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Photo: Cheryl Treworgy/PrettySporty.com

Wednesday June 6, 2012McQuay Torches the Track on First Day of NCAA Championships

Des Moines, Iowa

Photo: Cheryl Treworgy/PrettySporty.com

Junior Tony McQuay (Riviera Beach, Fla.) led the way for the Orange and Blue on the opening day of the 2012 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Drake University. McQuay was one of two Gators to advance on Wednesday, as senior Genevieve LaCaze (Queensland, Australia) also moved on to Friday’s finals in the women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase.

 

McQuay had a career day at Drake Stadium, as the 2012 SEC Outdoor Champion and NCAA Indoor Champion torched the track with a new personal best and NCAA-leading 44.67 in the men’s 400 meters. The time, which just eclipses his previous PR of 44.68 in his championship performance at the 2011 U.S. Championships, is the second-fastest time in the U.S. this year and third-fastest performance in the world.

 

The performance puts McQuay just .01 away from tying the Florida school record of 44.66 set by Tyrone Kemp in 1989, and bests his previous season best (45.48 – 2012 SEC Outdoor Championships) by over a second. McQuay will compete in the finals of the men’s 400 meters on Friday at 6:55 p.m. CT.

 

“Tony was phenomenal tonight,” Florida head coach Mike Holloway said. “He’s been training well and for him to come out and run the fastest time in the NCAA this year and the second-fastest in the U.S., I think it really gave us great momentum to start NCAAs. He works really hard and puts in the effort and today was proof of that.”

 

LaCaze, the 2012 USTFCCCA South Region Women’s Track Athlete of the Year, cruised to a spot in Friday’s 3,000-meter steeplechase finals with her time of 10:06.78, finishing third in her heat and ninth overall. LaCaze is the 2012 SEC Commissioner’s Trophy recipient and the 2012 SEC Co-Women’s Runner of the Year and will look to improve on her fifth-place finish from a year ago. The senior will run her final race in the Orange and Blue at 6:30 p.m. CT.

 

“I couldn’t be more proud of Genevieve tonight,” Holloway commented. “I really enjoyed watching her run tonight and I can’t wait to see her compete on Friday. She set a good tone for our women for the rest of the weekend.”

 

Freshman Marquis Dendy (Middleton, Del.) competed in his first event of the weekend, finishing 10th overall in the men’s long jump with his leap of 7.61m/24-11.75 and narrowly missing a chance to advance to the finals. Dendy has another chance to compete in Des Moines, as he will participate in the men’s triple jump on Friday.

 

Dendy was the highest-finishing freshman in the long jump and the only freshman in the NCAA to qualify for both the men’s long jump and triple jump in Des Moines. The other two athletes to qualify for the finals site in both the men’s long jump and triple jump are LSU senior Kyron Blaise and Arizona State senior Chris Benard.

 

Action resumes on Thursday beginning with the heptathlon, as sophomore Brittany Harrell (McComb, Miss.) will start out with the 100-meter hurdles, the high jump, the shot put and the 200 meters on Thursday.

 

Sophomore Stipe Zunic (Zadar, Croatia) will look to finish his phenomenal sophomore campaign in the men’s javelin. Zunic has won seven consecutive javelin titles in 2012, including the SEC crown and the Drake Relays title here in Des Moines.

 

Junior Dwight Barbiasz (Milford, N.H.), the 2012 SEC Champion in the men’s high jump, hopes to improve on his fifth-place finish from NCAA Outdoors a year ago when he was a Maryland Terrapin.

 

Freshman Dedric Dukes (Miami, Fla.) is one of only four freshmen in the 24-athlete field of the men’s 200 meters, looking to make a statement and advance to Saturday’s finals.

 

Sophomore Cory McGee (Pass Christian, Miss.) will race in the semifinals of the women’s 1,500 meters, having advanced to her second-consecutive appearance in Des Moines. The Mississippi native 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.

 

Sophomore Eddie Lovett (West Palm Beach, Fla.) will look to advance as the second-youngest competitor in his heat of the men’s 110-meter hurdles, an event in which he finished 17th a year ago. The sophomore has improved markedly from a year ago with his personal best of 13.54 (4/21, Tom Jones Memorial Classic), shaving a tenth of a second off his season best from 2011 (13.64) and over two-tenths of a second from his 2011 NCAA performance (13.77).

 

Florida’s famed 4x400-meter relays will take to the track in Des Moines on Thursday evening, as both the men’s and women’s relay squads rank top-10 in the NCAA this season and will look to advance to Saturday’s final races.

 

Sophomore Florence Ngetich (Eldama Ravine, Kenya) will compete in the final race of the night, as the women’s 10,000 meters caps off the second day of competition at Drake Stadium. Ngetich, who did not run on a track until moving to the United States to attend college, has had an outstanding first season for the Gators, ranking third all-time in Florida program history with her time of 33:44.64 at the Mt. SAC Relays in Walnut, Calif.

 

“Tomorrow is a big day for the Gators,” Holloway noted. “We have a lot of opportunities to qualify for finals and score points. We’ll be ready to compete on Thursday and I look forward to seeing what we bring to the track tomorrow. I think Tony and Gen’s performances really started us off strong on both sides.”

 

Live results for Thursday’s events can be found here and ESPN3 will carry Thursday’s broadcast beginning at 5:15 p.m. CT. The ESPN announcing team is comprised of Trey Bender (play-by-play), Larry Rawson (analyst) and Jill Montgomery (reporter).

 

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 OUTDOOR TRACK & FIELD CHAMPIONSHIPS (JUNE 6-9, 2012 – DES MOINES, IA)

 

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 6, 2012

 

FIELD EVENTS

 

Men’s Long Jump – Semifinal

10.          Marquis Dendy, 7.61m/24-11.75

 

RUNNING EVENTS

 

Women’s 100 Meters – Semifinal

24.          Darshay Davis, 11.69 (-1.2)

 

Women’s 400 Meters – Semifinal

10.          Lanie Whittaker, 52.49

 

Men’s 400 Meters – Semifinal

1.             Tony McQuay, 44.67 (PR)

 

Women’s 3,000-Meter Steeplechase – Semifinal

9.             Genevieve LaCaze, 10:06.78

 

Thursday, June 7

1:00pm

Heptathlon 100 Hurdles

Brittany Harrell

2:00pm

Heptathlon High Jump

Brittany Harrell

2:30pm

Men’s Javelin

Stipe Zunic

4:30pm

Heptathlon Shot Put

Brittany Harrell

5:30pm

Men’s High Jump

Dwight Barbiasz

5:30pm

Men’s 200m

Dedric Dukes

5:45pm

Women’s 200m

Darshay Davis

6:00pm

Heptathlon 200m

Brittany Harrell

6:30pm

Women’s 1500m

Cory McGee

6:50pm

Men’s 110 Hurdles

Eddie Lovett

8:05pm

Men’s 4x400m

Dedric Dukes-Hugh Graham, Jr.-Leonardo Seymore-Tony McQuay

8:25pm

Women’s 4x400m

Ebony Eutsey-Alishea Usery-Lanie Whittaker-Ugonna Ndu

8:45pm

Women’s 10,000m

Florence Ngetich

 

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