Florida Track & Field’s Dendy Leaps to World-Leading Mark to Join Triassi as Saturday’s SEC Champions
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Sophomore Marquis Dendy (Middletown, Del.) and senior David Triassi (Jacksonville, Fla.) took home Southeastern Conference titles on the second day of the SEC Indoor Track & Field Championships at the University of Arkansas on Saturday.
“I love where we’re at,” Florida head coach Mike Holloway said. “I think what you saw out of us today is who we are and what we’re about. We had great runs across the board, we were tremendous in the field events today and I’m very proud of everyone for stepping up where it counts.”
Dendy claimed his second-straight SEC title in the men’s long jump with a new personal best and school record of 8.25m/27-0.75. In the process, Dendy set a new SEC Championship meet record and leapt the best jump in the world this year.
“When we recruited Marquis out of high school, we knew he was a big-time athlete,” Holloway commented. “He had some injury problems last year and was just a freshman, but he struggled a bit with fouls at the Nebraska meet this year and he and Coach (Nic) Petersen went to work and got those things adjusted. That’s what you saw today. I’m really proud of him. SEC Champion and the SEC Championship record-holder and world leader, I just couldn’t be prouder of him and the work he and Coach Petersen have put in.”
“All season I have been fouling huge jumps, so my coaches and I have been working on my approach to a tee,” Dendy said. “Every day in practice it was just approaches, approaches, approaches, then today I came out and executed like I do in practice. I just wanted to go out there, put my foot on the board and compete hard for my team.”
Triassi started the day off strong for the Gator men at Walker Pavilion, claiming the SEC men’s weight throw title with a personal-best mark of 21.59m/70-10, just one centimeter off the school record of teammate Jeremy Postin (Andover, Kan.), who turned in a runner-up finish Saturday with his throw of 21.48m/70-5.75.
“Very, very pleased with the weight throwers today. David has been looking very good in practice and Coach (Steve) Lemke mentioned in practice the other day that he thought David was capable of winning it,” Holloway said. “When your teammate is the school record holder and the NCAA runner-up in the hammer throw outdoors, that’s a big statement. But true to Coach Lemke’s prediction, David was on fire today. To Jeremy’s credit, he didn’t let him get it easily either. For both of them to throw over 70 feet was a great start for us today.”
“I came into today really relaxed,” Triassi said. “I wanted my last one (SEC Indoors) to be my best one. I knew that if I didn’t throw a PR on my first throw, there was no way that I could beat Jeremy and that’s what I did.
“The great thing about this group of guys is that all four of us (Triassi, Postin, David Levin [Altamonte Springs, Fla.] and Kyle Strawn [Temecula, Calif.]) are a brotherhood and we’re there for each other in our successes,” Triassi finished. “We’re so pumped to get 18 points for Florida to start the meet.”
Junior Eddie Lovett (West Palm Beach, Fla.) had a record-setting day for the Orange and Blue, setting a new school record in the men’s 60-meter hurdles. The two-time SEC Champion in the event torched the track with his time of 7.57, a new lifetime best and the collegiate leader in the 60-meter hurdles. Lovett’s time goes down as the third-fastest in the nation this year and tied for the sixth-fastest in the world. Only 12 athletes have run faster than Lovett in collegiate history.
“Eddie Lovett was phenomenal today. He and Coach (Erin) Tucker really got into a groove and they really get each other. Eddie understands what Coach Tucker is asking him to do and to watch that race, and we’ve seen some great hurdle races at the University of Florida, but that was a tremendous race and the first thing Eddie said was, ‘I’ve got to keep my mind straight and do it again tomorrow.’ I think that’s a great mindset for all of our athletes heading into tomorrow.”
On the women’s side, juniors Cory McGee (Pass Christian, Miss.) and Agata Strausa (Riga, Latvia) scored in the women’s 3,000 meters, finishing 2-3 in the event with new personal bests of 9:15.67 and 9:16.25. McGee’s PR was cemented by nearly 10 seconds and she and Strausa are now second and third all-time at UF.
