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Photo: Cheryl Treworgy/PrettySporty.com

Saturday May 26, 2012Gators Set Solid Contingent for NCAA Outdoor Championships in Des Moines

Jacksonville, Fla.

Photo: Cheryl Treworgy/PrettySporty.com

The University of Florida men’s and women’s track & field teams finished competition at the NCAA East Preliminary Round on Saturday, advancing six athletes and two relays to bring the grand total for the Gators to 20 qualifiers heading to Des Moines. Overall, nine men and eight women filled 17 individual spots throughout the weekend, sending a solid Gator contingent to the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

 

Additionally, sophomore heptathlete Brittany Harrell (McComb, Miss.) qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Championships with her score of 5,608 at the Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays and 5,838 at the 2012 SEC Outdoor Championships.

 

The men’s 4x400-meter relay blew the previous Hodges Stadium facility record out of the water en route to the top time in Saturday’s quarterfinals, finishing in 3:03.64 and advancing to Des Moines. Freshmen Dedric Dukes (Miami, Fla.), Hugh Graham, Jr. (Miami, Fla.), and juniors Leonardo Seymore (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) and Tony McQuay (Riviera Beach, Fla.) combined to turn in a total team effort and crush the previous record time of 3:11.11, set by Mississippi State in 2009 at the UNF Spring Break meet. The Gators finished third overall, as LSU’s and Penn State’s men edged their record time in the final heat of the evening.

 

The women’s 4x400-meter relay came out strong and finished even stronger, turning in a second-place finish in their heat and finishing sixth overall to advance to Des Moines with their time of 3:34.46. The quartet of Ebony Eutsey (Miami, Fla.), Amani Bryant (Tampa, Fla.), Lanie Whittaker (Miami, Fla.) and Ugonna Ndu (Newark, N.J.) pulled together to qualify for the NCAA Finals site, as Bryant came in to run the second leg of the race for the Gator women.

 

“Our 4x400-meter relays are special,” Florida head coach Mike Holloway said. “It’s the last impression we leave and the last thing people see of us and our program. We close out every meet with the 4x4 and they raced hard tonight. Also, I’m so proud of Amani for stepping in tonight in the women’s 4x4. And our men obviously had a tremendous race. I truly couldn’t be more pleased.”

 

Junior jumper Dwight Barbiasz (Milford, N.H.) advanced to the NCAA Finals site in the men’s high jump, easily qualifying with his jump of 2.19m/7-2.25, a height all 12 qualifiers cleared before the field was set at a dozen and competition was completed. Barbiasz, the 2012 SEC men’s high jump champion outdoors, will compete at the NCAA outdoor meet for just the second time in his career, as he placed fifth outdoors last year as a member of the Maryland Terrapins track & field team.

 

Barbiasz transferred to the Gators in January after Maryland’s program was announced as one of three Terrapin programs to be disbanded due to budgetary cuts. The New Hampshire native has certainly made his mark in the UF record books, ranking in the top-two outdoors and the top-five indoors in the high jump.

 

“Dwight had a good day today,” Holloway said. “Coach (Mellanee) Welty said he jumped well. It’s tough with so many competitors in the field, having to wait for 48 athletes to make it through each jump at each height. I thought Dwight did a wonderful job at staying ready throughout the meet.”

 

Freshman Ciarra Brewer (Union City, Calif.) continued her strong performances this outdoor season, as the 2012 SEC women’s triple jump champion qualified for Des Moines with her leap of 13.30m/43-7.75, finishing fifth overall. The freshman is second in the NCAA in the triple jump, first in the SEC and leads the nation’s freshmen in the event heading into the NCAA Outdoor Championships.

 

“I’m really proud of Ciarra today,” Holloway said. “She’s had a phenomenal freshman season and she’s continuing her momentum late in the season. I’m looking forward to seeing what she can do in Des Moines.”

 

Sophomore Darshay Davis (Mirimar, Fla.) turned in another solid performance in the sprints, adding the women’s 200 meters to her Des Moines repertoire after qualifying in the women’s 100 meters on Friday night. The sophomore nabbed the final qualifying spot of the evening with her time of 23.44, finishing fourth in her heat and 12th overall.

 

Davis is the first Florida female athlete since 20-time Gator All-American Kisha Jett (1994-1998) to qualify in both the 100 meters and the 200 meters, as Jett qualified in both events all four of her years in the Orange and Blue.

 

“I’m so pleased with Darshay’s effort today,” Holloway noted. “What a tremendous weekend for her to qualify in both the 100 and 200. She’s really setting herself up for a special week at NCAAs.”

