In the first competition of a new season, athletes can either shine or learn what their weaknesses are.
For Florida’s track and field teams, the first meet is out of the way. Now they must turn their focus to their second challenge of the season: the Razorback Invitational.
“We do have a great competition in Arkansas this weekend,” UF coach Mike Holloway said. “It is another chance for us to get better and kind of gauge ourselves against some of the better competition in the country.”
There, the team will face 14 other teams, seven of which are ranked in the top 25.
The men’s team will face four Southeastern Conference teams in No. 3 Texas A&M, No. 6 LSU, No. 7 Georgia and No. 11 Arkansas. They will also face two other top-five opponents in No. 2 Texas and No. 5 Oregon.
When the Ducks and the Gators last met, Oregon defeated UF in the 2015 NCAA Outdoor Championships.
The No. 6-ranked women’s team will also face substantial competition in No. 1 Arkansas and No. 2 Georgia.
And unlike in the season’s first meet, Florida will bring its distance runners to the Razorback Invitational.
“We expect the same thing out of the distance crew that we expect from everybody else on the team. They don’t get a pass,” Holloway said. “I have watched them and they have been training really well. Coach Spangler has really got them going. We are really excited to watch them compete this weekend.”
The competition, hosted by Arkansas in Fayetteville, lasts two days and begins today at 11 a.m. with the women’s Pentathlon. The field events start at 3 p.m. while the running events begin at 6 p.m. and will be televised on the SEC Network +.
Coach Holloway always has high expectations for his teams, and this weekend is no different.
“My expectations are always to see them compete hard,” Holloway said. “For me, I just want to see the competitive nature of them. I want to see the look in their eyes, the feelings they get when the gun goes off and afterwards.”