Gator Women 2nd, Men 20th @ NCAA Indoor Championships

Fayetteville, Ark. -- Erin Gilreath led five Gators in the finals of the women's weight throw, winning the NCAA title with a mark of 22.04m/72-3.75, as the University of Florida women's track and field team finished tied for second place with 44 points at the 2003 NCAA Indoor Championships Saturday. The men's team finished in a tie for 20th with a total of 10 points.

LSU won the women's NCAA Championship with 62 points, while host-school Arkansas won its 17th NCAA Indoor Championship with a total of 52 points.

"I thought it was a very good team performance. We knew we could score in the 40s, but it was an extremely competitive meet," said UF Head Women's Coach Tom Jones. "It's probably the most competitive meet I've seen in my years of coaching at the Division I level. I'm very, very proud of our throwers - they carried the ball for us today and put us in a position. Faith Rein, Kristina Bratton and the 4x400 team did a great job today and helped us come away with a second place trophy. " The weight throwers finished 1-2-4-5-6, almost completing a top five sweep, which has never been done in the event at the NCAA Championships. Gilreath's championship mark is the second-best at the NCAA meet, the third-best in collegiate history and moves her into second place in school history behind teammate and 2002 NCAA Indoor weight throw champion Candice Scott.

Dickerson, who finished third at the NCAA Championships last year, finished second in the weight throw with a mark of 20.69m/67-10.75. LaQuanda Cotten placed fourth (20.40m/66-11.25), Kim Barrett was fifth (20.38m/66-10.50) and Merilyn Brown, who solidified a spot in the NCAA meet just last week, finished sixth with a huge personal best of 20.16m/66-1.75.

"I was really happy with my performance today, and I was excited about throwing against all the great competition," said Gilreath. "I really wanted to end the season on a good note."

Kristina Bratton, who won her heat in the preliminaries Friday night, added to the Gators' total, finishing seventh in the 800m run in a time of 2:09.19. Faith Rein, who set a school record Friday in the preliminaries of the 400m dash with a time of 52.41, finished sixth in the finals, running 52.57. The women's 4x400-meter relay team of Novlene Williams, Niki Benjamin, Bratton and Rein finished sixth in the finals in a time of 3:34.05, which is third best in school history.

Ahmad Jasmine placed sixth for the Gators in the 60m dash in a time of 6.66 after advancing to the finals with a preliminary time of 6.62 on Friday. Joe Squittieri scored for the men, finishing tied for seventh at 2.13m/6-11.75. Matt Vincent also cleared 2.13m/6-11.75, but did not score due to the result of his previous jumps.

The Gators finished eighth in the men's 4x400-meter relay, as the team of Jasmine, Kyle Farmer, Sekou Clarke and Dwight Ruff ran the event in 3:09.19.

"We've got to learn to be competitive at all times, not just when it's convenient," said Gator Head Men's Coach Mike Holloway. "Until we learn that, we're always going to have these problems. We just didn't show up this weekend. I'm going to take responsibility for it this time. I've got to do a better job of coaching. We have to have more pride." The official attendance for the NCAA Indoor Championships was 5,583 - the second largest attendance at the Randal Tyson Track Center.

The Gators open the outdoor season next weekend at the Florida State Relays before hosting the 60th annual Coca-Cola Florida Relays March 26-29.

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