Roundup: 3 Gators win track titles
Published: Saturday, February 25, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, February 26, 2012 at 12:08 a.m.
LEXINGTON, Ky. — The Florida men's and women's track and field teams had a stellar second day on Saturday at the Southeastern Conference Indoor Championships at the University of Kentucky.
The No. 2-ranked Florida men, highlighted by three victories courtesy of freshman jumper Marquis Dendy, senior multi-event athlete Gray Horn and junior thrower Jeremy Postin, are on top of the leaderboard heading into the final day of competition with 50 points.
The No. 6-ranked UF women are in second with 40 points, eight points behind SEC leader Arkansas.
“Any time you can come away with three SEC champions in Gray Horn, Jeremy Postin and Marquis Dendy, it just tells you how blessed I am to have the kind of athletes I have, as well as a great coaching staff,” Florida coach Mike Holloway said. “That's what this meet is all about: competing hard and going out and doing the things we work on in practice. If we'll trust that tomorrow, we're going to be fine.”
Dendy beat his former career best (7.82m/25-8) with an NCAA automatic-qualifying mark of 8.06m/26-5.50 to capture his first SEC title, doing so on his final jump of the event.
“I came in and I was really confident,” Dendy said. “I was second in the SEC coming in and I'm only one place away, so that's all I needed. I had to take that one place and I did.”
Horn took home his second consecutive SEC men's heptathlon title with 5,885 points, edging Arkansas' Gunnar Nixon, the current NCAA leader.
“I told my teammates this one was for them,” Horn said. “We're going for this team title and I take a lot of pride in being a Gator. What the University of Florida has done for me, it's something you can never really be thankful enough for. It's my senior year and it's like watching something come to an end that you never wanted to see come to an end. So I'm just trying to go out well and set a good example for my teammates.”
Postin became the first Gator athlete to win the men's weight throw at the SEC Indoor Championships with his throw of 21.48m/70-5.75, which broke his own Florida school record.
“All the credit (goes) to Coach (Steve) Lemke,” Postin said. “He's been training us right and he's been trying to tweak stuff on our techniques and getting us to throw at the right times. I felt the best I've ever felt in the weight throw today and I think it showed.”
In all, 20 Gator athletes qualified for today's finals, including four women milers and three men hurdlers, while UF saw 13 Saturday point-scorers between the men's and women's teams.
In the first event of the day, senior Frankie Hammond registered a career-best of 2.22m/7-3.25 in the men's high jump to post his best finish at any SEC Championship, coming in second place.
On the women's side, sophomore Lorraine Graham started things off for the Gators with a third-place finish in the women's long jump.
In the women's shot put, mainstays Keely Medeiros and Fidela James came up big for the Gators, combining for 12 points with their second- and fifth-place finishes, respectively. Medeiros, who has spent the 2011-12 season continuing to recover from an injury suffered during summer international competition, threw a season-best 16.98m/55-8.50, while James also performed at a season-best, tossing a 15.25m/50-0.50 mark.
SOFTBALL: Florida finished 4-1 in the Cathedral City Classic in Palm Springs, Calif., including wins over Top-25 opponents in Texas A&M and Texas. The Gators defeated Boise State, 3-0, on Saturday.
The Gators are 13-1 on the season and return home for a Thursday contest against Eastern Michigan before hosting their home tournament, the Lipton Invitational on Friday-Sunday at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium.
UF put up 19 runs on 28 hits, six homers, two doubles and a triple. Sophomore ace Hannah Rogers picked up three wins in the circle for UF.
Women's tennis: Second-ranked Florida (5-1) returns to action after a 14-day layoff and plays host to 13th-ranked North Carolina at 11 a.m. today at Linder Stadium at Ring Tennis Complex, where admission is free.
LACROSSE: No. 4 Florida (3-1) continues its three-game homestand Sunday by facing the Titans of the University of Detroit Mercy at 1 p.m.