Florida Gators men’s track & field wins second-straight NCAA Outdoor Championship

Though the program had never won an NCAA Outdoor Championship prior to the 2012 season, Florida Gators men’s track & field captured its second-straight national title in the season-ending event on Saturday, coming from behind once again squeak out a victory at Hayward Field in Eugene, OR.

Nine points behind the Texas A&M Aggies heading into the men’s 4×400-meter relay, the final event of the afternoon, Florida gutted out a victory in 3:01.34 and benefited from a miscue by Texas A&M. The Aggies dropped the baton during the race, finishing eighth and earning one point, as the Gators picked up 10 points and pulled even with their Southeastern Conference rivals for a shared national title.

Florida, which entered the fourth day of competition in 11th place with just total 15 points, scored 38 during the final day of the event proceedings and brought home two additional (three total) individual national championships on Saturday.

Senior Omar Craddock ended his collegiate career by defending his outdoor men’s triple jump title with a leap of 16.92m/55-6.25, matching his score from 2012. Craddock’s victory marks the fourth-straight outdoor triple jump championship for UF and seventh overall (indoor and outdoor) from 2010-13.

The Gators also won the men’s 4×100-meter relay title in 38.53 seconds on the backs of freshman Antwan Wright, sophomore Hugh Graham, Jr., senior Leonardo Seymore and sophomore Dedric Dukes. Florida earned a 0.01-second victory in the event as Alabama finished in 38.54 seconds.

Graham and Dukes – along with freshmen Najee Glass and Arman Hall – were also part of the 4×400-meter relay title team that won in 3:01.34.

UF has won five of the last eight NCAA Championships in track & field with a three-peat in indoor competition from 2010-12 and consecutive outdoor titles from 2012-13.

The Gators conclude the 2012-13 athletic season with two NCAA Championships (gymnastics), eight SEC regular-season titles (basketball, gymnastics, soccer, women’s cross country, volleyball, men’s swimming, women’s tennis, softball) and one ALC regular-season title (lacrosse). Florida also won two SEC Tournament titles, seven individual national championships (gymnastics, swimming, track & field) and 12 individual SEC titles (swimming, track & field).

Photo Credit: @GZTrackField

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6/30: Gators at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials

Seventeen current and former Florida Gators track & field athletes are currently in Eugene, OR participating in the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for the opportunity to represent their country in the 2012 London Olympics. Simultaneously, 35 current and former Gators swimmers are in Omaha, NE working toward the exact same goal.

Below is an update on how each has performed through the ninth (track & field) and sixth (swimming) days of the events as well as a schedule for the remainder of the trials.

EVENT RESULTS – JUNE 30

Track & Field
MEN’S TRIPLE JUMP
Christian Taylor1st – 17.63m/57-10.25Qualified for Olympics
Will Claye2nd – 17.55m/57-7Qualified for Olympics
Junior Omar Craddock4th – 16.55m/54-3.75Did not qualify
» Taylor and Claye were the only two Americans to hit the Olympic ‘A’ Qualifying mark for the triple jump.

MEN’S 200 METER DASH (Semifinals)
Freshman Dedric Dukes9th – 20.70Eliminated

MEN’S 110 METER HURDLES (Semifinals)
Sophomore Eddie Lovett17th – 13.60Eliminated

Swimming
MEN’S 200 METER BACKSTROKE
Ryan Lochte1st – 1:54.54Qualified for Olympics
Rex Tullius6th – 1:59.16Did not qualify

MEN’S 200 METER INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY
Ryan Lochte2nd – 1:54.93Qualified for Olympics
Conor Dwyer3rd – 1:58.92Did not qualify

MEN’S 50 METER FREESTYLE (Semifinals)
» Did not advance to semifinals: sophomore Bradley deBorde (Heat 10 – 22.76), Matthew Norton (Heat 3 – 23.30)

WOMEN’S 200 METER BACKSTROKE (Semifinals)
Sophomore Elizabeth Beisel2nd – 2:08.41Advanced to finals
Senior Teresa Crippen7th – 2:12.21Advanced to finals
» Next competing: Sunday, July 1 from 8-9 p.m. live on NBC
» Did not advance to semifinals: sophomore Trish Regan (Heat 18 – 2:19.73)

