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Saturday February 4, 2012Gators Conclude Weekend with Strong Saturday Showing at Virginia Tech

Blacksburg, Va.

Photo Courtesy of Cheryl Treworgy

The Gator track and field teams finished the 2012 Virginia Tech Elite Meet on a high note on Saturday, earning five victories, four personal or collegiate bests and an automatic qualifying mark courtesy of junior jumper Omar Craddock (Killeen, Texas).


“I’m very pleased with our overall performances today,” Florida head coach Mike Holloway said. “We’re continuing to improve every weekend and that’s what we want to see.”


Craddock, the nation’s top returning triple jumper, leapt an NCAA-leading 16.34m/53-7.50 on Saturday, earning third place on the afternoon and automatically qualifying for the NCAA Indoor Championships.


“With Omar, we know there are big things waiting for him and there’s room for improvement,” Holloway said. “For us, that’s exciting.”


The Gators swept the high jump for the third straight meet, as senior Dwight Barbiasz (Milford, N.H.) and freshman Taylor Burke (Medina, Ohio) turned in collegiate-best performances to take the high jump titles. Barbiasz tied his all-time career best with a mark of 2.23m/7-3.75, registering his best indoors performance of his collegiate career and moving to fifth all-time in Florida school history.


Fellow jumper Frankie Hammond (Hollywood, Fla.) came in right behind Barbiasz in second place, clearing an indoor career best 2.18m/7-1.75 and moving to seventh all-time at UF.


“With Dwight, we knew what we were getting when he came here from Maryland,” Holloway said. “He’s an All-American and he’s finally starting to get to where we know he can perform.


“Frankie is starting to get his track legs under him and he’s really getting a chance to improve each day at practice,” Holloway continued.


Burke earned her third straight high jump title with a jump of 1.82m/5-11.50, her collegiate best and a personal best indoors.


“With Taylor, it’s similar to Frankie (being a two-sport athlete), she’s really starting to get her track legs under her,” Holloway noted. “She’s talented and we know there’s more in the tank for her.”


Sophomore sprinter Darshay Davis (Miramar, Fla.) ran an indoor personal best on Saturday, winning the women’s 200 meters with a time of 23.91.


Darshay is really starting to trust her training, trust the techniques we’re teaching her and her hard work is paying off,” Holloway said.


Junior sprinter Tony McQuay (Riviera Beach, Fla.) earned his second 400-meter title of the weekend after capturing both the men’s 400 meter invitational title on Friday night and the men’s 400 meter open title on Saturday afternoon. On Saturday, McQuay improved from his Friday performance with a time of 47.60. Fellow junior sprinter Jovon Toppin (Port of Spain, Trinidad) finished right behind McQuay with a time of 49.05.


The women’s 4x400 meter relay, comprised of Lanie Whittaker (Miami, Fla.), Ugonna Ndu (Newark, N.J.), Bria Goodson (Orange Park, Fla.) and Ebony Eutsey (Miami, Fla.), earned the fifth victory of the day for the Orange and Blue with a time of 3:35.18, the Gators’ best 4x400 meter time of the season and a victory by more than nine seconds.


“For our women’s 4x400 to get that victory without senior leader Alishea Usery (St. Louis, Mo.), that was huge for them,” Holloway said. “They ran their best time of the season and finished over nine seconds faster than the second place team. That was big.”


Senior thrower Keely Medeiros (Blumenau-SC, Brazil) continues her recovery from injury, throwing a season-best 15.85m/52-0 in the shot put to finish second on the afternoon.


Keely is continuing to work hard and recover from her injury earlier in the year,” Holloway commented. “She’s working hard at practice and in the weight room and it’s really starting to show.”


The Gators conclude their gauntlet of competitions next weekend with the New Mexico Invitational and Washington Invitational. Both meets will be the final competitions for the Gators until the SEC Indoor Championships in Lexington, Ky.


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Women’s High Jump (AUTO: 1.85m/6-0.75)

1. Taylor Burke, 1.82m/5-11.50 (P-Ind.)

--  Alexis Munoz, NH


Men’s Triple Jump (AUTO: 16.30m/53-5.75)

3. Omar Craddock, 16.34m/53-7.50 (A)

10. Marquis Dendy, 14.07m/46-2


Women’s Shot Put (AUTO: 17.20m/56-5.25)

2. Keely Medeiros, 15.85m/52-0

6. Fidela James, 15.26m/50-0.75


Men’s High Jump (AUTO: 2.24m/7-4.25)

1. Dwight Barbiasz, 2.23m/7-3.75 (P)

2. Frankie Hammond, 2.18m/7-1.75 (P-Ind.)




Men’s 400m (OPEN) (AUTO: 46.00)

1. Tony McQuay, 47.60

2. Jovon Toppin, 49.05


Women’s 200m (INVITE) (AUTO: 23.12)

1. Darshay Davis, 23.91 (P-Ind.)

5. Alishea Usery, 24.37


Men’s 200m (INVITE) (AUTO: 20.73)

5. Leonardo Seymore, 21.52

6. Dedric Dukes, 21.68


Women’s 4x400m Relay (AUTO: 3:34.00)

1. Florida (L. Whittaker, U. Ndu, B. Goodson, E. Eutsey), 3:35.18


Men’s 4x400m Relay (AUTO: 3:06.50)

2. Florida (H. Graham, D. Dukes, S. Obinwa, J. Toppin), 3:12.34

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