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Sunday, June 23, 2024

The Florida men’s track and field team won the indoor national championship last season, but that doesn’t concern Gators coach Mike Holloway anymore.

“We’re not really trying to defend the 2010 title. We’re trying to win the 2011 title,” Holloway said. “If we worry about what happened in 2010, then we’ll get lost in that shuffle. Our focus is not on what we did last year.”

Three events into the season, Florida is well on its way, with five athletes already qualified for the national meet.

Sprinter Jeff Demps and jumper Christian Taylor were the latest to clinch spots at the NCAA meet in March, posting their qualifying marks at the Virginia Tech Elite Meet.

“This was a solid weekend for the Gators,” Holloway said. “I am very pleased with our progress. We continue to take steps in the right direction, and that is something that is very important to me.”

Demps, who was returning to action from a foot injury suffered during the football season, nearly recorded a personal-best time in the 60-meter dash, winning the event in 6.57 seconds.

Demps won the indoor national championship in the 60-meter dash last season.

“Nothing Jeff does surprises us anymore,” Holloway said.

Taylor, who won the triple jump with a 16.61m/54-6 mark, has been equally impressive, dominating his events for quite some time.

The last triple jump event Taylor lost came before the 2009 Tyson Invitational.

“If you look at where Christian was this time last year, he is way ahead of the curve this year,” Holloway said. “Christian has always been a very talented guy, but he has much better focus and drive this year.”

In addition to Demps and Taylor, sprinters Tony McQuay (400-meter dash) and Leonardo Seymore (200-meter dash) won. Lanie Whitaker, who won the 400-meter dash last year at the Elite Meet, once again took first place in the event for the UF women’s team.

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Demps and Taylor join heptathlete Gray Horn and jumpers Omar Craddock and Will Claye as UF’s other automatic qualifiers so far this season.


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