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Sunday, June 23, 2024

If history is any indication, the Gators men’s track and field team could find itself with an NCAA Outdoor Championship next season.

A year after finishing in second place, two points behind the eventual champions, Florida came that much closer to immortality, finishing second, just one point behind the NCAA Outdoor Champions Texas A&M at the 2010 NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Ore.

“We were within two points last year and one point this year, so we’re getting closer,” UF coach Mike Holloway said. “Now, we have 365 days from this point to get ready to come back and fight for the NCAA title.”

While the UF men fell just short, the women’s team used a remarkable final day to also finish in the top-three of the outdoor championships.

Florida’s men placed second overall with 54 team points, while the women’s team – behind just seven athletes – finished in third place with 40 team points.

“I am extremely proud of our team today,” Holloway said. “For both our programs to finish in the top three is a great accomplishment. I have to give credit to my staff for their hard work and diligence.”

While Texas A&M claimed both the men’s and women’s national titles, several Gators still put on a show.

Charlotte Browning won the women’s 1,500-meter run with a time of 4:15.84, and Evelien Dekkers won the women’s javelin with a school-record toss of 59 meters. Dekkers shattered her own personal-record throw and became the first women’s javelin champion in school history.

The men’s 4x100-meter relay team successfully defended its NCAA title, winning the race behind a strong quartet anchored by 100-meter champion Jeff Demps. The 4x100-meter relay team won with a time of 39.04.

Earlier in the week, the Gators claimed three other individual championships including Demps’ blazing win in the 100-meter dash (9.69).

Christian Taylor capped off an impressive campaign by winning the men’s triple jump with a 2010 American-leading leap of 17.09 meters.

Mariam Kevkhishvili won her fifth NCAA shot put title (indoors and outdoors), becoming just the second athlete in NCAA history to claim five women’s shot put championships.

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The senior thrower completed her amazing career by going undefeated as a collegiate competitor in her final two seasons at UF.

“For our women to come in here with seven athletes and place third is a great accomplishment,” Holloway said.

In all, the Gators won six individual NCAA titles during the meet.

While several other Gators didn’t score points for their team, that didn’t mean they didn’t perform up to standards.

Freshman distance runner Josh Izewski ran a lifetime personal-best time of 29:37.85 in the men’s 10,000-meter race, the eighth-fastest time in school history.

Senior distance runner Julie Northrup, a runner in the women’s steeplechase, ran the second-fastest time in UF history at 10:20.58.

The Gators concluded the 2009-2010 campaign winning the men’s NCAA Indoor Championship, men’s Southeastern Conference Outdoor Championship, women’s SEC Cross Country Championship, women’s SEC Indoor Championship and finishing second and third, respectively, at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.

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