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Photo Courtesy of Cheryl Treworgy/PrettySporty.com

Friday March 9, 2012Demps Blisters In NCAA Men's 60 Meter Prelims As Seven Gators Qualify For Saturday Showdowns

Nampa, Idaho

Photo Courtesy of Cheryl Treworgy/PrettySporty.com

School records fell by the wayside on Friday, as junior sprinter Jeff Demps (Winter Garden, Fla.) ran a school-record, personal-best and collegiate-leading 6.52 in the men’s 60 meter preliminaries to highlight a solid opening day of the 2012 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships, hosted by Boise State University.

 

Demps, whose previous career best was set at the 2011 NCAA Indoor Championships, looked smooth the entire race, easily finding his spot in the finals with a chance to three-peat as the 2010 and 2011 men’s 60 meter NCAA Champion. Demps’ time ties for the eighth-fastest 60 meters time in NCAA history.

 

“I thought we had a great day,” Florida head coach Mike Holloway said. “Our goal coming in was to qualify everybody and we qualified all but one of the men and all but one of the women. Overall, we had a phenomenal day. Anytime you come out with two school records and Gray’s leading the competition, you can’t be anything but pleased.”

 

Seven Gators total qualified, as junior sprinter Tony McQuay (Riviera Beach, Fla.) set a new facility record and season best in the men’s 400 meters with a time of 45.85, an NCAA-leading time.

 

“As Tony would tell you, it’s primetime,” Holloway commented. “Tony always shows up when the lights come on for the big meets. I’m sure Tony and the rest of our team will tell you that today was just a prelude of what we’ve got to do tomorrow.”

 

Sophomores Eddie Lovett (West Palm Beach, Fla.) and Sean Obinwa (Tampa, Fla.) qualified for their respective events, as Lovett turned in a personal-best and school-record-tying 7.66 in the men’s 60 meter hurdles, while Obinwa finished in 1:48.82 to qualify for Saturday’s final. Sprinters Lanie Whittaker (Miami, Fla.) and Ebony Eutsey (Miami, Fla.) both qualified for the women’s 400 meter final on Saturday, coming in sixth (53.16) and seventh (53.29), respectively.

 

“I’m really impressed with Lanie and Ebony, because they’re both Florida girls and they’re not used to running indoors,” Holloway said. “For them to come in here and do what they did, I think it gives them confidence not only for indoors next year, but for outdoors this year. They both have a chance to come out big and be All-Americans.”

 

Senior thrower Kemal Mesic (Sarajevo, Bosnia) competed in the final meet of his collegiate career, setting a new Florida school record and personal best with a toss of 20.44m/67-0.75, finishing third.

 

“I know Kemal would have liked to finish better but it was the best throw of his life,” Holloway said.

 

Senior multi-event athlete Gray Horn (Waynesfield, Ohio) leads the way in the men’s heptathlon, finish the first day of competition with a total of 3,357 points through four events. Horn began the day with 60 meters, coming in fourth with a time of 7.00 for 882 points. The Ohio native earned his best finish of the day, leaping to a third-place finish in the long jump with a mark of 7.60m/24-11.25.

 

The shot put proved to be the best event of the day for Horn, as the senior turned in a career-best toss of 13.88m/45-6.50 to finish fourth in the event. In the high jump, Horn cleared 1.99m/6-6.25 but to maintain his overall lead, Georgia’s Cory Holman, Boise State’s Kurt Felix and Wisconsin’s Japheth Cato couldn’t clear higher than 2.08m/6-9.75. All three missed at 2.11m/6-11 to preserve Horn’s lead, and the senior will head into Saturday with the lead with three events remaining.

 

The Gator women’s distance medley relay, composed of Agata Strausa (Riga, Latvia) – also a Saturday qualifier in the women’s mile, Alishea Usery (St. Louis, Mo.), Shelby Hayes (Winter Park, Fla.) and Cory McGee (Pass Christian, Miss.), finished fifth with a time of 11:08.60, in a tight race that the Gators led for over 75 percent of the event.

 

I’m proud of the women’s DMR for being All-Americans and finishing fifth overall,” Holloway noted. “I know they wanted to run better and they didn’t run quite as fast, but it was a tactical race and it went well.”

 

The Gators return for the final day of the 2012 NCAA Indoor Championships with nine point-scoring opportunities on the men’s side and seven for the Florida women.

 

“Tomorrow is our big day,” Holloway said. “Each and every one of our athletes will show up tomorrow and do work.”

 

2012 NCAA INDOOR CHAMPIONSHIPS (MARCH 9-10, 2012: BOISE, ID)

 

MEN’S TEAM STANDINGS (THROUGH 6 OF 17 EVENTS)

1. Arkansas 22, 2. Texas 20.5; 3. Arizona 16; 4. Notre Dame 15; T5. Indiana 13; T5. Stanford 13; 7. Texas A&M 12; 14. Florida 7

 

WOMEN’S TEAM STANDINGS (THROUGH 6 OF 17 EVENTS)

1. Texas 17; 2. Iowa State 15; 3. Arizona 13; 4. Texas A&M 12; 5. Washington 10; T5. LSU 10; T5. TCU 10; T5. Southern Illinois 10; T23. Florida 4

 

FRIDAY, MARCH 9, 2012

 

MULTI-EVENTS

 

Men’s Heptathlon (AUTO: 5,750)

1.     Gray Horn, 3,357 (through four events)

 

Men’s Heptathlon 60m (AUTO: 6.60)

4.     Gray Horn, 7.00 (882 pts)

 

Men’s Heptathlon Long Jump (AUTO: 8.00m/26-3)

3.     Gray Horn, 7.60m/24-11.25 (960 pts)

 

Men’s Heptathlon Shot Put (AUTO: 19.35m/63-6)

4.     Gray Horn, 13.88m/45-6.50 (721 pts) (PR)

 

Men’s Heptathlon High Jump (AUTO: 2.24m/7-4.25)

7.     Gray Horn, 1.99m/6-6.25 (794 pts)

 

FIELD EVENTS

 

Men’s Long Jump (AUTO: 8.00m/26-3)

8.     Marquis Dendy, 7.71m/25-3.50

 

Men’s Shot Put (AUTO: 19.35m/63-6)

3.     Kemal Mesic, 20.44m/67-0.75 (SR)

 

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

11. Taylor Burke, 1.75m/5-8.75

 

RUNNING EVENTS

 

Women’s Mile Prelims (AUTO: 4:37.00)

8.     Agata Strausa, 4:42.17Q

11.  Cory McGee, 4:45.30

 

Men’s 60m Hurdles Prelims (AUTO: 7.70)

5.     Eddie Lovett, 7.66q (PR)

 

Men’s 400m Prelims (AUTO: 46.00)

1.     Tony McQuay, 45.85Q (SB, FR, NB)

11.  Hugh Graham, Jr., 46.54

 

Women’s 400m Prelims (AUTO: 52.60)

6.     Lanie Whittaker, 53.16q

7.     Ebony Eutsey, 53.29q

 

Men’s 60m Prelims (AUTO: 6.60)

1.     Jeff Demps, 6.52Q (SR, PR, FR, NB)

 

Men’s 800m Prelims (AUTO: 1:47.30)

5.     Sean Obinwa, 1:48.82q

 

Women’s Distance Medley Relay (AUTO: 11:03.50)

5.     Florida (Strausa, Al. Usery, Hayes, McGee), 11:08.60

 

Key: SR – school record; PR – personal record; SB – season best; FR – facility record; NB – national best

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