Despite his men’s squad losing its top spot in the USTFCCCA rankings, coach Mike Holloway said he was pleased with how the Gators men’s and women’s track and field teams have performed across the board.
Both of the men’s and women’s 4x400-meter relay teams won their events at the Rod McCravy Memorial Invitational in record-breaking fashion, setting both the NCAA and world record times for 2015.
While it may sound like Florida’s 4x4 teams are sitting atop Mount Olympus, Holloway is not all that surprised with their performances.
In fact, Holloway expects these types of feats from his program.
"We’re never surprised when we run fast in relay," Holloway said.
"I don’t think there’s anybody that looks at what we do and (goes) ‘Wow, I can’t believe Florida did that.’"
Distance runners Jimmy Clark, Taylor Tubbs and Mark Parrish all finished in the top-10 overall in their 3000-meter runs, with Clark and Tubbs setting personal records.
While they did not perform well enough to lock up spots in the NCAA Indoor Championships in March, Holloway knows that they are focused on the big picture.
"The goal for all three of them is to be at the national indoor meet this year, and I know they won’t rest until they get there,"
Senior hurdler Bridgette Owens — who was the season’s first Southeastern Conference Women’s Runner of the Week — was slated to start the 60-meter hurdles in Lexington, Kentucky, but was scratched from the event because of a cramp that occurred during Wednesday’s practice.
The absence of Owens did not worry Holloway, nor did it hinder Florida from achieving success in the McCravy Invite.
Holloway made a long-term decision in keeping the Gators’ star hurdler off the track in Lexington.
"We think she has the chance to be the NCAA champion later this year. We thought it was better to rest her and get ready for stuff later on," Holloway said.
This Friday, the Gators will head to Fayetteville, Arkansas, to compete in the Razorback Invitational.
It will be the first of three indoor meets at the Randal Tyson Track Center that Florida will participate in this season, with the last being the NCAA Indoor Championships.
Fayetteville holds much historical significance to Florida’s track and field program, as it is the city where the men’s team won the 2010 NCAA Indoors — the first of three consecutive indoor titles for the UF men.
With this weekend’s meeting taking place at the Tyson Track Center, Holloway understands this can be an opportunity to learn about the environment in preparation for the Indoor Championships.
"At the end of the day, we want to get there, get a feel for the track, get a feel for the runway," Holloway said.
"We want to make sure we get a feel of what kind of facility it is."
The Gators will get one more chance to get used to the track following the Razorback Invite, as they will participate in the Tyson Invitational on Feb 13-14.
Follow Kyle Brutman on Twitter @KBrut13
Mark Parrish (left) and Jimmy Clark run during the SEC Championships on Nov. 1 in Gainesville. The NCAA Championships begin today.