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Saturday May 12, 2012Burke and LaCaze Claim Individual Crowns on Third Day of SEC Outdoor Championships

Baton Rouge, La.

Photo: Cheryl Treworgy/

Freshman high jumper Taylor Burke (Medina, Ohio) and senior distance runner Genevieve LaCaze (Queensland, Australia) picked up individual titles on the third day of the 2012 Southeastern Conference Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Bernie Moore Stadium on Saturday.


“I’m so pleased with Gen’s performance today,” Florida head coach Mike Holloway said. “She and Coach (Paul) Spangler had a nice race planned where they wanted her to hang back and conserve until the last few laps and then surge at the end. She executed the race very well. I couldn’t be more proud of Gen today.”


LaCaze, the Southeastern Conference’s first-ever three-time champion in the women’s 3000 meter steeplechase, ran a conservative race until the final laps, distancing herself enough to enjoy the final strides.


"Coming down the stretch, I saw I had space and knew it was smooth sailing and I couldn't do anything but smile,” LaCaze said. “I've worked so hard for this and I couldn't be more pleased to get the points for my team."


No more than 10 minutes after LaCaze’s finish, it was Burke’s turn in the winner’s circle. The freshman jumper used a collegiate-best jump of 1.83m/6-0 to win her first SEC title and clear the six-foot barrier for her first time in the Orange and Blue, earning UF its first women’s high jump title since 1992 (Maria Galloni – 1.83m/6-0).


“I’m extremely proud of Taylor,” Holloway commented. “She’s been working incredibly hard with Coach (Mellanee) Welty and I couldn’t be more pleased.”


“It’s hard enough to be a collegiate athlete,” Holloway continued. “It’s even harder to be a two-sport athlete, let alone be successful at both. I think that not only says a lot about Taylor but also about Coach Welty and Coach (Becky) Burleigh, our women’s soccer coach, and the work they’ve put in to make sure Taylor stays healthy and happy. Our staffs work incredibly well together to make sure Taylor gets the best experience not only in competition, but in the classroom. Taylor has been doing only track for the last month and that focus certainly paid off today.”


Burke, who splits her time on the track with being the starting goalkeeper for the Florida women’s soccer team, cleared the bar on her first attempt at every height until the final round. That proved to be the winning formula, as the final five jumpers all cleared 1.83m/6-0, a mark that ranks her second all-time in Florida school history and the second-best mark for a freshman in the NCAA this season.


"I definitely loved being clean,” Burke said. “That was my goal coming in and I knew in order to place well that you have to have clean bars because of how great the competition is... I wanted to come out and get 10 points for my team. It's the best I can do for my team and now it's up to the rest of my teammates tomorrow."


10 Gators qualified for Sunday’s finals, bringing the total Florida qualifiers competing Sunday to 17. Both the No. 1 Florida men and No. 4 Florida women are currently in fourth heading into the final day of competition at LSU. There are 17 scoring opportunities for the Gator men and 22 for the women, including an impressive five qualifiers in the women’s 1,500 meters.


Sophomore Agata Strausa (Riga, Latvia) led the way for the Gator women in the 1,500 meters on Saturday afternoon, winning the preliminary round with her time of 4:20.83 and automatically qualifying her for the finals of the event. LaCaze put herself in position to run four races total on the weekend as she qualified for the finals of the women’s 1,500 meters with a time of 4:21.10, finishing fourth overall. Teammates Cory McGee (Pass Christian, Miss.), Shelby Hayes (Winter Park, Fla.) and Mandy Perkins (Ormond Beach, Fla.) also qualified for Sunday’s finals, giving the Gators five potential scoring chances in the event.


In the sprints, sophomore Darshay Davis (Mirimar, Fla.) added yet another final to her weekend after advancing in the women’s 200 meters on Friday. Davis won her heat and finished third overall in the women’s 100 meters in 11.34, just .01 shy of her collegiate best. The Gator quartermilers also had a solid showing on Saturday, as Ebony Eutsey (Miami, Fla.) and Lanie Whittaker (Miami, Fla.) qualified for the finals of the women’s 400 meters on Sunday evening, finishing in 52.67 and 53.22, respectively. The duo ran a memorable race just a few weeks ago at the Pepsi Florida Relays, as Whittaker edged Eutsey 52.06-52.07, and tomorrow’s final is looking to be another photo finish.


