UF Men Win NCAA D1 National Championship

Gators first national championship in track & field. Photo courtsey of PrettySporty.com/UF Communications.

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DES MOINES, Iowa – The Florida men’s track & field team captured the 2012 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championship on Saturday at Drake University. The men scored 50 points to edge LSU (48 points) and Texas A&M (40 points) for the men’s team title. This is the first NCAA Outdoor Championship in Florida athletics history and the third NCAA Championship for the Florida Gators this year (men’s indoor track & field & women’s tennis).

The Gators are the first team since the Arkansas Razorbacks (2003) to win both the indoor and outdoor NCAA titles. The Razorbacks won both in 2005 as well but the outdoor title was vacated. Only six programs have swept the indoor and outdoor NCAA titles on the men’s side (Arkansas, Florida, Kansas, SMU, Southern California, UTEP).

“This is unbelievable,” Florida head coach Mike Holloway said. “It's an absolute blessing. I can't tell you how proud I am of this group of young men. We had a lot of adversity, not just this week, but throughout the year. You think about things, the people that weren't here, the people that didn't want to give you a chance but our guys never bought into it. I'm extremely proud of them.”

In 2009, 2010 and 2011, the Gators had top-three finishes and missed out on the NCAA title by a total of five points. This year, it took a total team effort to take home the crown.

The men’s 4x400-meter relay, composed of Dedric Dukes (Miami, Fla.) and Hugh Graham, Jr. (Miami, Fla.), Leonardo Seymore (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) and Tony McQuay (Riviera Beach, Fla.), clinched the NCAA Championship for the Florida men, earning the first individual 4x400-meter relay title in Florida history and securing the first NCAA Outdoor Championship for the Gators on the men’s or women’s side.

“We knew what the team standings were and we came together like a family, as a team,” McQuay said. “I trusted my first, second and third legs to get us here. We have a young team and to have them step up really means a lot to the program.”

They finished in a school-record time of 3:00.02, sealing the victory for the Orange and Blue. McQuay calmly sat in second with 200 meters to go on the anchor leg and seized control of the race as the Gators ran a world-leading time in victory.

Sophomore Eddie Lovett (West Palm Beach, Fla.) gave the Gators bonus points in the men’s 110-meter hurdles, finishing fifth in 13.82 and scoring four much-needed points for the Orange and Blue in his first NCAA Outdoor Championships final.

"That was huge for Eddie to come in, entered possibly one of the best high-hurdle fields in history and to be able to man up and get fifth place in that race,” Holloway noted. “That was huge for us. That got us within striking distance and gave us a chance to win this championship."

Lovett got out strong and stayed neck-and-neck with LSU’s Barrett Nugent, the defending NCAA champion. Nugent crossed the finish line in fourth and Lovett stayed right by his side, finishing just .02 behind the SEC Outdoor Champion.

"We lost our best sprinter, we lost our best decathlete and our 4x100 didn't qualify,” Holloway commented. “A lot of people would have given up hope, but our group of guys didn't. I sat them down after Regionals and I said 'We are still the best team in the country, as long as you believe it,’ and our guys believed it.

"I actually figured out on the plane that we had no seniors (competing on the men’s side),” Holloway continued. “Obviously, if we stay healthy, there is a bright future for the University of Florida, on both the men’s and the women’s sides."

The Florida women finished in a tie for 12th, scoring 18 points throughout the week, including 10 points on the final day of competition. LSU’s women captured the 2012 NCAA Outdoor Championship with 76 points, dethroning three-time defending champion and future SEC foe Texas A&M (38 points), as well as three-time defending NCAA Indoor Champion Oregon (62 points).

Freshman Ciarra Brewer (Union City, Calif.) capped off a stellar freshman season, leaping to a personal best 13.65m/44-9.50 in the women’s triple jump, finishing fourth and earning five points for the Gators. Brewer improved her spot as second all-time at UF in the women’s triple jump and has laid a solid foundation for her next three years in the Orange and Blue. Brewer finishes her freshman year as a First Team All-American.

Sophomore Cory McGee (Pass Christian, Miss.) finished a spectacular sophomore campaign for the Gators with a sixth-place finish for the Florida women in the 1,500 meters. Her finish earned her three points and improved her 10th place finish from a year ago, earning her First Team All-American.

The women’s 4x400-meter relay, comprised of Ebony Eutsey (Miami, Fla.), Amani Bryant (Tampa, Fla.), Lanie Whittaker (Miami, Fla.) and Ugonna Ndu (Newark, N.J.), ended the 2012 season by scoring two points in the race, finishing in 3:32.36.

For many of the Gators, the focus now turns to the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials. The event will take place June 21-July 1 at historic Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. Holloway is the sprints and hurdles coach for Team USA and hopes to take a strong Gator contingent to the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

For all of the latest information on Florida track and field, please log on to www.GatorZone.com/trackfield or, for up-to-the-minute updates, follow Florida track and field on Twitter at @GZTrackField or www.twitter.com/GZTrackField. You can also find the Gators on Facebook.

