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McQuay decides to forego senior season for pro career

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Posted: Thursday, June 14, 2012 1:15 am | Updated: 9:32 am, Thu Jun 14, 2012.

Junior Tony McQuay has had a nice year in 2012. The sprinter started off winning the U.S. Championships in June, then won his first NCAA indoor title in the 400 meters and last week he won his first NCAA outdoor title in the 400 meters as well as Florida’s first 4x400-meter relay NCAA title.

But the year isn’t over yet.

On Wednesday, McQuay said that this will be his last year running for Florida.

“From freshman year to now, it has been a long journey,” McQuay said. “It’s been a great experience for me. To go out with a national title, to break school records and go down in history, especially since it’s my last year here, words can’t describe how I feel.”

Despite turning professional, he intends to still train on Florida’s track as well as finish getting his degree. However, McQuay hasn’t decided who he will be running for yet.

“I’m still not sure who I’m going to sign with yet; I’m still in the process of deciding where I’m going to go,” McQuay said. “Nike and Adidas are the two of my biggest ones.”

During his time as a Gator, McQuay has helped the men earned all four NCAA titles – three indoors and one outdoors. He also won three individual NCAA titles, as well as five Southeastern Conference titles.

“Everything just happened so fast for me with my collegiate career,” McQuay said. “I feel like I just got here. I’m not ready to leave, but I have to make the best decision. I wish I could do it all over again.”

The eight-time All-American holds two school records. He set the outdoor record for the 400 meters at the NCAA Outdoor championships with a time of 44.58.

His most impressive record came in his last event as a Gator when he anchored the 4x400-meter team to a world-leading time of 3:00.02 at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. Florida’s new record edged out its previous one set in 2010 by less than a half second.

“When I looked up at that clock I said, ‘Wow, we just did that,’” he said. “It was such an emotional moment for me.”

With his collegiate career behind him, McQuay will now be focusing on his professional one starting with the Olympic trials on June 22. After setting a new personal record in the 400 meters last week, McQuay feels confident about the performance he will have in Eugene, Ore.

“It’s a big stage, but I raced some of those guys on my way to making the world team. I’m not going to go in there scared of them, I’m going in there hungry,” McQuay said. “Whoever wants it more is going to get that spot, but after running a [44.58] I don’t think I have too much to worry about. Anything can happen though, but they’re going to have to bring it because I’m bringing it.”

Contact Katie Agostin at kagostin@alligator.org.

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