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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.

The first day of the NCAA East Preliminary Round was a tumultuous one for the Gators.

Two athletes secured spots in Eugene, Ore., for the 2013 NCAA Outdoor Championships and 12 other athletes advanced to Friday and Saturday’s quarterfinals.

On the flip side, some Gators who were expected to advance did not – like Jimmy Clark, the Southeastern Conference Men’s Freshman Runner of the Year, Jimmy Clark. Clark finished 34th in the men’s 10,000m.

The most notable athlete who did not advance was sophomore Marquis Dendy, the reigning NCAA indoor champion in the men’s long jump.

Dendy finished 13th in the long jump on Thursday. After fouling his first two jumps, Dendy failed to improve on his third jump’s distance of 7.31m. He needed a top-12 finish to advance to Eugene.

“It was an up-and-down day for us, but there were more ups than downs,” coach Mike Holloway said.

Juniors Lorraine Graham and Florence Ngetich secured spots in Eugene.

Graham finished fifth in the women’s long jump with a distance of 6.17m. Being one of Florida’s handful of multi-event athletes, Graham hopes to advance to the quarterfinals in the women’s 100m hurdles. The prelims for the hurdles are on Friday.

“I’m very excited for Lorraine to qualify for her first NCAAs,” said Holloway. “She’s been doing the multi-events all year and now she gets to focus on just the long jump and the hurdles. I look forward to seeing her compete in the hurdles tomorrow.”

Ngetich finished fourth in the women’s 10,000m with a personal best time of 33:28.10.

“Florence did as coach (Paul) Spangler laid out in her race plan,” Holloway said. “What we want all of our athletes to do is engage in the fight. This is a win or go home situation and she did a great job conducting herself out there. She’s healthy and followed the race plan well.”

The Gators have 21 athletes slated to compete in 13 preliminary, quarterfinal, and semifinal events on Friday.

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“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,” said Holloway. “We still have a lot of great chances Friday and Saturday to qualify for Eugene. We are a team and we pick everyone up when they need it.”

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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