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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Home sweet home.

After the start of the outdoor season on the road in Tallahassee was cut short due to inclement weather, UF is home for its next track meet.

If the weather holds up this weekend, some of UF's athletes will have the opportunity to open their outdoor season on a grand stage in the Florida Relays.

The Relays, in its 65th season, showcases high school talents competing against each other and also pits professional athletes against some of the finest college athletes in a two-day event.

UF senior Carlos Phillips has been to quite a few Florida Relays, some of which were reminiscent of what happened in Tallahassee last weekend.

However, Phillips understands the weather is a part of the sport and is not concerned about the weather in his final Florida Relays as a Gator.

"I've been to Florida Relays since my junior year in high school," Phillips said. "It's been rained out a couple times, but whether its raining or just light showers or whether it's hot, sunny, you just gotta go out there and run."

The last time UF competed in front of the home crowd was in the Tom Jones Memorial Invitational back in January, and the team had one of its best overall showings of the indoor season.

This weekend, the athletes will enjoy the opportunity to compete in Gainesville once more, and they will try to outdo their last home performance.

"It's the best thing because you've got your friends, your family there, and you don't want to embarrass yourself out there," Phillips said. "It's fun, though, in front of the fans, in front of my home crowd. You just can't be nervous about it."

UF coach Mike Holloway, who has attended his fair share - and then some - of Florida Relays, relishes the opportunity to be a part of this Relays.

"It's always a very exciting event. It's always an honor to be a part of it," Holloway said. "I've actually attended every Florida Relay since 1978, so I've been around a long time, seen a lot of relays. But as always, it's going to be an exciting event."

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This weekend's Relays, which begins Friday at 10 a.m., promises to be an entertaining two days, filled with some of the highest competition in the sport.

"There's going to be a world-record attempt by an elite group of athletes on Saturday morning in the shuttle hurdles relay, and we're excited about that," Holloway said. "The Gators are a part of that relay, so we're gonna try not to get beat by too much in that situation."

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