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Kevkhishvili advanced to the shot put final at the NCAA Outdoor Championships

Thursday June 7, 2007Kevkhishvili Advances to Shot Put Final at NCAA Outdoor Championships

SACRAMENTO, Calif.

Kevkhishvili advanced to the shot put final at the NCAA Outdoor Championships

The University of Florida women’s track and field squad was lead by freshman Mariam Kevkhishvili (Tbilisi, Georgia) in the shot put as she advanced to finals by posting a solid performance in the qualifying round on the second day of the 2007 NCAA Outdoor Championships at the Alex G. Spanos Sports Complex on Thursday.

 

Kevkhishvili, just one of two freshman and just one of six underclassmen competing in the shot put, will compete in the event’s final on Saturday after posting a mark of 16.01m/52-6.50 in the qualifying round despite a high-ankle sprain. It was the 10th-best throw in the qualifying round. She was the only freshman and just one of three underclassmen to reach the final. Kevkhishvili, the Southeastern Conference shot put champion, will be looking for her second shot put All-America honor on the year, after earning the distinction during the indoor season. She will also be vying to become Florida’s first outdoor shot put All-American since Kim Barrett in 2004. Barrett was also the last Gator to earn both indoor and outdoor shot put All-America honors in the same season.

 

“Mariam battled through a tough injury she suffered on Monday to advance to finals and you can’t ask for more than an athlete fighting through an injury,” Florida women’s interim head coach Steve Lemke said. “We’ll hope for the best from Mariam on Saturday.”

 

Florida’s 4x400m relay of junior Dominique McLeggan (Weston, Fla.), sophomore Zan Joseph (Boynton Beach, Fla.), junior Lakecia Ealey (Albany, Ga.) and junior Abigail David (Port-of-Spain, Trinidad & Tobago) competed on Thursday evening as well, crossing the finish line in a season-best 3:35.00 but not moving on to finals. It was a season-best mark by just more than a second and was good enough for a finish of 15th after the Gators entered the meet as the 19th seed.

 

The Gators also received a strong performance from junior Natalie Knight (Snellville, Ga.) in the 200m. Knight advanced out of the first round of the 200m by running a time of 23.50 in heat four. She went on to clock 23.71 in the semifinal to finish 17th.

 

In the javelin, freshman Evelien Dekkers (Etten-Leur, The Netherlands) posted a throw of 47.39m/155-6 to finish 17th. She was the only freshman and was just one of seven underclassmen to compete in the javelin at the NCAA Championships.

 

“All of our athletes gave it their all today,” Lemke added. “The 4x400m ran a season-best time and Natalie competed very hard as well. Evelien put forth a great effort but injuries finally caught up with her.”

 

Two women’s events have been scored and Texas Tech and UCLA are tied for the lead in the meet with 10 points. Florida will look to score points on Friday when the women’s 4x100m relay of David, Knight, Ealey and Joseph compete in the event’s final at 7:40 p.m. (ET). Day three of the 2007 NCAA Championships is scheduled to start at 1 p.m. (ET) with the women’s hammer throw final. Live results can be found on the internet at www.NCAAsports.com

 

Florida Women’s Athletes Advancing (5 athletes, 2 events):

Abigail David, Natalie Knight, Lakecia Ealey, Zan Joseph – 4x100m Final

Mariam Kevkhishvili – Shot Put Final

 

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