Reigning USA Champion Tony McQuay (Riviera Beach, Fla.), who picked up his first NCAA title just a few short months ago in Idaho, easily qualified for the finals of the men’s 400 meters, winning his heat in 45.88 and setting up another tight competition with Georgia’s Torrin Lawrence, who edged McQuay for first overall in Saturday’s preliminary round with his time of 45.84.


Another rivalry will be renewed on Sunday as sophomore Eddie Lovett (West Palm Beach, Fla.) won his 110-meter hurdles heat in 13.74, finishing second overall behind LSU’s Barrett Nugent. Indoors, Lovett earned the SEC crown while Nugent took home the SEC and NCAA titles outdoors a year ago.


Junior Ugonna Ndu (Newark, N.J.) added another final to her Sunday schedule as she finished third in her heat and seventh overall in the women’s 100-meter hurdles with her time of 13.38, setting up yet another point-scoring opportunity for the Gators. Ndu will also compete in the women’s 400-meter hurdles along with fellow junior Amani Bryant (Tampa, Fla.)


Live coverage of the final day of the SEC Outdoor Championships will air on on Sunday. That coverage will air from 3-7 p.m. CT. Dwight Stones, Larry Rawson and Lewis Johnson will have the call. Live results from Sunday’s events can be found here and the 2012 SEC Outdoor Track & Field Championships Central can be found on the SEC Digital Network.


“We’re going to go out there tomorrow and compete with focus, intensity and pride,” Holloway said. “We’ve been steady the whole weekend and we’ve had good performances along the way. It’s time for us to join the battle.”


For all of the latest information on Florida track and field, please log on to or, for up-to-the-minute updates, follow Florida track and field on Twitter at @GZTrackField or You can also find the Gators on Facebook.




