GAINESVILLE, Fla. - The Florida women's track & field and cross country teams finished fifth in the 2012-13 Terry Crawford Program of the Year standings with 47.5 points, using top-15 finishes at both NCAA Track & Field Championships, as well as a top-25 finish at the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championship.
Now in its fifth season, the award is given by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) to the most successful combined program during the academic year. The Gators were one of three Southeastern Conference programs on the list, including No. 3 Arkansas and No. 7 Georgia.
To start off the 2012-13 athletic season, the Gator women captured the 2012 SEC Cross Country crown. For the third time in the last four years - and the sixth time overall - the Gator women's cross country squad brought the SEC Title back to Gainesville. The Orange and Blue now have six SEC titles ('84, '96, '97, '09, '10, '12), the second-most for an SEC women's cross country squad.
Six Gators ran lifetime best 6K marks and all five scorers turned in top-25 finishes to lead the women to the 2012 SEC Title at Percy Warner Park in Nashville, including second-place finisher Florence Ngetich (Eldama Ravine, Kenya), who clocked in at 20:27.41 for the sixth-fastest time in Florida history as the Gators' highest finisher in the women's field of 124 athletes.
At the 2012 NCAA Cross Country Championship, the Florida women finished 23rd, the Gators' second-best performance since 2009 in their last six trips to nationals. UF was led once again by Ngetich, who scored first for the Gators at 54th overall in the field.
The Gator women finished fourth both indoors and outdoors at the SEC Championships before registering top-15 performances at the national meet, garnering 10 All-America honors indoors and 17 outdoors, including eight First Team mentions last week at the 2013 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Eugene, Ore.
In Fayetteville, Ark, the UF women finished 13th behind stellar second-day performances by sophomore Ciarra Brewer (Union City, Calif.), junior Agata Strausa (Riga, Latvia) and the women's 4x400-meter relay. Brewer soared to a new indoor PB in the women's triple jump with her leap of 13.69m/44-11, good for bronze-medalist honors and putting her at second all-time in Gator history. Strausa finished third in the women's mile with a season's best of 4:36.91, the second-fastest time of her career. Strausa was one of the final entries into the event after racing at the Alex Wilson Invitational during Last Chance Weekend. The women's 4x4, consisting of junior Ebony Eutsey (Miami, Fla.), freshman Destinee Gause (Reynoldsburg, Fla.), freshman Robin Reynolds (Miami, Fla.) and senior Lanie Whittaker (Miami, Fla.), finished fourth overall with a season's best of 3:31.54, the second-fastest time in program history.
Just last week, the Florida women finished in a tie for 11th at the NCAA Outdoors with 25 points, led by two NCAA runner-up finishes courtesy of junior Cory McGee (Pass Christian, Miss.) in the women's 1,500 meters and freshman Marija Vucenovic (Sremska Mitrovica, Serbia) in the women's javelin. Other top-five performances belonged to senior Ugonna Ndu (Newark, N.J.) and Brewer, who each finished fifth in their respective events. Ndu ran just .01 off her personal best in the women's 400-meter hurdles in Eugene with a time of 56.13. Brewer overcame injury to finish fifth in the women's triple jump, scoring at the national outdoor meet for the second consecutive year.
The USTFCCCA Program of the Year Award is awarded annually to the most outstanding cross country/track & field programs in each of the NCAA's three divisions and for each gender. The award honors the institution that has achieved the most success in each academic year - spanning the cross country, indoor track & field and outdoor track & field seasons - based on the institution's finish at the NCAA Championships.
The Terry Crawford Women's Program of the Year Award is named after USTFCCCA Hall of Famer and former Cal Poly head coach Terry Crawford. Crawford's teams won five NCAA Championships and more than 20 conference crowns. Her 1986 Texas squad remains the only women's program to ever win the NCAA Triple Crown.