AJ McFarland chuckled after Friday’s meet in Baton Rouge. He had just broken a school record for the second consecutive outing — registering a mark of 21.89 meters in the weight throw — and took a moment to soak it all in.
Then, his mindset moved on to his next scheduled event: the SEC Indoor Championships.
With the conference championship coming up at the end of February, McFarland’s record-setting night on Friday at the Bayou Bengal Invitational merely scratched the surface of where he wants to be.
McFarland entered Friday’s meet having improved his weight throw mark in each of the three meets he has competed in this season.
He hopes that this momentum peaks at the right time to carry him through SECs and into a successful run at the NCAA Indoor Championships.
“You get to indoor nationals, and I’m rolling on a good amount of confidence,” McFarland said. “Maybe that’s the meet where I go 22.50 (meters).”
His performance at Carl Maddox Fieldhouse showed that he’s putting himself in position to be a major contributor to his team’s success when it comes time for championships.
The redshirt junior’s six-throw series on Friday featured two record-setting distances and three marks over 21.70 meters.
McFarland recorded a foot foul on his fourth throw, which he said would have been good for 22 meters. This threw him off slightly, as he posted just 21.59 meters right after, which was his second-lowest mark of the night.
However, McFarland regrouped and locked in for his final throw of the series. He finished with a mark of 21.89, which smashed a 21.76-meter school record he set earlier that night.
“I wasn’t crazy excited about it because I did have the goal of throwing 22 meters,” McFarland said. “Once we get that, it never stops. You come home … and then you get ready to throw 22.50.”
On a night in which the Gators had just six competing athletes, the team still showed progression, which it hopes will fuel itself heading into the SEC Indoor Championships.
“I just want to keep that engine rolling,” McFarland said. “Just try to keep getting a little bit better at every meet.”
Follow Alanis Thames on Twitter @alanisthames