LaCaze breaks UF’s steeplechase record

Gator All-American and five-time SEC Champion Genevieve LaCaze (Queensland, Australia) ran the race of her life on Wednesday night, winning the third meet in the American Miler’s Club Series.

The senior and 2012 NCAA runner-up ran a nine-second personal best in the women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase, coming across in a new Florida school record of 9:41.15 and achieving something on her mind for the last six weeks: the Olympic “A” Standard.

LaCaze turned in the fastest time by an Aussie this Olympic qualifying season (beginning May 1, 2011) and the fastest by an Australian female since national record holder Donna MacFarlene on September 13, 2008. LaCaze is now the fourth-fastest female steeplechaser in Australian athletics history.

“Sometimes, I had my doubts but I know my training proved I could do this,” LaCaze told “I just had to dig deep and I knew I could do this. Once I got a third of the way (through), I knew I had (the Olympic “A” Standard).”

LaCaze’s race in Indianapolis caps off a phenomenal six weeks for the Aussie, as she etched her name in SEC history that weekend in mid-May, becoming the first female in conference history to sweep the women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase, the women’s 1,500 meters and the women’s 5,000 meters. The senior scored 30 points over the meet, earning herself the 2012 SEC Commissioner’s Trophy.

Along the way, LaCaze was also named the SEC Co-Women’s Runner of the Year and the USTFCCCA South Region Women’s Track Athlete of the Year before her second-place finish at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, where she set her previous school-record time of 9:50.25.

“You always want to finish your career on the highest note possible and I feel like I did that,” LaCaze said.

LaCaze’s American teammates begin their journey to London next week, as 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. Florida head coach Mike 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.

Courtesy UF Communications