The Trackmen Archives

Subtitle

      The History of the UF Womens Track & Field Team

by C. Diane Poole

UF Track Alumni 1974 - 1976

 

The UF Women’s program started in the fall of 1973, one year after the passage of Title IX.
 
Katie Paulos, a graduate student at UF, was UF’s first Women’s Track coach.
 
In 1973 there were only two (tuition-only) scholarships available for the women's team.  Mary McGroarty (who became my roommate my Junior year) was one of the recipients (I don't know who the other scholarship athlete was that first year).  She ran the 800 at UF
 
In 1974, Heidi Hertz from King High School in Temple Terrace, FL was awarded a track scholarship.  The other one went to a miler from Tennessee (I only remember her first name - Kay)
There were no separate facilities for the women. We shared a small weight room next to Florida field with the men’s team. There were not any coaches or trainers in the weight room to help/supervise us … we were on our own. We had to come dressed for practice and we did not shower until we returned to our respective dorms. Most of us had classes that started at 8 am so that we could be finished with school by 1:00. Practice started at 2:30. No one had to hold our feet to the fire about this ... we all were dedicated students as well as athletes.
 
We traveled to places like Knoxville for the Dogwood Relays, to Lexington, KY for the Becky Boone Relays (the only all-women track meet at the time), Penn Relays, indoor meets at Cole Field House at the University of Maryland, Marin Luther King Games in Atlanta, etc.  Most often, we traveled with the men.
The 1974 team only had 11 women.  Many of us doubled and tripled up on events.  There was one senior on the team, two sophomores and the rest, freshman.
In 1975, nine UF women qualified for Nationals and we traveled to Oregon State University to compete in the seventh annual AIAW Women’s Track and Field Championships. (Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women had responsibility of women’s athletics early on – it would not be until 1982 before the NCAA took over responsibility for women’s collegiate sports). Every one of us placed in our respective events and the UF women finished fourth in the nation.
In 1976 the nationals were held at Kansas State University. That year we placed fourth again with everyone making it to the finals in their events … and Heidi Hertz won the Heptathlon … UF had its first women’s national track champion.
In the fall of 1976, Lacey O’Neal took over the coaching duties for the Women’s track team. The program still had a small budget so we only had two tuition-only scholarships available
 
I believe in 1978 was when Deanne Carlson took over the coaching responsibilities

C. DIANE POOLE

Graduated from UF in 1978 with a BA in Political Science. UF Track from 1974 through 1976. 100m and 400m hurdles, high jump and the mile relay.

Lives in Arlington, VA. Senior Vice President with the American Bankers Association.

My roommates in college were Nancy Shafer, a miler who ran for the Florida Track Club and Mary McGroarty who ran the 800m on UF’s Women’s Team. Mary was on the inaugural UF women’s track team (as a scholarship recipient). The UF Women’s program started in the fall of 1973, one year after the passage of Title IX.

Title IX passed in June of 1972. Florida high schools begin offering track and field for “girls” in the spring of 1974. Up until that time the only programs that most Florida schools had for girls was swimming and tennis. So my senior year at Brandon High School in Brandon, FL was the first year I ran “organized” track. I had a successful year and wanted to continue to compete. Since I had already been accepted to UF for fall admission, I wrote to the coach of UF’s Women’s program to see what my chances were for trying out for the team.

Katie Paulos, was UF’s first Women’s Track coach. She answered my letter by indicating two things: 1) that she only had enough money for two tuition scholarships (one in-state and one out-of state). Heidi Hertz from Temple Terrace, FL (King High School) was the in-state recipient. A miler from Tennessee, Kay ?, was the out-of state recipient, and 2) That only “elite” runners would be allowed to travel to “away” meets. Encouraged by her letter, I showed up in Gainesville in the early fall of 1974 ready to make my mark.

There were no separate facilities for the women. We shared a small weight room next to Florida field with the men’s team. There weren’t any coaches or trainers in the weight room to help/supervise us … we were on our own. We had to come dressed for practice and we didn’t shower until we returned to our respective dorms.  Most of us had classes that started at 8 am so that we could be finished with school by 1:00.  Practice started at 2:30.  No one had to hold our feet to the fire about this ... we all were dedicated students as well as athletes.

I was successful in both the 100 and 400 m hurdles, and the high jump. I also ran a leg on our mile relay team. Needless to say, I never stayed home – and competed in all of the away meets! There were only 11 women that year and many of us doubled and tripled up on events. There was one senior on the team, two sophomores and the rest, freshman.

