Setting up on his block in lane six to begin his final race of the day, Dedric Dukes wasn’t sure what was coming, but he was prepared for it.
When the gun was shot for the men’s 200-meter dash, Dukes launched off the block and outran every other competitor on the track to cross the finish line in first place for a world-leading time of 19.97 seconds.
With Dukes’ world-leading record, he went along to also mark eighth in the all-time college performers list, the second-fastest time in UF history and a Florida Relays record.
“It feels great. I always wanted to run 19 (seconds), but I didn’t think I was going to run it this early,” Dukes said. “It feels good that I can beat one of my goals.”
Wanting to eclipse 19 seconds for Dukes was one his accomplishments he was longing to complete, but his coach Mike Holloway had no clue it was going to happen.
“Nineteen ninety-seven, nobody saw that coming,” Holloways said. “Dedric might of saw it coming, but I didn’t see coming.”
The junior sprinter also competed in the 100-meter dash and finished seventh overall.
Running alongside Dukes, was sophomore sprinter Arman Hall, who took first place earlier in the day running a 45.19 second, 400-meter dash time.
The 400m dash was the first time sprinters Hall, Hugh Graham Jr., and Najee Glass all competed in the event this season thus far and all finished in the top four in their heat.
“I think we all were satisfied about our race with the season-opener,” Hall said.
“Before the race coach Holloway told me to just react to the gun and trust yourself after that. So before the race I just talked to myself and just say react to the gun, get out fast and do what you do best.”
Doing what the Gators do best also resulted in another record-breaking run of the day.
Senior mid-distance runner Sean Obinwa took to the track in the 800-meter run and clocked a time of 1:46.68 to defend his title in the run from last season.
The Tampa, Fla., native went on to move up to No. 4 in UF’s record-book in the 800m with a back-to-back first place finish in Florida Relays.
“Unbelievealbe run by Sean Obinwa today,” Holloway said.
“He was in my office a couple of weeks ago talking about coach what do I have to do to be a 1:46 guy. I said you have to be patient, do all your work and it’s going to happen.”
Other notable finishes were Cory McGee (2:05.04) in the women’s 800m with a third place finish behind Kentucky’s Allison Peare and winner Morgan Uceny, who ran for adidas.
In addition, Robin Reynolds (51.57) and Ebony Eutsey (52.33) finished one-two in the women’s 400m dash.
The Gators went along to post personal records throughout the day and finished Day 1 of Florida Relays wanting to return better tomorrow.
“It was PR city in the 200 today,” Holloway said. “It was great competition, great weather, a fast track and great things happened today.”
Follow Lawrence Laguna on Twitter @LagunaLawrence