Claye earns UF's first field medal


United States bronze medal winner Will Claye celebrates after the men's long jump during the athletics competition in the Olympic Stadium at the Summer Olympics on Saturday in London. (The Associated Press)

Published: Saturday, August 4, 2012 at 6:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, August 4, 2012 at 6:07 p.m.

Will Claye took home Florida's first field event medal in history, turning in a historic performance in the men's long jump on the second day of track & field at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

Claye, who finished eighth in Friday's qualification round, leapt an astonishing 8.12m/26-7.75 on Saturday to earn a podium finish in the event. Claye's performance gave the United States its 48th medal in the men's long jump and its first since 2004 (Dwight Phillips-gold, John Moffitt-silver).

Claye has another medal opportunity later in the week, taking to the runway once again to compete in the men's triple jump alongside former Gator teammate and current Team USA teammate Christian Taylor.

Kerron Clement advanced to the finals of the men's 400-meter hurdles, finishing third in his heat and fifth overall in a season's best 48.12. Clement, the reigning silver medalist from the 2008 Beijing Olympics, will compete in the finals of the men's 400-meter hurdles on Monday at 3:45 p.m.

Tony McQuay finished second in his heat of the men's 400 meters (18th overall) in 45.48, advancing to Sunday's semifinals at 3:40 p.m. McQuay and U.S. teammate Bryshon Nellum are the only competitors from Team USA remaining, as reigning Olympic gold medalist LaShawn Merritt did not finish.

“I could've executed a little bit better but I got the job done,” McQuay said. “I did my job and made it to the next round.”

Novlene Williams-Mills (Jamaica) finished third in her heat of the women's 400 meters (third overall) in 49.91, the fastest non-automatic qualifier, advancing to Sunday's final at 4:10 p.m. Williams-Mills is looking for her first individual Olympic medal, having earned a silver medal with the Jamaican women's 4x400-meter relay in Athens at the 2004 Olympic Games.

McQuay and Williams-Mills are the Gators' only competitors for Sunday's races.

Genevieve LaCaze (Australia) turned in a personal best in the women's 3,000-meter steeplechase on Saturday, shattering the Florida school record once again. LaCaze finished in 9:37.90 to finish ninth in her heat. She did not advance to the finals of the event but improved upon her place as the fourth-fastest steeplechaser in Australian athletics history. LaCaze was one of five women in the qualification round to run a personal best and beat the 2012 NCAA Champion Shalaya Kipp (Colorado) in the process. LaCaze turned in a runner-up finish behind Kipp in Des Moines at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.

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