MEN’S 100 METER BUTTERFLY (Semifinals)
Ryan Lochte6th – 52.47Advanced to finals
» Next competing: Sunday, July 1 from 8-9 p.m. live on NBC
» Did not advance to semifinals: junior Cameron Martin (Heat 7 – 54.50)

WOMEN’S 800 METER FREESTYLE (Preliminaries)
» Did not advance to finals: junior Jamie Bohunicky (Heat 3 – 8:48.42), sophomore Alicia Mathieu (Heat 7 – 8:50.14)

QUALIFIED ATHLETES

Track & Field
Junior Tony McQuay – Men’s 400 Meter Dash
Will Claye – Men’s Long Jump, Men’s Triple Jump
Christian Taylor – Men’s Triple Jump

Swimming
Ryan Lochte – Men’s 400 Meter Individual Medley, Men’s 200 Meter Freestyle, Men’s 200 Meter Backstroke, Men’s 200 Meter Individual Medley
Conor Dwyer – Men’s 400 Meter Freestyle, Men’s 800 Meter Freestyle Relay
Sophomore Elizabeth Beisel – Women’s 400 Meter Individual Medley

Read about the Upcoming Events and Eliminated Athletes…after the break!
Continue Reading » 6/30: Gators at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials

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6/29: Gators at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials

Seventeen current and former Florida Gators track & field athletes are currently in Eugene, OR participating in the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for the opportunity to represent their country in the 2012 London Olympics. Simultaneously, 35 current and former Gators swimmers are in Omaha, NE working toward the exact same goal.

Below is an update on how each has performed through the eighth (track & field) and fifth (swimming) days of the events as well as a schedule for the remainder of the trials.

EVENT RESULTS – JUNE 29

Track & Field
WOMEN’S 3,000 METER STEEPLECHASE
Mason Cathey11th – 9:54.07Did not qualify

MEN’S 400 METER HURDLES (Semifinals)
Kerron Clement3rd – 49.04Advanced to finals
» Next competing: Sunday, July 1 at 7:12 p.m. live on NBC

MEN’S 200 METER DASH
Freshman Dedric Dukes10th – 20.54Advanced to semifinals
» Next competing: Saturday, June 30 at 9:00 p.m. live on NBC

MEN’S 110 METER HURDLES
Sophomore Eddie Lovett11th – 13.49Advanced to semifinals
» Lovett’s 13.49 is a personal record.
» Next competing: Saturday, June 30 at 7:20 p.m.

Swimming
WOMEN’S 200 METER BUTTERFLY
Senior Teresa Crippen4th – 2:09.45Did not qualify

MEN’S 200 METER BREASTSTROKE
Freshman Matt Elliott8th – 2:12.71Did not qualify

MEN’S 200 METER BACKSTROKE (Semifinals)
Ryan Lochte1st – 1:55.73Advanced to finals
Rex Tullius5th – 1:58.79Advanced to finals
» Next competing: Saturday, June 30 from 8-9 p.m. live on NBC
» Did not qualify for semifinals: sophomore Connor Signorin (Heat 3 – 2:05.32), freshmanAustin Ringquist (Heat 1 – 2:07.03)

MEN’S 200 METER INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY (Semifinals)
Ryan Lochte1st – 1:55.51Advanced to finals
Conor Dwyer3rd – 1:58.32Advanced to finals
» Next competing: Saturday, June 30 from 8-9 p.m. live on NBC
» Did not qualify for semifinals: freshman Matthew Curby (Heat 10 – 2:04.10), Mike Joyce (Heat 9 – 2:04.36), Alex Martin (Heat 4 – 2:05.08), freshman Carlos Omana (Heat 9 – 2:05.49), sophomore Connor Signorin (Heat 13 – 2:06.40), freshman Austin Ringquist (Heat 2 – 2:11.09)

