Sunday May 31, 2009No. 1 Florida Men Capture NCAA East Regional Title
The No. 1 University of Florida men’s track and field team captured its first regional championship since the 2004 season on Saturday at Irwin Belk Track, where the Gators placed first at the NCAA East Regional hosted by North Carolina A&T State University.
The Florida men placed first overall with 84 total team points, while Southeastern Conference foes South Carolina (62) and Georgia (59) finished second and third, respectively. Florida State won the women’s team title with 71 points, followed by Penn State (60) and Miami (51). The No. 16 Gator women were fourth overall with 48 total team points.
"I was very pleased with our results this weekend," Florida head coach Mike Holloway said. "Our goal coming into the meet was to qualify as many people as possible for nationals and I think, for the most part, we were able to do that. We had a few obstacles and a couple of disappointments, but I thought our team did a good job of overcoming them and getting the job done."
The NCAA East Regional title is the third in program history for the Florida men since the regional format was instituted prior to the 2003 season. The Gator men have finished among the top two in the region every year under the current format.
“The team title wasn’t something that we talked a lot about leading up to the meet,” Holloway said. “I am proud of our guys – they did a great job. The good thing about it is that it gives us some great momentum heading into the national meet in two weeks.”
The Gators have at least 18 qualifying positions for the upcoming NCAA Championships. That includes 13 individuals and two relay teams that will embark on Fayetteville, Ark., June 10-13 for the NCAA Outdoor Championships. At-large selections for the NCAA meet will be announced later this week.
Tickets for the NCAA Championships may be purchased from the Razorback Ticket Office (phone: 800-982-4657 or 479-575-5151) or online at ArkansasRazorbacks.com. Ticket office hours are Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Tickets will be available for purchase at John McDonnell Field one hour before the first event each day of competition.
Junior thrower Mariam Kevkhishvili (Tbilisi, Georgia), who entered the meet ranked No. 1 in the nation in the women’s shot put, captured that event at the NCAA East Regional for the second consecutive year with a toss of 58-10.75/17.95m.
“I thought Mariam did well today in helping her get ready for the NCAA meet,” Florida throws coach Steve Lemke said. “She’s been sick all week, so I’m pleased that she did as well as she did, but that’s just Mariam. She’s a competitor. She won the event but, just like anything else, this was a competition with herself as well to see how far she could throw.”
Kevkhishvili led an impressive showing by Florida’s women’s shot putters, as she and freshman Keely Medeiros (Luziana, Brazil) each automatically qualified for the upcoming NCAA Championships. Medeiros was fourth with a mark of 52-2/15.90m, while rookie Fidela James finished eighth with a personal-best throw of 50-0.50/15.25m. Each of the Gators’ three shot putters scored in the meet.
“It was great to have all three of our women score in the shot put,” Lemke said. “Keely did her job, making it to the NCAAs. It wasn’t her best performance of the year, but she survived and that’s what you have to do at a meet like this. For Fidela, in the first regional meet of her career, to make the final and score is a great way for her to end her freshman season.”
Junior jumper Shara Proctor (The Valley, Anguilla) advanced to the NCAA Championships in two events this weekend. On Friday, she qualified in the women’s long jump before following that up Saturday with a runner-up finish in the women’s triple jump. Proctor broke the Irwin Belk Track facility record in both events and placed second in Saturday’s triple jump with a leap of 45-1/13.74m (+0.6) to set a new school record and personal best.
Freshman jumper Christian Taylor, the 2009 NCAA Indoor Triple Jump Champion, automatically qualified for the event outdoors, by finishing second with a personal-best leap of 53-5.50/16.29m (+0.6). That mark goes down as the second-best men’s triple jump in school history, just eclipsing his previous personal best that was recorded at the Penn Relays this past April.
The Florida men’s 4x100-meter relay team, which entered the meet with the nation’s No. 1 time in that event, placed second at the NCAA East Regional to automatically qualify for the NCAA Championships. The quartet of Dennis Martin (Anderson, S.C.), Calvin Smith (Lutz, Fla.), Terrell Wilks (New Haven, Conn.) and Jeremy Hall (Jacksonville, Fla.) clocked a time of 39.03.
Hall and Wilks also each qualified for the NCAA Championships in the men’s 100 and 200-meter dashes. Wilks was second in the 100m (10.17) and second in the 200m (20.64), while Hall was fourth in the 100m (10.22) and fourth in the 200m (20.89).
Smith broke the facility record in the finals of the men’s 400-meter dash to finish second and automatically qualify for the NCAA Championships. Smith clocked a time of 45.30 as the race’s runner-up.
