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Photos: Cheryl Treworgy/PrettySporty.com

Friday June 8, 2012Craddock and McQuay Claim National Titles on Day Three of NCAA Championships

Des Moines, Iowa

Photos: Cheryl Treworgy/PrettySporty.com

Juniors Omar Craddock (Killeen, Texas) and Tony McQuay (Riviera Beach, Fla.) secured NCAA Championships on the third day of competition at the 2012 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Drake Stadium, moving the Gator men into first heading into the final day of competition.

 

“What can you say about Omar and Tony,” Florida head coach Mike Holloway said. “They came in as the favorites and that’s not an easy thing to do. Incredible job by both guys, coming out here and performing the way they did.”

 

McQuay was the first winner of the day, running an easy race until the final 100 meters, battling it out with Oregon’s Mike Berry to take home the men’s 400 meters title in a Florida school record and new personal best of 44.58. This is McQuay’s second NCAA title this year after winning indoors at the 2012 NCAA Championships in Nampa, Idaho.

 

"Mike (Berry, Oregon) is a good runner,” McQuay said. “I ran yesterday (in the men’s 4x400-meter relay) and the others had some rest so I had that on my mind. I thought Mike was going to get out a little slower. He ended up getting out pretty good and finishing strong. He picked up around the curve. I knew I was going to be in trouble so I had to kick it in a little earlier than I wanted to. But I lived up to my training and finished strong."

 

McQuay won the first 400-meter title in Florida school history and just the seventh men’s 400-meter NCAA Outdoor Championships title in Southeastern Conference history. He is now the NCAA leader, second in the U.S. and third in the world this year and will compete at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene, Ore. at the end of the month.

 

Craddock claimed his crown just 10 minutes later, leaping to an all-conditions best 16.92m/55-6.25 (+2.9) in the men’s triple jump. His title is the sixth straight NCAA title for the Gators, as Christian Taylor and Will Claye combined to win four indoors and outdoors in 2010 and 2011. Craddock was the 2012 NCAA Indoor Champion as well as the SEC Champion indoors and outdoors.

 

"(Winning) was fun,” Craddock said. “Like I've been saying this whole year, I have to be that guy to be number one, it's a lot of pressure, so I'm taking it in stride and doing what I have to do to be the number one. I've done it, indoors and out."

 

Craddock fouled his first two jumps, putting himself in the stressful position of using his final jump of the first flight to qualify for the finals. The junior jumped 16.27m/53-4.50 to put himself in third heading into the finals.

 

“I thought I was going to cry, honestly, after those first two (missed) jumps,” Craddock said. “I felt all this pressure but I had to really trust myself and Coach (Brian) O’Neal and I knew I needed to get comfortable so I could just get a mark and make it to finals. After I did that, I felt great and my fourth jump was proof that I just need to focus and not get nervous.”

 

Craddock’s jump makes him the fourth-ranked U.S. male in the triple jump heading into the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene, Ore.

 

Senior Genevieve LaCaze (Queensland, Australia) ended her phenomenal senior year and tremendous Florida career with a runner-up finish in the women’s 3000-meter steeplechase. The Aussie ran a personal best of 9:50.25, improving her time as the Gator record holder and permanently earning her a place among the Gator greats.

 

The race was neck-and-neck with LaCaze and Colorado’s Shalaya Kipp trading the lead throughout the race. Kipp pulled ahead in the final 60 meters and finished just over a second ahead of LaCaze.

 

“I’m so proud of Gen,” Holloway said. “She’s had such a phenomenal senior year and I just can’t say enough about her and the work she has put in together with Coach (Paul) Spangler. She broke the school record and will forever be a part of Gator history.”

 

LaCaze ends her career as the 2012 SEC Champion in the 1,500 meters, 5,000 meters and the three-time SEC Champion in the women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase (2009, 2011, 2012). She was the recipient of the 2012 SEC Commissioner’s Trophy and earned both SEC Co-Women’s Runner of the Year and USTFCCCA South Region Women’s Track Athlete of the Year.

 

Junior Jeremy Postin (Auburndale, Fla.) also tallied a national runner-up finish in the men’s hammer throw, using his first toss of 69.47m/227-11 to claim his best NCAA finish of his career, having finished eighth a year ago.