 

SPORT

NATIONAL TITLES

Football

3

Men's Basketball

2

Men's Golf

4

Women's Golf

2

Gymnastics

1

Soccer

1

Men's Swimming

2

Women's Swimming

3

Men’s Indoor Track

3

Men’s Outdoor Track

1

Women's Indoor Track

1

Women's Tennis

6

Total

29

 

SPORT

YEAR

NATIONAL TITLES

Men's Golf

1968

NCAA Championships

Men's Golf

1973

NCAA Championships

Women's Swimming

1979

AIAW Nationals

Gymnastics

1982

AIAW Nationals

Women's Swimming

1982

NCAA Championships

Men's Swimming

1983

NCAA Championships

Men's Swimming

1984

NCAA Championships

Women's Golf

1985

NCAA Championships

Women's Golf

1986

NCAA Championships

Women's Indoor Track

1992

NCAA Championships

Women's Tennis

1992

NCAA Championships

Men's Golf

1993

NCAA Championships

Women's Tennis

1996

NCAA Championships

Football

1996

Associated Press/Coaches'

Women’s Tennis

1998

NCAA Championships

Soccer

1998

NCAA Championships

Men’s Golf

2001

NCAA Championships

Women's Tennis

2003

NCAA Championships

Men's Basketball

2006

NCAA Championships

Football

2006

BCS/Associated Press

Men's Basketball

2007

NCAA Championships

Football

2008

BCS/Associated Press

Men’s Indoor Track & Field

2010

NCAA Championships

Women's Swimming

2010

NCAA Championships

Men’s Indoor Track & Field

2011

NCAA Championships

Women's Tennis

2011

NCAA Championships

Men’s Indoor Track & Field

2012

NCAA Championships

Women's Tennis

2012

NCAA Championships

Men’s Outdoor Track & Field

2012

NCAA Championships

 

·         Florida men have won five relays titles at the NCAA Outdoors, with today’s 4x400 relay being the program’s first (4x100 – 2000, 2004, 2009, 2010; 4x400 – 2012).

·         The National title was the 29th in school history (27 NCAA, 2 AIAW)

·         Florida has won a league-high 11 national championships since 2006 (Auburn 9, Georgia, 7, Alabama 6)

·         Florida set a school record with its third national title of the year (had won two national titles on five previous occasions including each of the last two years)

·         This was the 20th national title under the direction of Athletics Director Jeremy Foley

·         13 of the national titles have come under the current Gator coaching staff.

 

NCAA INDOOR AND OUTDOOR CHAMPIONS

Year

Champion

Coach

2012

Florida

Mike Holloway

2005

Arkansas

John McDonnell

2003

Arkansas

John McDonnell

1999

Arkansas

John McDonnell

1998

Arkansas

John McDonnell

1997

Arkansas

John McDonnell

1995

Arkansas

John McDonnell

1994

Arkansas

John McDonnell

1993

Arkansas

John McDonnell

1992

Arkansas

John McDonnell

1983

SMU

Ted McLaughlin

1982

UTEP

John Wedel

1981

UTEP

Ted Banks

1980

UTEP

Ted Banks

1978

UTEP

Ted Banks

1975

UTEP

Ted Banks

1970

Kansas

Bob Timmons

1967

Southern California

Vern Wolfe

 

NCAA OUTDOOR TRACK & FIELD CHAMPIONSHIPS (JUNE 6-9, 2012 – DES MOINES, IA)

 

SATURDAY, JUNE 9, 2012

 

FIELD EVENTS

 

Women’s Triple Jump – FINAL

4.             Ciarra Brewer, 13.65m/44-9.50 (PR)

 

RUNNING EVENTS

 

Women’s 1,500 Meters – FINAL

6.             Cory McGee, 4:14.95

 

Men’s 110-Meter Hurdles – FINAL

5.             Eddie Lovett, 13.82 (-3.5)

 

Women’s 4x400-Meter Relay – FINAL

7.             Florida (Ebony Eutsey, Amani Bryant, Lanie Whittaker, Ugonna Ndu), 3:32.36

 

Men’s 4x400-Meter Relay – FINAL

1.             Florida (Dedric Dukes, Hugh Graham, Jr., Leonardo Seymore, Tony McQuay), 3:00.02 (SR) (WL)

 

Men’s Team Rankings - FINAL

1) Florida 50

2) LSU 48

3) Texas A&M 40

4) Florida State 38

5) Virginia Tech 33

6) Auburn 30

7) Arizona 27

8) Arkansas 26

9) Texas 22

9) Oregon 22

 

Women’s Team Rankings - FINAL

1) LSU 76

2) Oregon 62

3) Texas A&M 38

4) Kansas 28

4) Clemson 28

6) Stanford 25

7) Oklahoma 24

8) Washington 23

9) San Diego St. 21

9) Tennessee 21

11) Texas 20

12) Southern Miss. 18

12) Florida 18

 

 

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