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Tuesday, February 07, 2023
<p>Dedric Dukes races in the 400-meter dash at the Tom Jones Memorial on April 19 at the Percy Beard Track. Dukes set personal-best marks in every event he competed in during the 2014 season and help break the school's 4x400-meter relay record.</p>

Dedric Dukes races in the 400-meter dash at the Tom Jones Memorial on April 19 at the Percy Beard Track. Dukes set personal-best marks in every event he competed in during the 2014 season and help break the school's 4x400-meter relay record.

The No. 1/3 Florida men’s and women’s track and field teams will rarely hear the word “pressure” from head coach Mike Holloway.

And with the two-day Southeastern Conference Indoor Championships starting today in Lexington, Kentucky, the Gators are feeling anything but pressure.

“I kinda just have my normal anxiety for running a meet,” junior sprinter Kyra Jefferson said.

“I just always want to do my best at the time so I bring my own anxiety to the table.”

While Jefferson goes into her competitions with some apprehension, she doesn’t let it affect her performance on the track.

Last year’s SEC indoor meet was the sight of Jefferson’s record-breaking 200-meter sprint, as she set a then-UF record with a 22.87-second mark. She was also part of the Gators’ then-program record setting performance in the 4x400-meter relay.

This indoor season, the Detroit native is the top-ranked women’s runner in the 200 sprint and is seventh in the NCAA in the 400-meter run — an event that she made her collegiate debut in during the Tyson Invitational.

Jefferson’s successful weekend led to her being tabbed as the SEC Co-Women’s Runner of the Week, her second conference award of the month.

Senior sprinter Dedric Dukes experiences nervousness rather than pressure when it comes to the SECs.

Dukes knows that his role on the team calls for him to step up late in the indoor season.

Dukes has a large incentive to perform well this weekend as he sits on the bubble for qualifying for the national meet in the 200 sprint.

Senior jumper Marquis Dendy, who was named the SEC Men’s Field Athlete of the Week last week, feels “pumped-up” more than anything when going into big-time meets such as this weekend’s competition in Lexington.

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“I don’t feel pressure, I feel pumped-up…I can’t wait to go, and that gets me going,” Dendy said.

Dendy will be racing in his final SEC indoor meet. He knows that he has to make this weekend his best conference performance yet.

“Last one, best one, as we say around here,” Dendy said.

If his last meet says anything about his form, there is a high possibility that this will indeed be his best SEC indoor meet.

Dendy — who is looking to claim his first SEC triple jump title — marked the ninth-best jump in collegiate history, and placed himself in third on UF’s all-time list behind Will Claye and Christian Taylor, both of whom are decorated Olympians.

“I know this is a meet I gotta end with a bang,” Dendy said.

Follow Kyle Brutman on Twitter @KBrut13

Dedric Dukes races in the 400-meter dash at the Tom Jones Memorial on April 19 at the Percy Beard Track. Dukes set personal-best marks in every event he competed in during the 2014 season and help break the school's 4x400-meter relay record.

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