More than 5,000 miles away from his home, Stipe Zunic put on a performance in the shot put that would set him apart from any Croatian to ever live.
Zunic — a UF senior thrower and native of Zadar, Croatia — opened the final day of the Virginia Tech Elite with a Croatian National Record 20.61-meter throw in the men’s shot put.
The toss set a new Florida record in the event and throttled Zunic into second-place in the NCAA.
The mark did not surprise UF throws coach Steve Lemke, as he noted that Zunic has been grinding it out in practice since his last competition.
"We knew that was coming, but it’s always nice to see it come to fruition," Lemke said in a release.
Lemke credited Zunic’s hard work in practice as a result of his result at the Rod McCravy Memorial Invitational, one that he was not very happy about.
The Croatian’s last performance resulted in a personal record (19.97) and stood as the second-best mark in UF history.
Zunic’s performance was complemented well by that of the rest of the Gators men’s and women’s track and field’s five-athlete contingent for the meet.
Freshman thrower Lloydricia Cameron left Blacksburg, Virginia, with new personal records in both the weight throw and the shot put.
Cameron set herself a new mark in the weight throw on Friday, hurling a 17.34-meter throw, giving her a 13th-place finish in the event.
The Miami native closed out the meet on Saturday in the shot put, where she improved her PR on a 15.74-meter throw, en route to a runner-up finish. The toss moved Cameron up to fourth overall in the NCAA among freshmen.
Senior thrower Kyle Strawn set a PR in the weight toss, securing a fifth-place finish for the product from Temecula, California. His effort improved his own mark as fourth-best toss in program history.
Sophomore distance runner Becky Greene produced a 10th-place finish (10:10.24) in the 3,000-meter run in her 2015 individual debut.
Senior thrower Jayla Bostic finished in fifth-place in the weight toss with a 20.10-meter throw.
Lemke said that Bostic had a frustrating meet, as she is over a meter down from her PR, which she set at the 2014 Southeastern Conference Championships. However, he is confident that she can recover her form.
"We are working on some new things," Lemke said, "and she knows what she has to do to get better."
Follow Kyle Brutman on Twitter @KBrut13