Gators' Will Claye, Cory McGee earn Olympic Team berths in track and field

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Will Claye, a former Florida standout, competes Monday during the finals of men's triple jump at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials in Eugene, Ore.

EUGENE, Ore. — Will Claye won the triple jump on his last attempt Monday night.

Claye, a former University of Florida standout, went a season-best 56 feet, 5¾ inches (17.21 meters) to just edge Donald Scott. Chris Benard finished third to round out the U.S. triple-jump team for the Tokyo Games.

The competition was missing two-time defending Olympic champion Christian Taylor (UF), who ruptured his Achilles tendon last month.

Had the Olympics been held last summer, Claye may not have been ready. He was working his way back from a torn Achilles he suffered in November 2019 while grabbing a rebound in a friendly basketball game. Claye, a two-time Olympic silver medalist, figures to be one of the favorites at the Tokyo Games.

Cory McGee also secured a spot on Team USA for the Tokyo Olympics on Monday evening inside Hayward Field.

McGee was the first Gator to make Team USA team after finishing second in the 1,500 meters finals. The UF record holder finished with personal-record time of 4:00.67. She will be joined in Tokyo this summer by Elle Purrier St. Pierre, who won the race, and third-place finisher Heather MacLean.

McGee and Claye will join current Gator Taylor Manson in Tokyo, who finished seventh in the 400 meters and was named to the 4x400 relay pool Sunday night. Manson logged a new personal-record time of 50.79 seconds, the third-fastest time in school history, to make her first Olympic team.

Both McGee and Claye will return to the track later this week to compete for berths in the women’s 800 meters and the men’s long jump, respectively.

Florida has eight Gators and alumni set to compete at the trials, including reigning world champion Grant Holloway, American long jump champion Marquis Dendy and school record holder in the long jump (indoors) Claire Bryant, among others.

Women's 1500 meter winner Elle Purrier St. Pierre, left, shares the moment Monday with silver medalist Cory McGee and bronze metal winner Heather MacLean during the U.S. Olympic Trials.