In 1975, nine UF women qualified for Nationals and we traveled to Oregon State University to compete in the seventh annual AIAW Women’s Track and Field Championships. (Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women had responsibility of women’s athletics early on – it would not be until 1982 before the NCAA took over responsibility for women’s collegiate sports). Every one of us placed in our respective events and the UF women finished fourth in the nation.

In 1976 the nationals were held at Kansas State University. That year we placed fourth again with everyone making it to the finals in their events … and Heidi Hertz won the Heptathlon … UF had its first women’s national track champion.

In the fall of 1976, Lacey O’Neal became the women’s coach. The program still had a small budget so we only had two scholarships available, and those went to a hurdler and a discus thrower, both from out of state. After a successful indoor season, I was looking forward to the outdoor season. Unfortunately, I broke my ankle during a hurdle drill and ended up needing surgery. In those days, after surgery, they put you in a full leg cast and forgot about you – not really – but the healing was long. Six weeks out of the cast and I broke my ankle AGAIN. A divergence of philosophies between me and the coach … and my track and field days at UF were over.

I went on to help start the women’s rugby team at UF my senior year and played rugby at the elite level for the next twelve years. My days as a runner at UF prepared me for my success in rugby. After I hung up my rugby cleats I took up sculling and have enjoyed that sport ever since.

LORI MERCER

In high school (1979 – 1981) Lori earned All-America status as a shot putter and discus thrower for Cheyenne Central High School where she held the state record in the Shot Put for over 20 years and continues to hold the record in her high school. She was an 8 time State Champion in the shot put, discus, and softball throw. She was heavily recruited in high school and after attending Utah State University from 1981-1982, she followed her coach to the University of Florida where she made a

name for herself. In the fall of 1983 while training in “THE SWAMP” she was challenged by linebacker great Wilbur Marshall in a baseball throwing competition. To the amazement of her coach and all

in attendance, she threw a baseball the length of Florida Field splitting the uprights of the goal posts at the other end. Her coach was so impressed that he put a javelin in her hand and her track career took flight. In the spring of 1984 she qualified for the NCAA Championships where she finished 3rd and qualified for the Olympic Trials where she finished 8th ; after only training in the even for eight months.

 

She has always considered her throwing ability a gift from God stating, “I don’t know many people who grow up dreaming of throwing the javelin!” Since that time she set the University of Florida record for the javelin at 188’ 8”. Lori also set records and won the Penn Relays two years in a row (1985 and1986) and won the Gatorade Classic. At the 1985 US Championships she finished 2nd earning her a spot on the United States Track and Field Team. She competed in several international competitions that year and ended that season with a trip to Tokyo Japan where she finished 11th in the World University Games. She carried a US top 10 ranking 4 out of the 5 years she competed on the national and international track circuit and was a three time Collegiate All-America and two time Olympic Trials finalist in the javelin.

 

Lori earned a BA in Health Science from the University of Florida in 1986. Since then she has earned a Masters of Arts in Counseling Education, and a Masters of Arts in Education: Administration and Supervision. She has worked for the past 25 years with disadvantaged, inner city youth. She currently resides in Newark, NJ and works in Jersey City, NJ at the Hudson County Schools of Technology/County Prep High School where she is a School Counselor. She continues to stay close to her athletic roots and

has been a volunteer throws coach at Newark Central High School and an assistant volleyball coach at Jersey City’s Snyder High School. She also continues to play competitive volleyball and likes to take her javelins out often to take road trips down memory lane.

 

THE WOMEN of UF TRACK & FIELD
THE WOMEN
Shonel Ferguson (women)

Netta Young (women)
Lorraine Ray (women)
Eunice Ashford (women)
Donna Campbell (women)
Gaye Dell (women)
Pam Rodgers (women)
Susan Seebers (women)
Lori Lewis (women)
Lori Dinello (women)
Kim Schofeild (women)
Nancy Razga (women)
Beth Farmer (women)
Shelly Steele (women)
Gina Percacio (women)
Piper Bressant (women)
Lori Mercer (women)
Heidi Hertz
Diane Poole
Mary McGroaty
Rosie Alwood Morrison
Margaret Tolbert
Janet Owens
Claudia Lumpkin
Tee Brown
Robin Campbell
Nancy Shafer
Netta Young-Johnson
Margaret Tolbert
Emily Carlsten
Hazel Clark
etc..
REGINA BOBO-JACKSON

Years at UF Track:  1978 -1980;  UF 1978- 1983, BSCE 1983
Coach (s) name:  Deann Johnson
Sprinter (100m, 200m, 4x100 & 4x400)

 

Ms. Bobo-Jackson, a 1983 graduate of the University of Florida, has a myriad of civil engineering experience. She began her professional career with the Department of Transportation (FDOT) where she gained extensive experience while working on a wide range of projects with emphasis on highway design. Following her tenure with FDOT she served as project manager with a major South Florida engineering firm where she provided consulting services to the FDOT as well as other clients.

