Florida's Dendy sets SEC record at indoor event
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Marquis Dendy wasn't about to complain about setting a meet record with a long jump of 27 feet, 3/4 inches at the Southeastern Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships on Saturday.
The Florida sophomore, however, would have preferred to jump just a bit farther -- even after setting the mark for the longest jump in the world this year.
Dendy leaped a personal best, but he was just a bit short of the 27-5 mark he needed to earn the new car his father had promised him.
"I've got to talk to the delegation," Dendy said. "My dad's here, so I've got tell him, `Two inches, can't you just give me two inches or whatever?' I'm going to talk to him about that. Surely, right after these interviews, I'm definitely going to talk to him about that."
New car or not, Dendy's win gave the defending national champion Gators a much-needed 10 points in their effort against top-ranked Arkansas. The Razorbacks, who won the SEC meet last year and have won six of the last seven, held a 52-34 team lead after Saturday.
Dendy will be back at work inside the Randal Tyson Track Center on Sunday, hoping to earn more points in the triple jump on final day of the three-day meet.
For the time being, however, he reveled in repeating as the long jump champion -- besting his previous best of 26-5½. The record jump came on his second attempt, following a foul on his first, and it topped the previous SEC best of 27-0 was set by Alabama's Miguel Pate in 2002.
Dendy held off LSU's Damar Forbes, who was second with a jump of 26-5 3/4 inches, and it gave him plenty of confidence approaching the national meet -- which also will be held in Fayetteville in two weeks.
"This is just basically a pre-meet of nationals," Dendy said. "So, I definitely can go out there and just jump farther at nationals. I've got a second try."
The Razorbacks actually rested a few of their top performers in the meet, including Kevin Lazas, who entered the weekend as the conference's top performer in the heptathlon. Lazas will compete in the pole vault on Sunday, and Arkansas coach Chris Bucknam said his focus is on entering the nationals rested and with momentum.
Even without Lazas, the Razorbacks appear poised to do both.
"It's like in any sport, it's all about momentum," Bucknam said. "It's all about feeling good. It's all about, again, that body language and coming off a good performance leads to the next one.
"So, we don't want to take a step back. We always want to step forward, and I was pleased with how things went."
With Lazas not competing, Georgia's Garrett Scantling won the heptathlon with 5,889 points. The sophomore set personal bests in all three events on Saturday, including the 60-meter hurdles (8.15 seconds), pole vault (16- 3/4) and 1,000 (2 minutes, 50.41 seconds).
"The 1,000 meter was just all guts, but it feels great and it feels awesome," Scantling said. "I have never been that nervous before a race before, but it felt great. I pushed it to the end and got what I wanted."
Also, Mississippi's Ricky Robertson won his fourth straight high jump championship at the event by clearing 7-5, becoming just the second person in SEC history to accomplish the feat.
The Arkansas women also took the lead entering the final day of the event, leading 37-28 over second-place Georgia. Top-ranked LSU is fifth with 13.5 points.
The Razorbacks received 10 points on Friday when senior Makeba Alcide won the pentathlon with a college-record 4,569 points.
Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press
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