SATURDAY, MAY 12, 2012


Men’s Team Scores – After Six Events

1) Arkansas


2) Georgia


3) LSU


4) Florida


5) Kentucky


6) Auburn


7) Tennessee


8) Mississippi State


9) Alabama


10) South Carolina


11) Auburn



Women’s Team Scores – After Nine Events

1) Georgia


2) LSU


3) Arkansas


4) Florida


5) Mississippi


6) Alabama


6) Tennessee


8) South Carolina


9) Mississippi State


10) Auburn


11) Kentucky


12) Vanderbilt





Women’s High Jump

1.             Taylor Burke, 1.83m/6-0 (PR)


Women’s Pole Vault

--             Claire Spurling, NH


Women’s Long Jump

5.             Daniela Griffin, 6.24m/20-5.75

27.          Lorraine Graham, 3.84m/12-7.25

--             Ciarra Brewer, FOUL


Men’s Long Jump

7.             Omar Craddock, 7.70m/25-3.25 (PR)

8.             Marquis Dendy, 7.60m/24-11.25


Women’s Javelin Throw

12.          Brittany Harrell, 36.72m/120-6




Women’s 100 Meters Prelims

3.             Darshay Davis, 11.34Q


Men’s 100 Meters Prelims

10.          Dedric Dukes, 10.41

16.          Leonardo Seymore, 10.48


Women’s 400 Meters Prelims

5.             Lanie Whittaker, 53.22Q

6.             Ebony Eutsey, 52.67q

23.          Michelle Stegall, 55.58


Men’s 400 Meters Prelims

2.             Tony McQuay, 45.88Q

10.          Hugh Graham, Jr., 46.70

24.          Jovon Toppin, 48.45

25.          Michael Burris, 48.48


Women’s 1,500 Meters Prelims

1.             Agata Strausa, 4:20.83Q

4.             Genevieve LaCaze, 4:21.10Q

5.             Cory McGee, 4:21.46Q

8.             Shelby Hayes, 4:22.99Q

11.          Mandy Perkins, 4:24.46q

15.          Sarah Davis, 4:31.49


Men’s 1,500 Meters Prelims

16.          Harsha Torke, 4:00.29


Women’s 100 Meter Hurdles Prelims

7.             Ugonna Ndu, 13.38q (+1.8)

16.          Paige Morton, 14.18 (+1.8)

17.          Ashley Favors, 14.39 (+1.6)


Men’s 110 Meter Hurdles Prelims

2.             Eddie Lovett, 13.74Q (+0.8)


Women’s 3000 Meter Steeplechase Finals

1.             Genevieve LaCaze, 10:13.99

9.             Stephanie Strasser, 10:44.07


Men’s 3000 Meter Steeplechase Finals

9.             Mark Parrish, 9:18.03


Athletes Qualified for Sunday’s Finals (all times CT)

3:20 p.m. CT – Women’s 1,500 Meters – Shelby Hayes, Genevieve LaCaze, Cory McGee, Mandy Perkins, Agata Strausa

3:40 p.m. CT – Women’s 100 Meter Hurdles – Ugonna Ndu

3:50 p.m. CT – Men’s 110 Meter Hurdles – Eddie Lovett

4:00 p.m. CT – Women’s 400 Meters – Ebony Eutsey, Lanie Whittaker

4:10 p.m. CT – Men’s 400 Meters – Tony McQuay

4:20 p.m. CT – Women’s 100 Meters – Darshay Davis

4:40 p.m. CT – Women’s 800 Meters – Cory McGee

5:00 p.m. CT – Women’s 400 Meter Hurdles – Amani Bryant, Ugonna Ndu

5:20 p.m. CT – Women’s 200 Meters – Darshay Davis

5:30 p.m. CT – Men’s 200 Meters – Dedric Dukes, Leonardo Seymore


Schedule for SEC Outdoor Track & Field Championship Sunday

1:00 p.m.

Men’s Javelin Preliminary and Finals

Stipe Zunic

1:35 p.m.

Women’s Triple Jump Finals

Ciarra Brewer

1:45 p.m.

Men’s Triple Jump Finals

Omar Craddock, Marquis Dendy

2:00 p.m.

Men’s Shot Put Preliminary and Finals

Hunter Joyer

3:00 p.m.

Women’s 4x100 Relay Finals


3:10 p.m.

Men’s 4x100 Relay Finals


3:20 p.m.

Women’s 1,500 Meters Finals

Shelby Hayes, Genevieve LaCaze, Cory McGee, Mandy Perkins, Agata Strausa

3:40 p.m.

Women’s 100 Meter Hurdles Finals

Ugonna Ndu

3:50 p.m.

Men’s 110 Meter Hurdles Finals

Eddie Lovett

4:00 p.m.

Women’s Discus Preliminary and Finals

Manuela Burtscher, Kaitlin Davis, Ashley Miller

4:00 p.m.

Women’s 400 Meters Finals

Ebony Eutsey, Lanie Whittaker

4:05 p.m.

Men’s Pole Vault Finals

Max Lang

4:10 p.m.

Men’s 400 Meters Finals

Tony McQuay

4:20 p.m.

Women’s 100 Meters Finals

Darshay Davis

4:30 p.m.

Men’s High Jump Finals

Dwight Barbiasz, Frankie Hammond

4:40 p.m.

Women’s 800 Meters Finals

Cory McGee

5:00 p.m.

Women’s 400 Meter Hurdles Finals

Amani Bryant, Ugonna Ndu

5:20 p.m.

Women’s 200 Meters Finals

Darshay Davis

5:30 p.m.

Men’s 200 Meters Finals

Dedric Dukes, Leonardo Seymore

5:40 p.m.

Women’s 5,000 Meters Finals

Callie Cooper, Genevieve LaCaze, Stephanie Strasser, Agata Strausa

6:00 p.m.

Men’s 5,000 Meters Finals

Eddie Garcia, JL Hines, Josh Izewski, Mark Parrish

6:25 p.m.

Women’s 4x400 Relay Finals


6:35 p.m.

Men’s 4x400 Relay Finals



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