Florida improves at Gator Invitational


Florida freshman Nene Kamate clears a hurdle during the women's 55-meter hurdles preliminary round at the Gator Invitational track meet Saturday.

DANNY GHITIS/Special to The Sun
Published: Sunday, January 22, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 22, 2006 at 12:00 a.m.
Junior All-American Mike Morrison picked up an NCAA automatic and provisional mark for the No. 15 Florida men's track and field team, while senior All-American Rachel Longfors, senior Jyn Wynn and junior Candace Cabey hit provisionals for the women's team at the Gator Invitational on Saturday at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center.
For the men, Morrison collected an NCAA automatic mark in the high jump and added a provisional in the long jump, while senior All-American Shane Stroup clocked a provisional time in the mile to lead the Gators in their second competition of the season.
Florida picked up wins in three events during the day and added a collegiate top finish in another.
"Mike Morrison did a wonderful job today with a pretty strong provisional in the long jump and an automatic in the high jump," Florida men's coach Mike Holloway said. "We were looking for a commitment from our guys and they stepped up and competed better than we did last week. We're a young team and we need to be patient, but our goal is to get better every week and we did that."
Cabey notched the first provisional of her career in the triple jump, while Longfors and Wynn tallied NCAA B standards in the weight throw for the second straight week. Sophomore Natalie Moser had the seventh-highest pole vault in Florida history, leaping 3.87m/12-8.25, while the women's 400-meter relay clocked a time of 3 minutes, 42.73 seconds to miss out on a provisional by 1.53 seconds.
As a whole, the women's team had three provisionals and six personal bests set during the competition.
  • MEN'S SWIMMING: No. 7 Florida (8-3, 4-1 Southeastern Conference) dropped its first SEC dual meet of the season, 152-148, against Auburn by the smallest margin in head coach Gregg Troy's tenure at Florida.
    Auburn took the early lead when the team of Doug Van Wie, David Maras, Alexei Puninski, and Cesar Cielo won the 200 MR in a time of 1:28.63.
    Florida's team of Ryan Lochte, Nick Borreca, Lucas Salatta and Darian Townsend recorded the Gators' fastest time in the event this season with an NCAA B time of 1:28.87.
  • WOMEN'S SWIMMING: Fourth-ranked Florida lost to No. 2 Auburn, 178-120, to move to 9-2 for the season and 4-2 in the SEC.
    Florida notched 20 NCAA provisional qualifying times against Auburn, the most it's recorded in a single meet this season.
  • MEN'S TENNIS: Florida sophomore Nestor Briceno defeated LSU's Mark Growcott 2-6, 6-1, 6-0 in the second consolation round of singles play at the SEC Indoor Championships for the Gators' only singles victory of the day.
    Junior All-American Janne Holmia and senior Ryan Sherry lost in their respective matches.
    Holmia faced top-seeded John Isner of Georgia and took him to three sets before finally falling by a count of 6-3, 2-6, 6-4. Sherry took on No. 2-seeded Strahinja Bobusic of Georgia, and Bobusic came away with a 6-0, 6-1, win in straight sets.
    In doubles action, Holmia and Briceno teamed up to defeat Mississippi State's Phillipe Frayssinoux and Pierre Mouillon 8-3 in the main draw Friday night. However, Kaden Hensel and Ben Rogers of Tennessee bested the Gator duo in the second round by a tally of 8-3.
    Seniors Chris Brandi (Gainesville, Fla.) and Sherry lost to Matic Omerzel and Luis Flores of Georgia 8-3 in the opening round Friday. In the consolation round Saturday, Shane Collins and Greg Anderson of Kentucky defeated Brandi and Sherry 8-4.
    Briceno will continue singles play against a to-be-determined opponent in Sunday's third round. There is no bracket set up for the consolation rounds.
    "Our 400-meter relay team did a great job of holding their own and was just off a provisional mark, which is a long way from where we were last weekend," Florida women's coach Tom Jones said. "I was also happy with our pole vaulters, mile runners and weight throwers. We have a long way to go as a team, but we are focused on just getting better as the season goes along."
    For the men, Morrison was the top collegiate finisher in the high jump as he booked a ticket to the NCAA Indoor Championships by clearing the automatic mark of 2.23m/7-3.75 to finish second overall. The leap matched his performance at the 2004 NCAA meet when he finished fourth and was the second best of his indoor career.