 

Sophomore Cory McGee (Pass Christian, Miss.) advanced to her second NCAA Outdoor Championships in the women’s 1,500 meters in as many tries, as the Gator sophomore finished third overall as well as in the fastest heat of the day in 4:16.36. McGee has already qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene, Ore., having raced to a 4:12.61 personal-best finish in Stanford’s Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational. She will look to improve on her 10th-place finish from a year ago.

 

“I’m incredibly proud of Cory McGee, who competed in so many events at SEC Outdoors just a few weeks ago,” Holloway commented. “It’s tough to recover and come back so quickly to try and qualify for NCAAs but she really battled and came out with a great finish. It’s tough to dial in that fast after a long meet at SECs but I’m pleased with the outcome she had this weekend.”

 

Sophomore Eddie Lovett (West Palm Beach, Fla.) finished second in his heat and sixth overall to advance to Des Moines in the men’s 110-meter hurdles, using his time of 13.65 (+1.3) to qualify for the NCAA Outdoor Championships for the second straight year.

 

Dukes, who qualified for Des Moines as a member of the men’s 4x400-meter relay, also advanced individually in the men’s 200 meters, using a personal best of 20.47 (+0.5) to qualify for his first NCAA Outdoor Championships. Dukes is an early enrollee, stepping onto campus in January and contributing immediately in his first season in the Orange and Blue.

 

“I can’t say enough about Dedric Dukes,” Holloway said. “In just his first season with us, having enrolled here in January and just working with us for a few months, he’s qualified for NCAAs with a great race in the 200. He’s also a member of our 4x400-meter relay and really set us up well for our races in Des Moines.”

 

The Gators now prepare for the 2012 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships, hosted by Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. The four-day event begins on Wednesday, June 6 at Drake Stadium, a venue which also plays host to the famed Drake Relays. The Gator men have placed in the top three at the last three NCAA Outdoor Championships, while the Florida women recorded a third-place finish at the 2010 NCAA Outdoor Championships.

 

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

 

NCAA EAST PRELIMINARY ROUND – NCAA OUTDOOR TRACK & FIELD CHAMPIONSHIPS (MAY 24-26, 2012 – JACKSONVILLE, FL)

 

SATURDAY, MAY 26, 2012

 

FIELD EVENTS

 

Men’s High Jump – Quarterfinal

6.             Dwight Barbiasz, 2.19m/7-2.25 (Q)

40.          Frankie Hammond, 2.02m/6-7.50

 

Women’s Triple Jump – Quarterfinal

5.             Ciarra Brewer, 13.30m/43-7.75 (Q)

 

RUNNING EVENTS

 

Women’s 200 Meters – Quarterfinal

12.          Darshay Davis, 23.44 (+0.2) (Q)

 

Men’s 200 Meters – Quarterfinal

5.             Dedric Dukes, 20.47 (+0.5) (Q) (PR)

17.          Leonardo Seymore, 20.85 (+1.0)

 

Women’s 1,500 Meters – Quarterfinal

3.             Cory McGee, 4:16.36 (Q)

 

Men’s 5000 Meters – Quarterfinal

45.          Josh Izewski, 15:02.95

 

Men’s 110-Meter Hurdles – Quarterfinal

6.             Eddie Lovett, 13.65 (+1.3) (Q)

 

Men’s 4x100-Meter Relay – Quarterfinal

--             Florida (E. Lovett, T. McQuay, L. Seymore, D. Dukes), DNF (dropped baton)

 

Women’s 4x400-Meter Relay – Quarterfinal

6.             Florida (E. Eutsey, A. Bryant, U. Ndu, L. Whittaker), 3:34.46 (Q)

 

Men’s 4x400-Meter Relay – Quarterfinal

3.             Florida (D. Dukes, H. Graham, Jr., L. Seymore, T. McQuay), 3:03.64 (Q)

 

(Q) – Qualified for Des Moines

(PR) – Personal Record

 

FLORIDA’S NCAA OUTDOOR CHAMPIONSHIPS QUALIFIERS

100 Meters – Women

Darshay Davis

200 Meters – Women

Darshay Davis

200 Meters – Men

Dedric Dukes

400 Meters – Women

Lanie Whittaker

400 Meters – Men

Tony McQuay

1,500 Meters – Women

Cory McGee

10,000 Meters – Women

Florence Ngetich

110-Meter Hurdles – Men

Eddie Lovett

3000-Meter Steeplechase – Women

Genevieve LaCaze

4x400-Meter Relay – Women

Florida

4x400-Meter Relay – Men

Florida

High Jump – Women

Taylor Burke

High Jump – Men

Dwight Barbiasz

Long Jump – Men

Marquis Dendy

Triple Jump – Women

Ciarra Brewer

Triple Jump – Men

Omar Craddock, Marquis Dendy

Hammer Throw – Men

Jeremy Postin

Javelin Throw – Men

Stipe Zunic

Heptathlon – Women

Brittany Harrell

 

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