Former AAU Track and Field members: Cory McGee, Ciarra Brewer, Omar Craddock, Marquis Dendy, Dwight Barbiasz, Dedric Dukes, Hugh Graham Jr., Eddie Lovett, Hunter Joyer, Darshay Davis, Ebony Eutsey, and Amani Bryant had outstanding performances at the SEC Outdoor Track and Field Championships over the weekend for the University of Florida Gators. Read further to see how they did.
Originally published at: http://www.gatorzone.com
Written by: Gator Zone Sports
The Gators swept the triple jump and high jump titles on the weekend. Freshman and former AAU Track and Field member Ciarra Brewer (Union City, Calif.) took over as the nation’s leading triple jumper with her winning mark of 13.58m/44-6.75, a personal best for the freshman and Brewer now moves to second all-time in the Gator record books. The Gators have now claimed four of the last five SEC outdoor titles in the women’s triple jump, as Shara Proctor won three in a row from 2008-10.
AAU Track and Field alum Omar Craddock (Killeen, Texas) won his first SEC triple jump title outdoors, using a winning mark of 16.68m/54-8.75 and becoming the third different Florida athlete over the last three years to win the SEC outdoor men’s triple jump title. Christian Taylor won the event in 2010 and Will Claye was victorious in 2011. Craddock is the reigning SEC and NCAA champion indoors in the men’s triple jump and looks to continue the streak in Des Moines.
“I’m really proud of the triple jump tradition at Florida,” Craddock said. “I try to do my part to keep the legacy Christian and Will built alive and I’m so glad I’ve been able to have the success I’ve had this year. The work Coach O’Neal has been putting in with all of us has helped me improve and continue to work hard.”
Freshman Marquis Dendy (Middleton, Del.) had a career day, jumping a personal best of 15.48m/50-9.50 to finish sixth overall and earn three points for the Gators. Dendy’s leap just narrowly missed the all-time record books at Florida, coming in at No. 11.
“Brian O’Neal is doing a phenomenal job with our jumpers,” Holloway said. “Ciarra is a freshman and she’s now second all-time at Florida and the No. 1 triple jumper in the country right now. Omar is getting better and better as we go along. Marquis Dendy had a great meet this weekend and did really well. Coach O’Neal thinks he’s close to getting a big PR. I just couldn’t be prouder of our trio of triple jumpers.”
The Gators completed the sweep in the high jump as well, as junior Dwight Barbiasz (Milford, N.H.) ended Ole Miss’ Ricky Robertson’s streak of SEC men’s high jump championships at five. The transfer from the University of Maryland cleared a new personal best and won his first SEC title with a mark of 2.25m/7-4.50. Barbiasz is now tied for second all-time at Florida with former Gator All-American Matt Vincent (2001).
“Winning today means a lot because this is what I promised Coach Holloway when I came to Florida,” Barbiasz said. “I was leaving the University of Maryland (whose program is being disbanded) and coming here and I think we had to trust each other. I trusted Coach Holloway and Coach Welty enough to leave what I knew behind because I wanted to compete for championships and they trusted me enough to deliver and today just proves that all of the hard work all of us have put in has paid off.”
“We have one of the best high jumping coaches in the country in Coach Mellanee Welty,” Holloway noted. “Her athletes won both high jump titles this weekend. Dwight had a PR in his win today and Taylor had a PR in her victory yesterday. It’s just a testimony to their hard work and the things they’ve been doing. Taylor’s been focusing on only high jump for the last month and Dwight is healthy for the first time all season. For him to have a PR in such a great field was really great for Dwight.”
Junior Tony McQuay had a victorious afternoon on the track, taking home the men’s 400 meters title and the first such title for the Gators since Calvin Smith in 2009. McQuay then anchored the men’s 4×400-meter relay to their first SEC outdoor championship since 2010, finishing in 3:03.44. The Gators are one of only two 4×400-meter relay teams in the SEC with two freshmen on the track and Florida is the only team with two freshmen running the opening legs, as rookies Dedric Dukes (Miami, Fla.) and Hugh Graham, Jr. (Miami, Fla.) set the race up for juniors Leonardo Seymore (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) and McQuay.
“It felt so great to be able to contribute and win as a freshman,” Dukes said. “I try to go out there, do what I can, start things off well and get us in good position and I just felt great out there. To have two freshmen on the opening legs, it shows the coaches really trust that we can come out and contribute to the team.”
Dukes and Seymore also scored in the men’s 200 meters, as Dukes ran an all-conditions best of 20.61 to finish fifth overall and Seymore finished eighth in 21.02 (21.020) to score a point for the Orange and Blue.
Sophomore Eddie Lovett (West Palm Beach, Fla.) came up just short in the men’s 110-meter hurdles, claiming the runner-up spot with his time of 13.65. LSU’s Barrett Nugent earned his second-consecutive SEC title in the event, just barely edging Lovett out in 13.40.
Fellow thrower Hunter Joyer (Wesley Chapel, Fla.) competed in his first SEC Championships on Sunday, earning a point in the men’s shot put with his eighth-place mark of 15.69m/51-5.75, a personal best.
Florida’s women also saw significant contributions from sophomore Darshay Davis (Mirimar, Fla.) and junior Ugonna Ndu (Newark, N.J.), who both scored in multiple events on Sunday.
Davis competed in both the 100 and 200 meters on Sunday, taking third in both events. In the 100 meters, Davis ran a new personal best of 11.30, claiming sole possession of fifth all-time in UF history. Just an hour later, Davis ran a wind-aided 23.05 to take home another six points for the Gators with her third-place finish.
Ndu had a busy afternoon for the Florida women, as she first competed in the 100-meter hurdles, finishing third in 13.37, a new personal best. Ndu then competed in the 400-meter hurdles, finishing in the three spot once again with her time of 59.31. Ndu finished her evening running the third leg of the women’s 4×400-meter relay, as the quartet of Ebony Eutsey (Miami, Fla.), Lanie Whittaker (Miami, Fla.), Ndu and Amani Bryant (Tampa, Fla.) teamed up to finish fifth overall in 3:35.58 to earn four points for the Orange and Blue.
Eutsey and Whittaker had strong finishes for the Gator women in the 400 meters, as Eutsey finished third overall in 52.51 and Whittaker came in fifth in 52.92, combining for 10 points for the Gators. Bryant, who competed alongside Ndu in the women’s 400-meter hurdles final, finished fourth in 1:00.51, earning five points for the Florida women.
McGee, who ran the women’s 1,500 meters earlier in the afternoon, came up with a collegiate best in the women’s 800 meters, finishing sixth in 2:05.39 to earn three additional points for the Gators.
Throwers Ashley Miller (Miami Beach, Fla.) and Kaitlin Davis (Jacksonville, Fla.) scored for the Florida women in the discus, as Miller finished fourth with her mark of 51.26m/168-2 and Davis came in seventh with a throw of 47.06m/154-5. The two combined for seven points for the Orange and Blue.
Next up for the Gators is the NCAA East Preliminary Round, hosted by the University of North Florida, May 24-26.
For more information on AAU Track and Field, visit www.aauathletics.org.