freshman Shara Proctor (The Valley, Anguilla) notched her second long jump regional qualifying mark with the ninth-place leap of 6.00m/19-8.25.

 

The SEC Championships continue on Sunday with the first event, the women’s discus scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. (ET). Live results are available via www.rolltide.com.

 

Women’s Team Standings (After Six Events Completed):

1. Georgia, 48; 2. FLORIDA, 38; 3. Arkansas, 32; 4. Tennessee, 28; 5. Kentucky, 22; 6. Ole Miss, 17; 7. LSU, 15; 8. Miss. State, 12; 9. Alabama, 9; 10. Vanderbilt, 6; 11. Auburn, 5; 12. South Carolina, 2

  

SEC Champion Gators:

Mariam Kevkhishvili – Shot Put

 

Gators Advancing to Finals (4):

Lakecia Ealey – 100m

Natalie Knight – 200m

Lorain McKenzie – 800m

Kristen Johnson – 1,500m

 

-UF-

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