FLORIDA TRACK & FIELD

Brewer, UF women seek first NCAA outdoor championship


Published: Monday, June 9, 2014 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, June 8, 2014 at 10:39 p.m.

With All-American triple jumper Ciarra Brewer helping to lead the charge, the fourth-ranked Florida women's track and field team will head to Eugene, Ore., for the NCAA Championships on Wednesday-Saturday looking to bring back the program's first national outdoor title.

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All-American triple jumper Ciarra Brewer is hoping to help the Gator women secure their first outdoor NCAA title.

The Associated Press

Facts

NCAA Track & Field Championships

Where: Hayward Field on University of Oregon campus, Eugene, Ore.
When: Wednesday-Saturday
TV: ESPNU, Friday, 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, 5 p.m.

Buoyed by a third-place finish at the NCAA Indoor Championships that was the program's best since placing second in 2005 and a close, runner-up SEC Outdoors finish last month, Brewer and her 11 UF women's teammates who also have qualified for NCAAs are eyeing the big prize.

“We have gotten really close each year,” Brewer said. “At NCAA Indoors, that was the closest we've gotten. We know that we are really good, and we just all have to come together and believe in ourselves. That's how the men's team has been able to do it.”

The No. 2-ranked Florida men, who have qualified 13 individuals for nationals to bring the overall number of UF student-athletes making the trip to Eugene to 25, have won five NCAA titles — all since 2010 under coach Mike Holloway. Included are three consecutive NCAA indoor crowns from 2010-12 and back-to-back NCAA outdoor titles in 2012-13.

UF's only NCAA women's title was an indoor one in 1992 under former coach Beverly Kearney. That same squad went on to record a runner-up NCAA Outdoor finish, the program's best to date.

At the SEC Outdoor Championships, Brewer not only won her specialty for the third straight year, but did so with a mark of 13.91 meters (45 feet, 7 3/4 inches) that ranks No. 1 in the nation and broke her own SEC meet and UF school-record mark of 13.85 meters set last year.

“I'm just really thankful and grateful that God has blessed me with a good and healthy outdoor season,” she said. “I didn't really have that good of a national meet indoors because I was battling a hamstring injury.”

Due to that injury, Brewer, a junior from Union City, Calif., who won her first SEC Indoor title this year, has only competed outdoors four times this season, beginning with the Tom Jones Memorial on April 14. Yet she has won every time, capped by finishing first at last weekend's NCAA East Regional Preliminary Championships in Jacksonville.

Under the tutelage of second-year jumps coach Nic Petersen, Brewer was named the SEC Women's Co-Field Athlete of the Year after becoming just the second Gator to win the SEC Outdoor triple jump title in three consecutive years, joining former school-record holder Shara Proctor (2008-10).

“I'm very proud of Ciarra and very proud of the work that she and Coach Petersen have put in this year, but I think both of them will be the first ones to tell you that they're not done yet,” said Holloway, who is in his 12th year as the UF men's coach and seventh directing both programs.

“There's still more out there and some technical changes that can be made to make her even better. I'm very happy for her getting that award as well as Coach Petersen because they won that award together. At the end of the day, I am really excited to see what she can do as we move forward.”

Brewer echoed those sentiments.

“I'm really excited that I had a pretty good season so far, but I'm still hungry and hoping to jump even farther,” she said. “The whole team is really focused and determined.

“Even though we've done well this year, we know the rankings don't matter until the last meet is over. It's all about who comes to show up at NCAAs, and I just feel like everybody here has a goal and their mindset is to do the best that they can. I'm just really excited to see where we go from here.”

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