WOMEN’S 100 METER FREESTYLE (Semifinals)
» Did not qualify for semifinals: junior Jamie Bohunicky (Heat 10 – 56.48), sophomore Kaitlin Frehling (Heat 2 – 57.21)

WOMEN’S 200 METER BREASTSTROKE (Semifinals)
» Did not qualify for semifinals: freshman Rebecca Rainer (Heat 9 – 2:34.12), sophomore Julia Treible (Heat 4 – 2:41.01)

QUALIFIED ATHLETES

Track & Field
Junior Tony McQuay – Men’s 400 Meter Dash
Will Claye – Men’s Long Jump

Swimming
Ryan Lochte – Men’s 400 Meter Individual Medley, Men’s 200 Meter Freestyle
Conor Dwyer – Men’s 400 Meter Freestyle, Men’s 800 Meter Freestyle Relay
Sophomore Elizabeth Beisel – Women’s 400 Meter Individual Medley

Read about the Upcoming Events and Eliminated Athletes…after the break!

Continue Reading » 6/29: Gators at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials

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SIX BITS: Beal, Olympics, Cup awards, Crawford

1 » Could Florida Gators freshman guard Bradley Beal be the decided target of the Washington Wizards with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft on June 28? That appears to be the case after Washington completed a trade on Wednesday that sent a small forward Rashard Lewis and a second-round pick to New Orleans for SF Trevor Ariza and power forward/center Emeka Okafor. By adding two talented, starting-caliber frontcourt players, the chances that the Wizards would select a forward like Kentucky’s Michael Kidd-Gilchrist or Kansas’ Thomas Robinson (if he was even available) have been reduced significantly, meaning Beal could very well be the top player on their board with the draft just over a week away.

2 » Speaking of Beal, ESPN analyst Fran Fraschilla wrote Wednesday about what weakness Beal needs to improve on ($) in order to have a productive NBA career.

Beal’s screen-and-roll ability in Billy Donovan‘s screen-and-roll-oriented offense was average at best. Often when challenged by the screener’s defender (usually a big man), Beal was not able to take him on and beat him off the dribble. Ultimately, Beal shot just 35 percent in the screen-and-roll, and his overall points produced for himself or his teammates was a paltry 0.7 points per possession.

Part of the reason Beal struggled in the screen-and-roll is that he is a straight-line driver. I don’t doubt that he has been working hard on his ballhandling creativity. If he is going to be more than a one-dimensional jump-shooter, he’ll be handling the ball a lot, especially because the NBA’s 24-second shot clock demands it.

3 » The 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for track & field begin Friday in Eugene, OR with 17 total current and former Gators hoping to earn the opportunity to compete in the2012 London Olympics. Among those participating in the trials over the next 11 days are 10 current Florida student-athletes including: senior/junior Dwight Barbiasz (high jump), junior Omar Craddock (triple jump), junior/senior Jeff Demps (100-meter dash), freshman Marquis Dendy (long jump), freshman Dedric Dukes (200-meter dash), sophomore Ebony Eutsey (400-meter dash), sophomore Eddie Lovett (110-meter hurdles), sophomore Cory McGee (1,500-meter run), junior Tony McQuay (400-meter dash) and junior Jeremy Postin (hammer throw). Former Gators set to compete include: Hazel Clark (800-meter dash), Will Claye (long jump, triple jump), Kerron Clement (400-meter hurdles), Gray Horn (decathlon), Calvin Smith (400-meter dash), Wes Stockbarger (discus throw) and Christian Taylor (triple jump).

4 » The University of Florida athletic program finished No. 2 in the nation in the 2011-12 Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup. Twelve Florida programs finished among the top 10 of their respective sport nationally including women’s tennis (No. 1), men’s indoor track & field (No. 1), men’s outdoor track & field (No. 1), gymnastics (No. 2), lacrosse (No. 3), men’s basketball (No. 5), volleyball (No. 5), baseball (No. 7), men’s swimming & diving (No. 8), women’s indoor track & field (No. 9), men’s tennis (No. 9) and women’s swimming and diving (No. 10). It is the fourth-straight year that the Gators have finished in the top four of the Cup’s final rankings and second time in the last three years (2009-10). Florida has never won the Cup but has finished in the top 10 in each of the 29 years it has been awarded. Stanford won for the 18th time, outscoring UF 1448.25-1314.00 in the final standings. Only 20 sports count for each school toward their final total, but the Cardinal have 35 to choose from while the Gators currently support 21 total sports.

