Florida ready for NCAA Championships

The University of Florida men’s and women’s track & field teams are ready for competition as the 2012 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships, hosted by Drake University, begin this week.

The Gators have 17 athletes combining for 20 qualifying spots in 19 events, as eight women, eight men and the women’s and men’s 4×400-meter relays will represent the Orange and Blue in Des Moines.

The four-day meet begins on Wednesday, June 6 and extends to Saturday, June 9. ESPNU will televise Saturday’s action from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. CT. The ESPN announcing team is comprised of Trey Bender (play-by-play), Larry Rawson (analyst) and Jill Montgomery (reporter). The entire event will be streamed live through ESPN3.com, with the exception of Wednesday, June 6, which will be streamed for free at http://www.NCAA.com.

The action gets started for the Gators at 5:30 p.m. CT on Wednesday, as freshman jumper Marquis Dendy (Middleton, Del.) will compete for the men’s long jump crown. Dendy is one of two double-dippers for the Gators (Darshay Davis – women’s 100m & 200m), as he will also compete in Friday’s triple jump competition.

Junior Tony McQuay (Riviera Beach, Fla.), the reigning SEC Outdoor Champion, NCAA Indoor Champion and 2011 U.S. Champion in the 400 meters, will look to advance to the finals of the men’s 400 meters, as the semifinals begin at 6:45 p.m. CT. Immediately following will be sophomore Lanie Whittaker (Miami, Fla.), who will look to advance in the women’s 400 meters, beginning at 7:00 p.m. CT.

The final event of Wednesday evening for the Orange and Blue is the semifinal of the women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase, where senior Genevieve LaCaze (Queensland, Australia), who was recently named the 2012 USTFCCCA South Region Women’s Track Athlete of the Year, will compete for a spot in Friday’s finals. Her event will begin at 7:45 p.m. CT.

Live results from the week’s action will be available online at NCAA.com and FlashResults.com, and accessible via a link from the Championship Central page on the Drake Athletics website, http://www.GoDrakeBulldogs.com, which also will include quotes, notes, photos and event information.

The Gator men have placed in the top three at the last three NCAA Outdoor Championships, while the Florida women recorded a third-place finish at the 2010 NCAA Outdoor Championships.