“That’s what Cory and Agata do. If you talked to them before the race, they obviously would have liked to go 1-2 but they both ended up with huge PRs and are now second and third in school history,” Holloway noted. “Coach (Paul) Spangler has done a phenomenal job with them and I’m very pleased with their effort in the mile as well, along with Steph Strasser.”
Junior Lorraine Graham (Springdale, Md.) and sophomore Ciarra Brewer (Union City, Calif.) both scored in the women’s long jump, finishing third and seventh with jumps of 6.18m/20-3.50 and 6.03m/19-9.50, respectively.
Graham’s jump was a new personal best for her and goes down as tied for eighth all-time in Florida program history. In the span of 24 hours, Graham has cemented herself as second all-time in UF history in the women’s pentathlon (4,010 points), third all-time in the 60-meter hurdles (8.44), to add to her finish in the women’s long jump Saturday.
Earlier in the day, McGee and Strausa joined senior Stephanie Strasser (Fernandina Beach, Fla.) to qualify for Sunday’s finals of the women’s mile. Strausa led the Gator pack with her second-place qualifier of 4:44.47 and McGee was sixth overall in 4:47.38. Strasser finished with a new personal best of 4:48.69 to take the 10th and final qualifying spot for Sunday’s final.
The men’s distance corps had a banner day also, as Mark Parrish (Tampa, Fla.) and Josh Izewski (Doylestown, Pa.) scored for the Gator men on Saturday in the men’s 3,000 meters. Parrish ran a new lifetime best of 8:03.54 to finish fifth on the evening, good for fourth all-time at Florida. Izewski turned in a lifetime best of 8:11.27 to finish eighth and etch his name at tenth all-time in program history. Freshman JL Hines (Orlando, Fla.) landed just outside the top-10 all-time at UF with his personal best of 8:11.95 and freshman Jimmy Clark (St. Johns, Fla.) finished 11th in a personal-best time of 8:16.10.
Sophomore Hugh Graham, Jr. (Miami, Fla.) qualified for two of Sunday’s finals, unleashing times of 6.64 in the 60 meters and 45.86 in the 400 meters, both new personal bests.
“I mean, Hugh Graham, Jr. runs 6.64 and 45.86 in the same day…I’m just speechless,” Holloway said. “I just don’t think anyone has ever done that. In this conference, that says something.”
Joining Graham in double-qualifying for Sunday’s finals was junior Ebony Eutsey (Miami, Fla.), who qualified with new PRs in the 200 (23.58) and 400 (52.48), good for 10th and fourth all-time at UF, respectively. Along with Eutsey, Graham and Lovett, Sunday’s qualifiers included Dedric Dukes (Miami, Fla.) in the men’s 200 meters (20.79 – PR), Ugonna Ndu (Newark, N.J.) in the women’s 60-meter hurdles (8.38 – SB), Sean Obinwa (Tampa, Fla.) in the men’s 800 meters (1:50.85), Shayla Sanders (Pompano Beach, Fla.) in the women’s 60 meters (7.37 – PR) and Antwan Wright (Riviera Beach, Fla.) in the men’s 60 meters (6.69 – PR).
“I’m really excited about our qualifiers for tomorrow. Overall, I’m really proud of both teams and we’re ready to get back to the hotel, get rested and get everyone fed, and come out here tomorrow and get after it.”
The Championship Central for this weekend’s meet can be found on ArkansasRazorbacks.com, including the meet schedule, performance lists, Fan Guide and much more. Live results will be provided by Flash Results and full recap will be available on GatorZone each day. Fans can interact with the Gators on Twitter throughout the meet at @GZTrackField.
The meet will be broadcast live on RazorVision from 12-12:30 p.m. CT on Sunday. Beginning at 12:30 p.m. CT on Sunday, the meet will air live on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app. Dwight Stones and Larry Rawson will be on the call with Lewis Johnson on the sideline.
A highlight package of the SEC Indoor Championships will air on Wednesday, March 13 on ESPNU beginning at 9:30 p.m. ET.