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Mariam Kekvhishvili advanced to the NCAA Championships with a third-place finish in the shot put.

Friday May 25, 2007Kevkhishvili, Dekkers Advance to NCAA Championships


Mariam Kekvhishvili advanced to the NCAA Championships with a third-place finish in the shot put.

Freshman Mariam Kevkhishvili (Tbilisi, Georgia) finished third in the shot put and freshman Evelien Dekkers (Etten-Leur, The Netherlands) captured fourth in the javelin on Friday at the NCAA East Regional Championships at James G. Pressly Stadium at Percy Beard Track to automatically qualify for the NCAA Championships.


The efforts of Kevkhishvili and Dekkers provided the Gators with a total of 11 points to stand in fifth place in the women’s standings. Georgia leads the meet on the women’s side with 17 points.


Advancing to Saturday’s finals for the Gators were juniors Lakecia Ealey (Albany, Ga.) in the 100m, Natalie Knight (Snellville, Ga.) in the 200m and Lorain McKenzie (Clarendon, Jamaica) in the 800m, while the 4x100m relay team of junior Abigail David (Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago), Knight, Ealey and sophomore Zan Joseph (Boynton Beach, Fla.) also advanced to finals.


“We had a great day,” Florida women’s associate head coach Steve Lemke said. “Mariam and Evelien entered the meet ranked in the top-five in their events, and they got their jobs done today and will be competing for us in Sacramento. The whole goal of this weekend is advancing to the national meet. For the athletes we had competing in preliminaries today, those who were ranked amongst the top-five advanced to finals by winning their heats. Natalie tied the second-best 200m time in school history was just a hundredth of a second away from the school record. Lakecia advanced in the 100m and Lorain in the 800m. All of those women have been getting better as the season has gone along.”


Kevkhishvili advanced to the NCAA Championships with a third-place shot put toss of 16.31m/53-6.25. She also scored six points for the Florida in the team standings with the throw, the fourth-best of her career. Kevkhishvili finished the indoor NCAA Championships in eighth and will be looking become the first Gator since Kim Barrett in 2004 to earn both indoor and outdoor All-America honors in the shot put. She is the only freshman in the event advancing to the national meet out of the East Region.  


Dekkers punched her ticket to the NCAA Championships in the javelin with fourth-place toss of 48.18m/158-01 to score five points for the Gators in the team standings. She is the only freshman in the event advancing out of the East Region. Also competing in the javelin for the Gators, freshman Star Sansone (Boca Raton, Fla.) tossed a PR and the fifth-best mark in school history (45.40m/148-11) to finish ninth, just one position away from scoring points. Dekkers will be vying to become Florida’s first All-American in the javelin since Emily Carlsten in 2000. She will also attempt to reach the national meet in the discus on Saturday.


Knight tied second-best 200m time in school history with a personal-best time of 22.85 to win heat one of the event’s preliminaries and advance to finals. The mark tied Anita Howard’s 200m time from 1992 and was just 0.01 seconds off of the school record, set by Kisha Jett in 1996. Knight’s time was the second-fastest preliminary mark of the day.


Ealey clocked the top time in the fourth preliminary heat, 11.47, to advance to finals. The time was the third-fastest overall preliminary mark.


McKenzie finished with the top mark (2:07.56) in heat one of the 800m preliminaries to advance to finals. Her time was the sixth–fastest overall preliminary mark.


The 4x100m relay team advanced to finals by running the fastest preliminary time of 44.24, the tenth-fastest mark in Florida history.


Junior Dominique McLeggan (Weston, Fla.) narrowly missed reaching the 400m finals, finishing in ninth (53.78) just 0.03 seconds behind the final competitor to qualify. Sophomore Jenna Utecht (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) competed in the high jump, tying for the 17th-best mark at 1.71m/5-7.25 despite having a temperature of 103 degrees.


“It was disappointing that Dominique ran so well and just missed reaching finals, and it was unfortunate that Jenna was feeling under the weather while competing,” Lemke added. “But they both put for great efforts today.”


The NCAA East Regional Championships continue on Saturday beginning with the women’s hammer throw at noon ET. Live results of the meet can be found on


Women’s Team Scoring (five events completed):

1. Georgia, 17; 2. Miami, 12; 2. Wake Forest, 12 2. Duke, 12; 5. FLORIDA, 11; 6. Virginia Tech, 10; 6. Connecticut, 10; 8. Davidson, 8; 8. Monmouth, 8; 8. Northeastern, 8; North Carolina-Wilmington, 8; 8. North Carolina State, 8; 8. Cornell, 8; 14. Jacksonville, 6; 14. Robert Morris, 6; 14. Buffalo-SUNY, 6; 17. Providence, 5; 17. Penn State, 5; 19. North Carolina, 4; 19. Charlotte, 4; 19. Yale, 4; 22. Syracuse, 3.50; 22. Towson, 3.50; 24. Georgetown, 3; 24. Harvard, 3.; 24. South Carolina, 3; 24. Florida State 3, 28. Rider, 2; 29. Princeton, 1; 29. Radford, 1.           


Florida’s Women Automatic NCAA Championships Qualifiers (2 athletes, 2 events):

Mariam Kevkhishvili – Shot Put

Evelien Dekkers – Javelin


Florida’s Women Advancing to Finals (5 athletes, 3 events, 1 relay):

Lakecia Ealey – 100m

Natalie Knight – 200m

Lorain McKenzie – 800m

Abigail David, Natalie Knight, Lakeica Ealey, Zan Joseph – 4x100m





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