 

“What an unbelievable job by Jeremy,” Holloway said. “We’ve been talking about him all year long and how big he’s been. For him to get second at NCAAs, it says a lot about all the hard work he and Coach (Steve) Lemke have put in and what we can look forward to from him in the future.”

 

Freshman Taylor Burke (Medina, Ohio) finished tied for ninth in the women’s high jump, as the rookie used a personal best 1.83m/6-0 in her first NCAA Outdoor Championships appearance. Burke is not only the 2012 SEC Champion outdoors in the women’s high jump, she is also the starting goalkeeper for the Florida soccer team.

 

“I’m very proud of Taylor and her performance today,” Holloway commented. “She jumped her PR again and as a freshman in her first NCAAs outdoors, I think she did tremendously and she and Coach (Mellanee) Welty worked together so well this year. Taylor’s a part-time soccer goalie and part-time high jumper and I can’t thank Coach (Becky) Burleigh and her staff enough for sharing her with us.”

 

The Gator men have two scoring opportunities on Championship Saturday while the Gator women have three. Sophomore Eddie Lovett (West Palm Beach, Fla.) will compete in his first 110-meter hurdles final at the NCAA Championships while the men’s 4x400-meter relay will be looking to earn their first NCAA title.

 

On the women’s side, Ciarra Brewer (Union City, Calif.) will compete in the women’s triple jump at 10 a.m. CT, sophomore Cory McGee (Pass Christian, Miss.) will look to score in the finals of the women’s 1,500 meters and the women’s 4x400-meter relay will have the opportunity to race together for a final time in the final event of the NCAA Outdoor Championships.

 

Live results for Saturday’s events can be found here and ESPNU will televise Saturday’s action from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. CT, while ESPN3 will carry Saturday’s broadcast as well. 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)

 

FRIDAY, JUNE 8, 2012

 

MULTI EVENTS

 

Women’s Heptathlon - FINAL

16.          Brittany Harrell, 5428 points

o    Long Jump – 11th (5.76m/18-10.75) – 777 points

o    Javelin – 14th (34.40m/112-10) – 560 points

o    800 Meters – 18th (2:25.36) – 752 points

 

FIELD EVENTS

 

Women’s High Jump - FINAL

T9.          Taylor Burke, 1.83m/6-0 (PR)

 

Men’s Triple Jump - FINAL

1.             Omar Craddock, 16.92m/55-6.25 (+2.9) (wPR)

20.          Marquis Dendy, 15.30m/50-2.50 (+2.2)

 

Men’s Hammer Throw - FINAL

2.             Jeremy Postin, 69.47m/227-11

 

RUNNING EVENTS

 

Men’s 400 Meters - FINAL

1.             Tony McQuay, 44.58 (PR) (SR)

 

Women’s 3,000-Meter Steeplechase - FINAL

2.             Genevieve LaCaze, 9:50.25 (PR) (SR)

 

MEN’S TEAM SCORES – AFTER DAY THREE

1

FLORIDA

36.00  

2

Virginia Tech

28.00  

3

Arizona

24.00  

4

LSU

23.00  

5

Oregon

22.00  

6

Southern Utah

20.00  

7

Texas

19.00  

8

Arkansas

18.00  

9

UCLA

17.00  

10

Stanford

16.00

 

WOMEN’S TEAM SCORES – AFTER DAY THREE

1

LSU

40.00  

1

Oregon

40.00  

3

Oklahoma

24.00  

4

Stanford

22.00  

5

Kansas

21.00  

5

Tennessee

21.00  

7

Illinois State

16.00  

7

Southern Illinois

16.00  

9

UCLA

14.00  

9

Georgia

14.00

T23

FLORIDA

8.00 

 

Saturday, June 9 – all times CT

10:00am

Women’s Triple Jump

Ciarra Brewer

11:28am

Women’s 1500m

Cory McGee

12:07pm

Men’s 110 Hurdles

Eddie Lovett

12:40pm

Men’s 4x400

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

12:50pm

Women’s 4x400

Ebony Eutsey-Amani Bryant-Lanie Whittaker-Ugonna Ndu

 

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