    Immediately before securing his mark in the high jump, Morrison had posted a winning leap and a provisional mark in the long jump (7.80m/25-7.25). He won the event by 3.25 inches, while his leap was 2.25 inches short of his career best.
    Stroup led for most of his heat in the men's mile before finishing second with an NCAA provisional time of 4:02.84, which was also good enough for second overall. Stroup led for most of his heat before being overtaken by former Kentucky star David Freeman in the final 100m. The clocking was the second-best indoor mile time of his career and was shy of his personal best by 0.51 seconds.
    Freshman Willie Perry (Lenoir, N.C.) barely missed out on capturing the first provisional mark of his career by posting the second-fastest collegiate time in the 200m of 21.51 * just 0.03 off the NCAA B standard. He finished third behind Tennessee's Rubin Williams (21.09) and former Gator NCAA champion and world-record holder Kerron Clement (21.10).
    Florida's 4x400m relay came within 0.20 of recording a provisional time as the foursome of senior All-American Sekou Clarke (Kingston, Jamaica), freshman Chris Gilchrist (Broken Arrow, Okla.), freshman Emmanuel Dzata (Montgomery, Ala.) and sophomore All-American Bernard Middleton (Jacksonville, Fla.) won the event with a time of 3:12.20 * better than three seconds faster than runner-up South Carolina.
    Indoor freshman Wes Stockbarger (Port Charlotte, Fla.) posted the top collegiate mark in the shot put and finished second with a throw of 17.51m/57-5.50. His mark was 8.5 inches away from a provisional.
    The Gators claimed their second win of the day when the distance medley relay team of sophomore Jeremy Miller (West Palm Beach, Fla.), junior Brandon Saltmarsh (Lake Mary, Fla.), freshman Justin Taylor (St. Augustine, Fla.) and sophomore Ryder Leary (Yulee, Fla.) led the race from start to finish with a time of 10:15.10.
    On the women's side, in the final event of the evening, Cabey shattered her previous collegiate-high of 39-0.25 on her third jump in the triple jump, vaulting herself into an NCAA provisional meeting mark of 12.67m/41-7. The victory was the second of her career.
    "I cannot tell you how happy I am for Candace Cabey," Jones explained. "For her to come in as a walk-on three years ago and come in today to win the triple jump and qualify for NCAAs is amazing. I'm very happy with her performance today."
    The weight throw again proved prosperous for the Gators for the second-straight week as Longfors and Wynn both met NCAA provisional marks in the event. Longfors launched a toss of 20.67m/67-9.75, while Wynn reset her personal record with a throw of 19.76m/64-10. Former Gator NCAA champion Erin Gilreath, who currently holds the American record in the event, paced the field with a mark of 21.63m/70-11.75.
    The 4x400m relay team of junior Dominique McLeggan (Weston, Fla.), freshman Nene Kamate (Jamaica, N.Y.), sophomore All-American Zan Joseph (Boynton Beach, Fla.) and classmate Abigail David (Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago) closed out the running events and paced the field with a first-place clocking of 3:42.73.
    Moser continued her impressive start to the 2006 campaign with her second PR in as many meets after jumping 3.87m/12-8.25 in the pole vault, upping her previous career-high of 3.85/12-7.75 set at the Florida Intercollegiate. Moser now is seventh on the all-time Florida pole vault charts.
    Kamate bested her 55m hurdle PR time by 0.14, running an 8.13 in the finals of the event Saturday. Kamate's previous high was a clocking of 8.27 during the prelims at the Florida Intercollegiate Jan. 15.
    Sophomore All-American Lakecia Ealey (Albany, Ga.) inched closer to the NCAA provisional time in the 55m, clocking in at 6.97 which is only .05 off the provisional standard of 6.92. She finished sixth in the race.
    Sophomore Kristen Johnson (Atlanta, Ga.) clocked a personal-best 4:58.78 in the mile en route to a third place finish, while sophomore Devin Gapstur (Stuart, Fla.) reset her personal-best in the 5,000m for the second-straight week with a time of 18:15.14.
    A portion of the men's squad returns to action next weekend at the Clemson Hepthathlon Championships Jan. 27-28, while the women's team travels to the New Mexico Invitational.
    The teams will return to Gainesville Feb. 5 for the Pepsi Classic at the O'Connell Center.
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