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Tuesday, December 07, 2021
<p><span>Sophomore jumper Marquis Dendy competes in the long jump at the SEC Indoor Track Championships on Feb. 23 in Fayetteville, Ark. Dendy qualified for the men's triple jump in next week's NCAA Outdoors Championships.</span></p>

Sophomore jumper Marquis Dendy competes in the long jump at the SEC Indoor Track Championships on Feb. 23 in Fayetteville, Ark. Dendy qualified for the men's triple jump in next week's NCAA Outdoors Championships.

It took sophomore Marquis Dendy three jumps instead of one to get to Eugene, Ore., for the 2013 NCAA Outdoor Championships.

Heading into Greensboro, N.C., for the NCAA East Preliminary Round, it was all but assumed Dendy would qualify for nationals in the men’s long jump – the event in which he is the reigning indoor Southeastern Conference and NCAA champion. He set the nation’s best mark in the men’s long jump at this season’s Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays.

However, Dendy missed the cut for his signature event. After fouling his first two jumps, Dendy failed to improve on his third jump’s distance of 7.31m and finished 13th. He needed to make the top 12 to qualify.

“It was an up-and-down day for us,” coach Mike Holloway said of the first day of competition. “I spoke to our athletes and challenged them to come out here the rest of the weekend and really stick their nose in there and compete.”

Dendy still had a chance to advance to Eugene in the men’s triple jump. He stuck his nose in and competed.

On Saturday – the final day of competition – Dendy redeemed himself. By finishing second in the men’s triple jump behind fellow Gator Omar Craddock, Dendy punched his ticket to Oregom.

“For Marquis to bounce back after a disappointment in the men’s long jump, it says a lot about his determination and work ethic,” Holloway said. “Omar was Omar and he delivered just like he does every meet. I’m very pleased with both of their performances.”

With Dendy on board for NCAAs, the Gators will travel to Oregon with 28 athletes – the most qualifiers in school history.

Fifteen women and 13 men, including three relay squads, qualified for the NCAA Championships. Florida’s 15 women sets a school record, while its 13 men is second most in school history. UF’s record for most men at nationals came in 2011. The Gators qualified 16 that season.

Florida’s record number of qualifiers can be directly attributed to its strong performance at the NCAA East Preliminary Round.

Athletes needed to finish in the top 12 in their events during the preliminaries to qualify for the championships. On the first two days, the Gators qualified 11 athletes. On Saturday, the final day of the meet, Florida advanced 17.

“I’m extremely proud of all of our athletes who advanced to the NCAA Championships,” Holloway said. “It’s always great to have your teammates with you for the finals.”

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Eight of the 28 athletes who advanced to Eugene are competing in multiple events, including all four members of the men’s 400m relay squad. Najee Glass, Hugh Graham Jr. and Arman Hall are each competing in the men’s individual 400m, and Dedric Dukes is set to compete in the men’s 200m.

At this past weekend’s preliminaries, the men’s 4x400m relay squad finished as the top qualifier with a time of 3:04.99.

“This was their first race since Texas Relays, and they did what they’ve done all year: They followed the race plan,” Holloway said.

Florida’s deep roster will serve as an advantage next week. Top teams are distinguished by the amount of points earned in the events. Athletes earn points if they finish in the top eight in their event, notching 10 points for a first-place finish, eight points for second place, six points for third, decreasing to one point for an eighth-place finish. The more athletes a team has, the more points it can earn.

“We’re ready to get back to Gainesville and get to work,” Holloway said. “I’m proud of the way we performed and rose to the challenge after a few disappointments the first day of the meet.”

Sophomore jumper Marquis Dendy competes in the long jump at the SEC Indoor Track Championships on Feb. 23 in Fayetteville, Ark. Dendy qualified for the men's triple jump in next week's NCAA Outdoors Championships.

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