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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

“Finish the Mission” has been the Gators’ anthem all season. A last opportunity awaits to do just that.

After capturing a men’s NCAA Indoor Championship, men’s Southeastern Conference  Outdoor Championship, women’s SEC Cross Country Championship and SEC Indoor Championship, the Gators track and field teams look to complete what has been a remarkable season by adding two more team championships this week at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Ore.

Florida enters the final meet, which runs from Wednesday through Saturday, hot off dominating the East Preliminary Round, sending 19 Gators to compete in 21 slots.

As the defending NCAA Indoor Champion, the No. 2 men’s team looks to become just the fourth team in NCAA history to win both the indoor and outdoor national titles  in the same season.

If either team does complete the final quest, then it would mark the first time in program history a men or women’s team has claimed a NCAA Outdoor Title.

The men qualified for 13 spots including the 4x100-meter relay team, which will be looking to win its second consecutive NCAA Championship.

Jeff Demps qualified in multiple events and returns to the track where he became the co-owner of the U.S. Junior World Record (10.01) in the 100-meter dash.

The women’s team qualified for eight spots including three in the shot put. All-American Mariam Kevkhishvili, who holds the nation’s top shot put toss this season, heads to Eugene looking to cap off an undefeated season and defend last year’s title.

Kevkhishvili will be looking for her second consecutive NCAA Outdoor title, after already claiming the SEC Indoor title, SEC Outdoor Championship and NCAA Indoor title.

The season-long mantra of “Finish the Mission” was established after the Gators track and field teams felt that after a successful 2009 campaign, ultimately, it could have been better.

According to UF coach Mike Holloway, who was recently named the South Region Men and Women’s Head Coach of the Year, his teams were inspired by the theme that the Florida football team used en route to its 2008 National Championship.

The mantra has obviously been taken to heart as the Gators look to complete one of their most prosperous years in school history.

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The University of Oregon is hosting the meet at its historic Hayward Field.

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