The Florida Gators track and field teams continued their strong outdoor season Saturday at the Tom Jones Memorial Classic. Not even the rain storm that arrived mid-action and suspended all activities for more than two hours could slow down the No. 1 (men's) and No. 7 (women's) ranked Gator teams.
This is shaping up to be one heck of an outdoor season.
The Gators racked up a grand total of twelve individual or relay titles (seven by the men's team, five by the women's team), highlighted by yet another Jeff Demps 100 meter dash first-place finish. This time Demps crossed the line with a time of 10.19 seconds. The Gators were also the top collegiate finishers in pretty much every single event, but with the Tom Jones Memorial Classic being an open event, there were plenty of "sponsored" or "team" athletes out there who took home individual titles.
After the jump we'll take a look at not only just the results from Saturday, but take a quick look at upcoming 2012 Drake Relays which take place April 25-28th in Des Moines, Iowa.
In the men's running events, Tony McQuay finished third (highest collegiate finisher) in the 200 meter dash with a time of 20.42 seconds. In that same event, Dedric Dukes finished sixth with a time of 20.88 seconds while Jeff Demps was a scratch.
Hugh Graham Jr., finished fifth in the 400 meter dash with a time of 46.87 seconds and Daniel Wehunt finished second overall in the 800 meter run with a time of 1:51.85 seconds. Tyler Cardillo also finished second in his event, the 1,500 meter run, with a time of 3:54.88 seconds. Cardillo, Graham Jr. and Wehunt were also the highest collegiate finishers in their respective events.
JL Hines and Eddie Garcia formed a one-two punch in the 3,000 meter run with times of 8:27.42 and 8:38.85 seconds respectively, while Eddie Lovett was the top collegiate finisher in the 110 meter hurdles with his time of 13.54 seconds which was good enough for seventh-place overall.
William Wynne finished eight in the 400 meter hurdles with a time 54.87 seconds and yes, he was also the top collegiate finisher.
As for the relays, the Gators cruised to roughly one-second (or more) victories in both the 4x100 meter and 4x400 meter relays. The 4x100 meter team of Demps, McQuay, Leonard Seymore and Dukes finished with a time of 38.67 seconds and the 4x400 meter team Dukes, Graham Jr., Seymore and McQuay finished with a time of 3:05.30 seconds. The 4x100 meter relay time was the second-fastest time in the NCAA and third best in the world.
On the field events, the men continued their dominating performance on the year. Max Lang got things going for the Gators with a third-place finish in the pole vault with a final height of 4.86 seconds. Omar Craddock and Josh Pederson finished fifth and sixth in the long jump, while former Gators great Will Claye set the track record with a best distance of 8.25 meters.
Marquis Dendy won yet another triple jump crown. This time with a final distance of 15.15 meter jump that bested the second-place finisher by 0.04 meters. Dendy has probably been the Gators' biggest surprise this year (both indoor and outdoor). The true freshman just continues to impress.
Jeremy Postin hammered the competition in the hammer throw, winning by more than 3.20 meters with best distance of 68.07 meters. Postin accomplished that distance on his second attempt. It's worth noting that Postin attempted only three throws (his third attempt would have won the event as well) while the second-place finisher couldn't pass Postin on any of his six attempts.
Stipe Zunic literally annihilated all challengers in the javelin with a best throw of 75.41 meters. That throw was an astounding 19.32 meters further than any other throw from the other five competitors.
In the women's running events, Darshay Davis finished fourth overall (though she was the first collegiate finisher) in the 100 meter dash with a time of 11.55 seconds. Cory McGee and Agata Strausa did their best Hines and Garcia impression by finishing one-two in their event, the 800 meter run.
The most impressive running event for the women's team was undoubtedly the 1,500 meter run. The Gators foursome of Genevieve LaCaze (4:16.82 seconds), Shelby Haze (4:21.62 seconds), Mandy Perkins (4:22.46 seconds) and Sarah Davis (4:35.22 seconds) finished in the top four sports.
The women's team had much more success in the field events. Taylor Burke won the high jump with a height of 1.79 meters. Alexis Muniz finished in a tie for fifth in the high jump with a final height of 1.60 meters.
Keely Medeiros had a banner day as she finished first in the shot put and second in the discus. Her distance in the shot put was 17.17 meters and her distance in the discus was 51.46 meters. It's worth noting that Ashley Miller finished second in the discus and Fidela James finished third in the shot put.
James also finished second in the hammer throw with a distance of 51.49 meters. Her throw was 2.81 meters out of first. Brittany Harrell wrapped things up for the Gators with a third-place finish in the javelin with a best distance of 35.40 meters.
Up next for the Gators is a trip to Des Moines, Iowa for the 2012 Drake Relays. The Drake Relays are a four-day event (yes, they are an event as face painting and "kids day" have already begun) hosted by the Drake University Bulldogs at the Jim Duncan Track complex.
Drake University will also host the 2012 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field National Championships for the second straight year. Not bad for a Missouri Valley Conference school in the middle of Iowa.