Roundup: 17 qualify for track championships


Published: Saturday, May 25, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, May 26, 2013 at 12:14 a.m.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Seventeen Gator qualifiers advanced to the 2013 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships on the final day of competition in Greensboro as the NCAA East Preliminary Round came to a close. In all, a program-record 28 qualifiers will make the trek from Gainesville to Eugene as 14 women, 11 men and three relays will represent the Orange and Blue at historic Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon.

“We had a phenomenal day across the board and I couldn't be more proud of all of our athletes,” Florida head coach Mike Holloway said. “We challenged them after the first day to not get down and to keep fighting and they did that. I'm so proud of our athletes, coaches, trainers, support staff and everyone associated with the program.”

Along with the new program record, the 15 Gator women qualified for NCAAs is also a Florida record and the 13 UF men is the second-most qualifiers in program history. The Orange and Blue qualified a program-record 16 men in 2011.

In the men's hammer throw, Jeremy Postin and Kyle Strawn were the first Gators of the day to advance to Eugene. Postin tossed a mark of 67.81m/222-6 on his final throw of the third flight to earn the top qualifier spot out of the East. For Strawn, his second throw of 63.07m/206-11 punched his ticket to TrackTown. This will be Strawn's first NCAA Championships, improving his PB from 56.11m/184-1 as a freshman at UCSB to 66.90m/219-6 as a Gator, a difference of over 35 feet.

In the men's triple jump, senior Omar Craddock and sophomore Marquis Dendy advanced to the NCAA Championships by finishing 1-2 in the event Saturday. Craddock used his opening jump to lead from the get-go, leaping 16.04m/52-7.50 to make the two-time NCAA Champion the only athlete in the field to surpass the 16-meter mark. Dendy's first jump of the finals, a leap of 15.78m/51-9.25, proved to be his best and catapulted him in the overall standings from 13th to second behind Craddock.

“I'm proud of both Omar and Marquis for qualifying in the men's triple jump,” Holloway said. “For Marquis to bounce back after a disappointment in the men's long jump, it says a lot about his determination and work ethic. Today, Omar was Omar and he delivered just like he does every meet. I'm very pleased with both of their performances.”

Both Gators competing in the women's javelin advanced to the NCAA finals site, as Marija Vucenovic and Fawn Miller turned in top-five finishes to qualify for the event in Eugene. Vucenovic utilized her first mark of the competition to seal her postseason fate, throwing 51.92m/170-4. Miller's second attempt was her best of the day as she was one of only five athletes to break the 50-meter mark at 50.01m/164-1.

2013 SEC Outdoor Champion in the women's triple jump, Ciarra Brewer advanced to her second straight NCAA Outdoor Championships appearance. The Gator sophomore had an easier day than most, passing her jumps in the final after landing a mark of 13.10m/42-11.75 to qualify second overall.

On the track, the Florida men's 4x100-meter relay team of Antwan Wright, Hugh Graham, Jr., Leonardo Seymore and Dedric Dukes advanced out of their quarterfinal for Eugene, winning the second heat of the event in 39.32 to give UF its first race qualifier of Saturday.

The women's 4x4 will also be competing in Eugene, finishing second in their quarterfinal and fourth overall in 3:32.68 courtesy of Robin Reynolds, Amani Bryant, Destinee Gause and Ebony Eutsey.

Dedric Dukes and Hugh Graham, Jr. were members of Florida's 4x400-meter relay, teaming up with freshmen Najee Glass and Arman Hall to run the fastest qualifying time in the East Preliminary Round in 3:04.99.

Dukes advanced in the men's 200 meters as well, racing to a time of 20.68 to finish second in his heat and sixth overall. He was joined in the 200-meter group by Gause and Darshay Davis, who both advanced on the women's side. Gause ran a new personal best with her time of 23.19 to improve her standing as seventh all-time in program history.

TENNIS: At Urbana, Ill., junior Stephane Piro and senior Bob van Overbeek had their run end on Saturday in the quarterfinals of the 2013 NCAA Doubles Championship, losing to No. 4 seeded Jarmere Jenkins and Mac Styslinger of Virginia. With the loss, the Florida men's tennis season has concluded.

LACROSSE: Senior goalie Mikey Meagher was named the WomensLax.com goalie of the year and one of three Gators to earn All-American honors, announced by the web site on Friday.

Meagher repeats as the organization's goalie of the year as she picked up honors in 2011. She has earned a total of three goalie of the year distinctions for 2013 including American Lacrosse Conference and SynapseSports.com honors. In addition, Meagher was one of three Gators to earn All-American honors.

Meagher protected the Florida cage this season, recording 125 saves and compiled a .502 save percentage, which ranks fifth in the nation this season. The senior goalkeeper also recorded a 6.90 goals against average, the second-best mark in the country.

Seniors Kitty Cullen and Brittany Dashiell were honored as All-Americans. Twenty-five players from 14 schools earned the postseason recognition. The trio of All-Americans led the Gators to an 18-3 overall record and their third-consecutive ALC regular season championship.

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