The Gators had a disappointing ending to the weekend at the NCAA Indoor Championships.
The No. 1 women’s team, filled with senior leadership, was expected to dominate. The No. 3 men’s team was expected to race fast on the way to possibly winning a national championship, their first since 2012.
Neither of those things happened.
Instead, the men finished in seventh place with 21 points, failing to make the top three in indoors since for the first time since 2008. The women finished in a tie for 14th.
Both lost to Oregon, whose men’s team won the 2015 NCAA Indoor Championships, and who swept the competition on both sides.
“It was an incredibly disappointing weekend, almost to the point of embarrassment,” Florida coach Mike Holloway said in a release. “It’s one of those things where I’d love to tell you what happened. I have no clue.”
The day started off on a disappointing note when senior Shayla Sanders, the only Gator with a nation-leading time heading into the championship, uncharacteristically finished in seventh place with a time of 7.22 seconds in the 60-meter dash.
In the 400-meter dash, Kyra Jefferson (52.28) and Claudia Francis (52.84) finished in seventh and eighth place, respectively.
Florida’s two triple jumpers, Darrielle McQueen and Yanis David, finished close to the bottom of the leaderboard with 13th and 14th place finishes, respectively.
In the 4x400 relay, the team made up of Jefferson, Robin Reynolds, Sharrika Barnett and Claudia Francis ran to a seventh-place finish with a time of 3:32.16.
Jefferson’s performance in the 200-meter dash was the only time the women’s team shined Saturday. She finished second with a time of 22.83, and in the process became the eighth woman since 1999 and the first since LSU’s Hazel Ann Regis in 2005 to score in both the 200 and 400 meters.
On the men’s side, Arman Hall (46.44) and Najee Glass (46.60) finished in fourth and sixth place, respectively, in the 400-meter dash. Glass had come in first in the 400-meter dash prelims on Friday.
Hall was unable to finish the 200-meter dash after suffering an injury.
Hall had to be replaced in the 4x400 relay by Nick Uruburu. Uruburu, along with Glass, Eric Futch and Kunle Funsi finished in second place with a time of 3:05.17 behind LSU, who ran a 3:04.28.
Saturday marked just the second time since 2009 that a men’s athlete from Florida did not win a national championship.
“All I can say is that we will be better outdoors. We have to be. We are a much better team than we showed,” Holloway said. “On the men’s side we got a little dinged up in places, but we still had to step up and do better. I’m just very, very disappointed.”