In 1988, Ms. Bobo-Jackson established Gator Engineering Consultants, P.A., and has since completed numerous projects in South Florida. The majority of projects have been roadway design including geometry, maintenance of traffic, pavement design, signing and marking, lighting and signalization. She has been responsible for civil/site development projects which included paving, grading, signing and pavement marking, drainage, water, sanitary sewer, and lift station design and permitting. Ms. Bobo-Jackson has conducted corridor analyses by evaluating existing and future/projected traffic data relative to multi-modal interrelationship, land use, egress and ingress, available right-of-way, environmental and socio-economic impacts to the neighborhoods and surrounding areas to determine the need for roadway improvements and/or changes. She has also served on several Value Engineering Teams to determine project economics and applies the value engineering concept for all projects.

 

Margaret Tolbert

Running and getting my second wind as a distance runner, and the friendships I have had with runners, have made a model for me as an artist and other times in my life. Sorry about the resulting dry bio, I plan to enliven it later on....  Margaret Ross Tolbert is an artist based in Gainesville, Florida. Over the last twenty years she has executed series of paintings, drawings and lithographs from studios in the U.S., France and Turkey. Her commissions include projects for series of paintings with residencies in Turkey, Azerbaijan and Oman, enabling her to continue her research for her series, Doors and study of language and dance from the regions of the ancient trade routes. Another continuing focus is the Springs of North Florida, whose paradisiacal presence provide a sense of ideal destination and the exotic in the here- and-now that counterpoints the sense of passage, time and journey implicit in the Door paintings.

Solo exhibits include: AQUIFERious, at Lemieux Galleries, New Orleans, Sirena: At the Abyss, Edsvik Konsthall, Sollentuna, Sweden, and Edgezones, Miami FL; Margaret Ross Tolbert: Doors at the University of Richmond Museums, August 2005-July 2006; Passages, Polk Museum, Lakeland, Florida, fall 2004, and Springs Eternal?, Gulfcoast Museum of Art, 2003; Palace/Spring,Galleri Max, Stockholm, Sweden, 1996; Aquifer, LeMieux Galleries, New Orleans, LA,2002; Portals and Passages, Museum of Florida History, Daytona Museum of Arts and Sciences, Gulfcoast Art Center, and Okaloosa Walton Community College, 1997-98. Group shows include American Confluence, Edsvik Konsthall , Sollentuna, Sweden, 2006, Growth Spurt, Edgezones, World Arts Center, Miami, FL 2005-6, WET, World Arts Center, Miami FL, 2005,The Swamp: on the Edge of Eden, Harn Museum in Gainesville, FL ,2000; H 2 O; traveling group exhibit with venues in Florida and Georgia, 2000-2002, Han, an exhibit with Nitin Jayaswal based on the caravansaries of the ancient trade routes, Jacksonville and New Orleans, 2000-2001.

Tolbert has received a Visual Arts Fellowship(1997-8) from the State of Florida, an Artist’s Enhancement Grant, from the State of Florida, and has had several residencies, including A Sense of Place, at Jamestown Community College, Olean, New York(1993), master classes with art and literature students on uses of landscape as metaphor, and Integrating through the Arts, at the Museum of Arts and Sciences, Daytona Beach, FL( 1997). In 2002 she installed Springs Passage, paintings for the Volusia County Courthouse(Art-in-State Buildings). Other public art installations were completed for the Overtown metrorail Station(Miami Dade Art in Public Places) and recently a project with lenticular panels for the Weston Public Library for Broward County Public Art and Design. Currently she is installing Orlando springs, a commissioned springs mosaic with canvases from Orlando area springs, lenticular, photography and graphics for the Orlando International Airport. Recent exhibitions have included dance performances and animations presenting the energy of the creative act of painting, of ethnic dance, and of exploration of the springs and the creative process.

These include ENERGY performances with Stefan Craciun for Shands Arts in Medicine, Edsvik Konsthall, and Marten Pers Skalla in Sweden, and the 2011 Ybor City Festival of the Moving Image. Recently the book AQUIFERious has been released, with art and writing by Tolbert and with thirteen contributors. This amalgam of insights and talents documents some of the many features, and urgent need for the preservation of Florida’s freshwater springs and the Floridan Aquifer. AQUIFERious won the gold medal for non-fiction and the silver medal for fine arts in the Florida book awards competition.

Lacey O'Neal

       

Members Area

Recent Photos

Newest Members

Featured Products