UF men's track finishes 2nd at NCAA Outdoors
Published: Saturday, June 12, 2010 at 6:05 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, June 12, 2010 at 6:05 p.m.
The Florida track and field teams used a stellar final day to post a pair of top-three national finishes on Saturday at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, in front of 12,812 fans at Hayward Field. The Gator men's team placed second nationally, while the Florida women finished third overall.
Florida's men placed second overall with 54 total team points, while Texas A&M claimed the men's crown with 55 points and Oregon was third with 45. The men's standings were finalized following a controversy over a clerical decision in the men's shot put. The Aggies claimed the women's crown with 72 total points, while Oregon was second with 57 and the Gators were third with 40.
“I am extremely proud of our team today,” Florida head coach Mike Holloway said. “For both our programs to finish in the top three is a great accomplishment. I have to give credit to my staff for their hard work and diligence. For our women to come in here with seven athletes and place third is a great accomplishment. On the men's side, obviously we're disappointed. We want to be national champions, but the bottom line is, we can't allow it to come down to the last event. We were within two points last year and one point this year, so we're getting closer.”
With Florida's two top-three finishes today in NCAA Outdoor Track and Field action, UF athletics now has 13 top-10 national team finishes in 2009-10 – an all-time high for the program. The previous high of 12 top-10 national finishes was achieved five times (1992-93, 2001-02, 2003-04, 2007-08, 2008-09). That total from 2009-10 does not include the 2010 baseball season, which is still competing in the NCAA Tournament.
The Gators concluded the weekend with six individual NCAA Championships: Charlotte Browning (women's 1,500-meter run), Evelien Dekkers (women's javelin), Jeff Demps (men's 100-meter dash), Mariam Kevkhishvili (women's shot put), Christian Taylor (men's triple jump) and the men's 4x100-meter relay.
Senior distance runner Charlotte Browning won the school's first NCAA women's 1,500-meter run championship since Becki Wells in 1997. Browning, who was the 2010 NCAA women's mile champion, captured the outdoor 1,500m crown in 4:15.84.
“I was really proud of Charlotte for coming into a situation where the home crowd was really behind the Oregon girls and competing great,” said assistant coach Todd Morgan. “She really wanted to step up and contribute to help the team. The women we brought to the meet were phenomenal and it was good to see Charlotte be a part of that.”
Dekkers, a senior, won the first NCAA women's javelin title in school history with a school-record toss of 59.00m. Dekkers shattered her own personal-record throw of 53.16m, recorded at last season's NCAA Outdoor Championships, and broke Emily Carlsten's school record of 56.99m, recorded during the 2000 season.
“This was a great way for Evelien to finish her Gator career,” said associate head coach Steve Lemke. “She has persevered for four years and, at every NCAA meet, she has improved. She was relaxed and confident, and everything paid off at the end for her.”
The Florida men's 4x100-meter relay team captured its second consecutive NCAA Championship, winning with a time of 39.04. The Gators, using the quartet of Chris Rainey, Jeremy Hall, Terrell Wilks and Demps, captured the fourth men's 4x100-meter relay title in school history.
The Florida men's 4x400-meter relay team placed third overall to earn All-America honors with a time of 3:01.87. The quartet consisted of R.J. Anderson, Tony McQuay, Preston Wilson and Calvin Smith. That marked the school-record 18th All-America honor in Smith's career.
Junior thrower Kemal Mesic officially placed fourth overall in the men's shot put with a toss of 19.42m to earn All-America honors, while Taylor, a sophomore, placed fourth in the finals of the men's long jump at 7.77m, also earning All-America honors after winning the men's triple jump on Wednesday.
Senior jumper Shara Proctor tallied her second All-America honor of the week by placing fifth in the women's long jump at 6.34m.
Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.