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Tuesday, March 05, 2024

The UF men's and women's track and field teams kicked off the 2008 indoor season Saturday at the Big Ten/Southeastern Conference Challenge in Bloomington, Ind.

Freshman Terrell Wilks and senior Lakecia Ealey each won the 60-meter dash and 200-meter dash to propel the Gators to a strong season-opening performance.

Wilks was impressive in his collegiate debut, winning the 60m with a NCAA provisional-qualifying time of 6.73 seconds and taking the 200m with a time of 21.53 seconds.

The Gators took three of the top five spots in the men's 200m. Senior Bernard Middleton placed third with a time of 21.66 seconds, and junior Willie Perry finished fifth with a time of 21.74.

Ealey lead the way for the women, finishing the 60m in 7.41 seconds and winning the 200m with a time of 23.9 seconds.

The Gators won eight events on the day, including both men's and women's shot put, and posted a half-dozen provisional qualifying marks for the NCAA indoor championships.

Beau Burroughs posted a career-best and provisional qualifying toss of 18.04 meters in shot put. Burroughs bettered his personal record by nearly a meter as he claimed the first victory of his career.

Burroughs' mark in the shot put moved him into 10th place on the school's all-time indoor list.

"This was a team effort, and we did a good job today," UF coach Mike Holloway said. "We weren't carried by any specific part of the team. We had people step up in each part of the meet, which is a goal we have heading into each competition."

Both men's and women's teams are nationally ranked in the top 15 by the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.

The men are ranked No. 4 in the nation. The women hold the 13th spot in the poll.

Saturday's meet also marked the start of a new era for the Gators track and field program, as Holloway became the first head coach in school history to oversee both the men's and women's teams.

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Holloway has been the head coach of the men's team since 2002.

He became the ninth head coach of the women's program dating back to 1973.

The Columbus, Ohio, native succeeds former coach Tom Jones, who lost his battle with cancer in March 2007.

"We saw some good things today, but we also have a lot to work on, and we are going to leave performances in Bloomington and go back to work when we get home," Holloway said.

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