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Photo: Cheryl Treworgy/

Monday June 4, 2012LaCaze Named USTFCCCA South Region Women's Track Athlete of the Year

Gainesville, Fla.

Photo: Cheryl Treworgy/

Senior distance runner Genevieve LaCaze (Queensland, Australia) has been named the 2012 USTFCCCA South Region Womenís Track Athlete of the Year, the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) announced on Monday afternoon.


This is the second such honor for the Gator program since Charlotte Browning received the nod in 2010. The recognition comes just two weeks after LaCaze was named the Southeastern Conference Co-Womenís Runner of the Year and is the third major accolade of LaCazeís career, as she was also named the SEC Womenís Freshman Runner of the Year outdoors in 2009.


LaCaze etched her name in SEC history that weekend in mid-May, as she became the first female in conference history to sweep the womenís 3,000-meter steeplechase, the womenís 1,500 meters and the womenís 5,000 meters. The senior scored 30 points over the meet, earning herself the 2012 SEC Commissionerís Trophy.


She is the first Florida female to win the Commissionerís Trophy outdoors since LaQuanda Cotton shared the honors in 2002 and ties as the highest point-scorer in Gator womenís track & field history alongside Shelly Steely in 1985. LaCaze is the highest scorer at the SEC meet on both the menís and the womenís side since Georgiaís Hyleas Fountain in 2004.


LaCaze won the 3,000-meter steeplechase on Saturday evening and turned around on Sunday afternoon to compete in the finals of the womenís 1,500 meters. LaCaze ran a steady race and took charge the last 100 meters to take home her second title of the weekend, winning in 4:13.44, a new personal best.  


LaCaze then ventured into the womenís 5,000 meters, a race with 29 participants. The Australia native came into the event with adrenaline and momentum from her previous two victories and came out of it a champion, winning in 16:26.38, earning yet another title and another 10 points for the Gators. The senior ran personal bests this season in the 800 meters (2:07.70), 1,500 meters (4:13.44) and the 3,000-meter steeplechase (9:55.44). The senior All-American also ran a season-best 16:26.38 in the 5,000 meters at the SEC Outdoor Championships.


LaCaze has six victories on the season, including the Pepsi Florida Relays 4x800-meter relay and the NCAA East Preliminary Round 3,000-meter steeplechase, a race she won with ease while cruising to her second-consecutive NCAA Outdoor Championships appearance. She is sixth in the nation in the steeple and owns the only sub-10 3,000-meter steeplechase time in the SEC this season.


Florida returns to action June 6-9, when it travels to Des Moines, Iowa to participate in the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships, hosted by Drake University.


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