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Evelien Dekkers will be the lone freshman competing in the javelin at the NCAA Championships

Tuesday May 29, 2007Gators to Send 11 Athletes in 9 Events to NCAA Outdoor Championships

INDIANAPOLIS

Evelien Dekkers will be the lone freshman competing in the javelin at the NCAA Championships

The University of Florida women's track and field team will send 11 athletes in nine different events to next week's NCAA Outdoor Championships as the field of athletes was announced Tuesday afternoon.

 

Florida will have seven athletes competing in seven individual events led by freshman Evelien Dekkers (Etten-Leur, The Netherlands), who will participate in the javelin. Freshman All-American Mariam Kevkhishvili (Tbilisi, Georgia) will take part in the shot put, freshman Lori Bowen (Tallahassee, Fla.) will compete in the pole vault, junior All-American Lakecia Ealey (Albany, Ga.) will run the 100m, junior All-American Natalie Knight (Snellville, Ga.) will participate in the 200m, junior Lorain McKenzie (Clarendon, Jamaica) seized one of the final at-large bids in the 800m and junior Lindsay Sundell (Fort Salonga, N.Y.) will compete in the 3,000m steeplechase.

 

Both Gator relay teams also made the field with the 4x100m of junior Abigail David (Port-of-Spain, Trinidad & Tobago), Knight, Ealey and junior All-American Zan Joseph (Boynton Beach, Fla.) earning an automatic berth by winning the NCAA East Regional title. Florida’s 4x400m of junior All-American Dominique McLeggan (Weston, Fla.), Joseph, Ealey and David was granted an at-large bid. Junior Kia Raf (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) will serve as an alternate for the 4x100m, while McKenzie will be the alternate for the 4x400m.

 

The Gators will be seeking a fifth top-10 finish in the last six years at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, which will take place June 6-9 at the Alex G. Spanos Sports Complex in Sacramento, Calif.

 

“We found out today that Lorain McKenzie in the 800m and our 4x400m received at-large bids and we expected them to get in,” Florida women’s interim head coach Steve Lemke said. “All of our athletes have competed hard this year and now it’s time to refocus on the last leg of the season. The team has produced each step of the way to get to this point, and we look for that to continue in Sacramento.”

 

Dekkers earned an automatic bid to the NCAA meet in the javelin by finishing the East Regional in fourth with a throw of 48.18/158-1. Dekkers is the only freshman and just one of seven underclassmen that will be in competition out of 27 athletes in the event, Dekkers holds the sixth-best javelin mark (52.84/173-4) amongst the athletes declared for the national meet. That mark, tossed at the Sun Angel Classic on April 14, ranks second in UF history. Dekkers was named SEC Field Athlete of the Week on April 3 for her efforts at the Florida State Relays, where she recorded a javelin throw of 52.40m/171-11 to win the. Dekkers will be looking to become UF’s first All-American in the javelin since Emily Carlsten in 2000.

 

At last weekend’s NCAA East Regional Championships, Kevkhishvili took third in the shot put with a mark of 16.31m/53-6.25. Two weeks prior, Kevkhishvili won the Southeastern Conference shot put title with a personal-best toss of 17.05m/55-11.25, the fourth-best mark in UF history and seventh amongst athletes declared for the national meet. Kevkhishvili earned All-America honors in the shot put during the indoor season and will be vying to become the Gators’ first outdoor shot put All-American since Kim Barrett in 2004. She is just one of two freshmen and just one of six underclassmen that will be competing in the field of 28 in the shot put Sacramento.

 

 

Bowen recorded a personal-best pole vault of 3.96m/12-11.75, the fifth-best mark in school history, to take fourth at the NCAA East Regional and secure a place in the national championship meet. Bowen will look to become Florida’s fourth All-American in the pole vault and just the second outdoors. Junior Natalie Moser most recently earned the honor this past indoor season, while Dara Altman is the only UF athlete to earn the honor outdoors (2006).

 

Ealey surged to a second-place finish in the 100m at the NCAA East Regional with a wind-aided time of 11.49. She will be looking to become Florida’s first 100m All-American since Kisha Jett in 1998.

 

In the 200m, Knight ran the second-fastest time in school history in the East Regional prelims, a mark of 22.85, to advance to finals where she took third in 23.10. The Gators last 200m All-American is none other than Knight herself, having earned the honor in 2005.

 

McKenzie received an at-large selection to the NCAA meet based off of her personal-best time of 2:05.68, the 15th-best mark in the nation, which she ran at the SEC Championships to take third. The Gators’ last had an outdoor 800m All-American in 2002, when Melissa DeLeon earned the honor.  

 

Sundell clocked a school-record and personal-best 10:07.25 in the 3,000m steeplechase to finished fourth at the East Regional and advance to the national meet. She broke the school record, which she already held, by over 13 seconds. Sundell’s time places her second all-time amongst all steeplechase competitors in SEC, only behind Arkansas’ Lilli Kleinmann who’s best mark was 10:01.52 in 2001. Sundell will be contending to become Florida’s first All-American in the steeplechase.

 

The Gators 4x100m relay team will be in search of its third straight All-America honor at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. The group earned an automatic bid to the meet by winning the NCAA East Regional title in 44.03, the sixth-fastest time in school history. That mark ranks eighth amongst teams declared for the championship meet. Ealey and Knight were a part of both the 2005 and 2006 relays, while Raf was on the relay in 2005 and McLeggan ran in 2006. The Florida 4x100m relay has earned All-America status in six of the last 10 years.

 

Earning an at-large selection to the NCAA meet, UF’s 4x400m relay team will challenge for its first All-America honors since 2005. Both Joseph and Knight were on the 2005 relay and will be looking for their second All-America honor in the event. The mark that earned the bid for the 4x400m, 3:36.06, came at the California Collegiate Challenge.

 

The NCAA Outdoor Championships will be contested June 6-9. The meet will be broadcast live on CSTV from 8:30-11:30 p.m. (ET) on June 8 and live on CBS from 1-3 p.m. (ET) on June 9. Live results can be found at .

 

Florida Women's NCAA Outdoor Championships Participants (event):

Lori Bowen – Pole Vault

Evelien Dekkers – Javelin

Lakecia Ealey – 100m

Mariam Kevkhishvili – Shot Put

Natalie Knight – 200m

Lorain McKenzie – 800m

Lindsay Sundell – 3,000m Steeplechase

Abigail David, Natalie Knight, Lakecia Ealey, Zan Jospeh – 4x100m*

Dominique McLeggan, Zan Joseph, Lakecia Ealey, Abigail David – 4x400m

 

*Kia Raf will be an alternate for the 4x100m

 

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