Complacency can be the Achilles heel of an athlete. If an athlete starts off a season seeing success early, they might forget how much work it took to get there. If an athlete starts a season off terribly, he or she might get discouraged and accept defeat early.
Florida track and field coach Mike Holloway is making sure that doesn’t become an issue.
"I caution my athletes on this all the time. If you have success in a early season meet, don’t carry that with you," Holloway said. "If you were successful, leave that in the building. If you had a bad meet, leave that in the building."
Two weeks removed from the Southeastern Conference Indoor Championships on Feb. 26-27, athletes from UF’s men and women’s teams will be split between two meets this weekend: the Iowa State Classic and the Tyson Invitational.
"It is all about getting qualifying marks for nationals," Holloway said. "The athletes that are going to the Iowa State meet are going there because the competition in their events, the 5K, the 3k, the mile, the 800, are stronger in that competition. The athletes going to Tyson is where the better competition is for them."
While UF hasn’t competed in the Iowa State Classic since last season, the athletes traveling to the Tyson Invitational in Fayetteville, Arkansas, are already familiar with the site — they competed on the same track less than two weeks ago at the Razorback Invitational.
Florida found success at both meets last season. At the Iowa State Classic, then-senior Mark Parrish broke his own school record in the 5,000-meter run with a time of 13:41.87, while Jimmy Clark (14:04.53) and Eddie Garcia (14:14.84) landed in UF’s all-time top-10 list in the same race.
At the Tyson Invitational the Gators posted eight top-five finishes in field events. In addition, then-junior Kyra Jefferson set the 2015 NCAA and world-best time in the women’s 200-meter dash by crossing the line in 22.81 seconds.
The Gators are hoping past success won’t affect their results this weekend.
"The worst thing you could ever do is have a great performance, and then get complacent," Holloway said. "Then you have forgotten what it took to get you where you are, and you have forgotten that we still have work to do. No matter who you are and how well you do, there is always someone out there working to beat you. So we can’t fall asleep."