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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Florida head coach Mike Holloway said that his team would focus on

their own performances at the Texas A&M Challenge and it

resulted in a day of personal-bests and qualifying marks.

This weekend, the Gators won five combined events, recorded 30

top-five finishes and had two athletes qualify for the NCAA

National Indoor Championships. 

One of those qualifiers was Gray Horn, who set the school record

for the most first-day points in the heptathlon (3,242 points) and

ended up winning the event with 5,747 points — the second-best mark

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in UF history.

“I know now where my strong areas are and I know the areas where I

need a little work,” Horn said. “Thankfully, the pros were higher

than the cons this weekend and we were able to put up a good score

and we’re going to nationals.”

Joining Horn at nationals will be Will Claye, who won the triple

jump handily (16.86m/55-3.75) over second-place finisher and fellow

Gator, Omar Craddock (15.82m/51-11). 

Craddock already qualified for the national meet at the Nittany

Lion Challenge earlier this month.

“We’re not about setting world records or anything like that,”

Holloway said. “What we’re worried about doing is getting better

each week.”

In addition to Horn and Claye, Kemal Mesic and Dumisane Hlaselo

were the other two winners for the men’s team.

Mesic took top honors in the shot put with a throw

(18.88m/61-11.5), surpassing the second-best mark (17.08m/56-0.5)

by a significant margin. Hlaselo won the one-mile run in 4:05.95,

edging out his nearest opponent by 4.27 seconds.

On the women’s side, the Gators benefitted from impressive showings

from multiple underclassmen.

The lone winner for the women’s team was freshman Ebony Eutsey, who

won the 400-meter dash with a time of 54.59 seconds.

Eutsey’s winning time was the best of her collegiate career and she

was one of three female freshmen who recorded top-five finishes

this weekend (Stephanie Strasser and Lorraine Graham).

“We’re close to where we want to be,” Holloway said. “We’ve got a

couple of things we need to work on a little bit.

“The great thing about is that we’re really talented, we’re

focused, and as long as we stay focused, we’re going to be

okay.”

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