Middle distance runner Carlos Phillips (Winter Park, Fla.), the 2008 NCAA East Regional 800-meter champion, was the runner-up in that event on Saturday with a time of 1:49.45.
Senior R.J. Anderson (Big Pine Key, Fla.), sophomore Lamarr Davis (Knightdale, N.C.), Phillips and Smith comprised the team’s 4x400-meter relay team that finished second overall in a time of 3:04.85.
Junior thrower Evelien Dekkers (Etten-Leur, Netherlands) punched her ticket to the NCAA Championships in the women’s javelin with a toss of 164-0/49.99m. Dekkers was the women’s javelin champion at the 2009 SEC Outdoor Championships.
Men’s hurdlers William Wynne (Marietta, Ga.) and Kallinka Pitt (Largo, Fla.) each qualified in the men’s 110-meter hurdles, finishing fourth (13.78) and fifth (13.84), respectively. Wynne entered the meet ranked 10th in the nation in that event.
Florida has a week off from competition before traveling to Fayetteville, Ark., June 10-13 to participate in the NCAA Outdoor Championships. For all of the latest information on Florida track and field, please log on to www.GatorZone.com.
The latest up-to-the minute information on Florida track and field also is available at www.twitter.com/GZTrackField.
NCAA EAST REGIONAL – MAY 29-30, 2009 (GREENSBORO, N.C.)
MEN’S EAST REGIONAL FINAL TEAM STANDINGS
1. Florida – 84
2. South Carolina – 62
3. Georgia – 59
4. Florida State – 51
6. Virginia – 29
7. Virginia Tech – 26.5
8. Cornell – 26
9. Clemson – 23
10. Albany - 21
WOMEN’S EAST REGIONAL FINAL TEAM STANDINGS
1. Florida State – 71
2. Penn State – 60
3. Miami – 51
4. Florida – 48
5. Virginia Tech – 42
6. South Carolina – 37
7. Connecticut – 35
8. North Carolina – 25.5
T9. Virginia – 24
T9. UCF - 24
SATURDAY, MAY 30
Women’s Javelin – 11 a.m. EST
4. Evelien Dekkers – 164-0/49.99m
Women’s Triple Jump – 1 p.m. EST
2. Shara Proctor – 45-1/13.74m F (+0.6)
11. Madara Apine – 41-3/12.57 (+0.0)
15. Michelle Jenije – 40-10.50/12.46 (+0.5)
Women’s Shot Put – 3 p.m. EST
1. Mariam Kevkhishvili – 58-10.75/17.95m
4. Keely Medeiros – 52-2/15.90m
8. Fidela James – 50-0.50/15.25m
Men’s Pole Vault – 3 p.m. EST
12. Justin Semeyn – 16-7.25/5.06m
14. Eric Foran – 16-7.25/5.06m
Men’s Discus – 5 p.m. EST
16. Beau Burroughs – 157-8/48.05m
Men’s Triple Jump – 5 p.m. EST
2. Christian Taylor – 53-5.50/16.29m (+0.6)
Men’s 4x100m Relay Finals – 5:10 p.m. EST
2. Florida – 39.03
-Dennis Martin, Calvin Smith, Terrell Wilks, Jeremy Hall
Men’s 110m Hurdles Finals– 5:45 p.m. EST
4. William Wynne – 13.78 (-0.4)
5. Kallinka Pitt – 13.84 (-0.4)
Men’s 100m Finals – 6:10 p.m. EST
2. Terrell Wilks – 10.17 (+0.9)
4. Jeremy Hall – 10.22 (+0.9)
Men’s 400m Finals – 6:20 p.m. EST
2. Calvin Smith – 45.30 F
Men’s 800m Finals – 6:30 p.m. EST
2. Carlos Phillips – 1:49.45
Men’s 200m Finals – 7:05 p.m. EST
2. Terrell Wilks – 20.64 (+0.4)
4. Jeremy Hall – 20.89 (+0.4)
Women’s Steeplechase – 7:15 p.m. EST
16. Julie Northrup – 10:49.78
Men’s Steeplechase – 7:40 p.m. EST
13. Sean Blaney – 9:12.76
Men’s 4x400m Relay – 8:20 p.m. EST
2. Florida – 3:04.85
-R.J. Anderson, LaMarr Davis, Carlos Phillips, Calvin Smith
NCAA OUTDOOR CHAMPIONSHIPS AUTOMATIC QUALIFIERS (ENTIRE WEEKEND)
END OF REPORT