5 » With just a handful of game remaining in the 2012 College World Series, which Florida was eliminated from on Monday, the end of the athletic season is nearly here which means the final standings for the 2012 Capital One Cup will be official shortly. As of press time, the Gators lead the men’s standings with 89 points (baseball has not been counted yet). The only way that Florida can lose their top spot is if Arkansas (currently ranked 17th with 39 points) wins the entire CWS (adding 60 points to their total) and UF is ranked eighth or worse when the final poll. In that scenario, the Gators would finish second by one point (99-98).

6 » The USA Baseball Collegiate National Team announced Monday that Florida sophomore right-handed pitcher Jonathon Crawford has been selected to play for the squad this summer. Crawford is one of six Southeastern Conference players to earn placement on the team, which consists of freshmen and sophomores from some of the nation’s top programs. He finished the 2012 season with a final record of 6-2 along with a 3.13 ERA and the team’s first solo no-hitter for in 21 years.

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LaCaze leads Florida to 12 titles at SEC Outdoors

Florida Gators track & field was unsuccessful in its bid to win a team title over the weekend but 12 members of the team combined to win 12 individual titles at the 2012 Southeastern Conference Outdoor Championships in Baton Rouge, LA.

Senior distance runner Genevieve LaCaze led the way for Florida with three individual titles in the 3,000-meter steeplechase (10:13.99), 1,500-meter run (4:13.44) and 5,000-meter run (16:26.38). She is the first student-athlete in SEC history to win both the steeplechase and 1,500-meters after picking up the second title early on Sunday and similarly became the first student-athlete in conference history to win all three championships after finishing the 5,000-meters later Sunday afternoon.

LaCaze is also the first UF female to win the Commissioner’s Trophy (awarded to the highest point scorer) since 2002 and tied the school women’s record for most points scored at an individual meet (30).

Junior jumper Omar Craddock continued the Gators’ domination of the triple jump, capturing the outdoor championship with a mark of 54-08.75. Florida has won the SEC Outdoor title in the triple jump three years in a row and both the SEC Indoor title and NCAA Indoor championship four-straight years. Craddock has completed a trifecta by winning three already in 2012 and will look for the sweep later this season.

Also finding success in the triple jump on Sunday was freshman jumper Ciarra Brewer, who won the women’s title with a mark of 44-6.75 – the best in the nation this season. UF has won four of the last five women’s triple jumps a the SEC Outdoors.

Florida’s men captured five more titles with junior sprinter Tony McQuay winning the 400-meter dash (45.48), sophomore thrower Stipe Zunic winning the javelin (77.87m/255-06), junior thrower Jeremy Postin winning the hammer (68.18m/223-8), junior jumper Dwight Barbiasz winning the high jump (2.25m/7-4.50) and the foursome of freshman Dedric Dukes, freshman Hugh Graham, junior Leonardo Seymore and McQuay winning the 4×400-meter relay (3:03.44).

The Gators’ women contributed two more championships as freshman jumper Taylor Burke won the high jump (1.83m/6-0) and sophomore multi-event participant Brittany Harrell brought home the heptathlon (5,838 points) title.

Neither the men nor women won a team title with the men finishing in fourth overall and the women finishing second after getting edged 161.5-138.0 by LSU. Florida’s men’s team captured the 2012 NCAA Indoor Championship, while the women’s team won the 2012 SEC Indoor Championship.

The Gators were without seniors sprinter Jeff Demps and heptathlete Gray Horn in the meet. Demps (hamstring) was injured and had to rest up for the NCAA Outdoor Championships, while Horn was suspended for the meet after being arrested and charged with driving under the influence in April. Their absences made it nearly impossible for the Florida men to have a legitimate shot at the team title.

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