UF’s No. 1 men’s and No. 6 women’s track and field teams are in Iowa and South Carolina today and Saturday for a two-meet weekend. The pair of matchups will be their last before SEC Indoor Championships start later this month.
After only the throwers competed in the Bayou Bengal Invitational last week, the majority of the Gators are back this weekend to compete against athletes from some of the top-ranked teams in the country at the Tiger Paw Invitational in Clemson, South Carolina and the Iowa State Classic in Ames, Iowa.
UF will send most of its athletes to Clemson, while a handful of distance runners will compete in Iowa.
Senior horizontal jumper KeAndre Bates will compete in the men’s long jump against Texas A&M’s Will Williams in one of the better matchups of the weekend. Bates and Williams rank third and tied for fifth, respectively, on this season’s indoor national descending order list.
In another highly-anticipated matchup, sophomore Grant Holloway will square off with Alabama’s Ruebin Walters in the 60-meter hurdles. In the 110-meter hurdles at last year’s NCAA Outdoor Championships, Holloway topped Walters by just .05 seconds.
Florida’s top men’s and women’s 4x400 relay teams, who ran nation-leading times at the Clemson Invitational earlier this season, will also be competing.
Redshirt sophomore mid-distance runner Jack Guyton will run the men’s 3,000 meters on Friday and is hoping to be more aggressive heading into this meet.
“I need to have more of a killer instinct when I race,” Guyton said. “I need to be less afraid of going with the lead pack, especially going into this next race, mainly just be more competitive.”
On the women’s side, the Gators are expecting big performances from junior sprinter Sharrika Barnett, senior thrower Lloydricia Cameron and senior jumper Darrielle McQueen.
McQueen will be competing in the triple and long jumps at the Tiger Paw Invitational. She is hoping that paying attention to the little things will help propel her to a new indoor personal best at this weekend’s meet.
“I’ve learned how to manage my time better and be more consistent with things that I know need to get done,” McQueen said. “Like taking care of my body, making sure I get rest and making sure I’m eating the right things.”
The Gators will look to be diligent in their approach this weekend to continue the success they’ve sustained through their first five meets of the indoor season.
“We’ve been training really hard early on in the season,” Guyton said. “I think we’re just getting ready for the bigger meets.”