Heading into the final indoor meet before the Southeastern Conference Indoor Championships, the No. 2 Florida men’s and women’s track and field teams are right where coach Mike Holloway wants them to be.
As of now, the Gators are in position to hold 19 individual and four quartet spots in the NCAA Indoor Championships, including three sprinters in the women’s 200-meter run. Florida holds the top spots in four events, including the 400-meter run held by junior Najee Glass, who set a world-best in the event at the Razorback Invitational.
Jumpers Marquis Dendy and KeAndre Bates and sprinter Robin Reynolds are all on the brink of qualifying for two separate events.
"We’ve done a great job of progressing week by week," Holloway said. "I’m very pleased of where the team is from that point."
While success has not been hard to find for the Gators this season, Holloway pointed out that there is plenty of room for improvement for his squad, especially when it comes to the short-sprint and hurdle events.
In the 60-meter dash, the men’s side is lead by senior sprinter Hugh Graham Jr., who is tied for 14th in the NCAA in the event. While he sits in a qualifying position now, he is only two-hundredths of a second from becoming a runner who is on the outside looking in.
On the women’s side, junior Shayla Sanders ranks 10th in the country in the 60 dash, which, in an event as fast as it, is too close for comfort.
In the 60-meter hurdles, senior Bridgette Owens is tied for first in the country for the women, but Florida’s next best time comes from sophomore hurdler Skylar Ross-Ransom, who is tied for 39th in the NCAA.
For the men, sophomore Yanick Hart is the only hurdler ranked in the top-50, but still is not set to qualify as he is sitting at 17th in the country.
"The goal is to have somebody in every sprint and hurdle event at the national meet," Holloway said.
To achieve this goal, Holloway says that he needs to be on the short-sprinters’ tails in the weeks leading up to the NCAAs.
The 13th-year head coach is making it a priority to improve Sanders’ time and to work with Hart and junior sprinter Antwan Wright on qualifying for the NCAA meet.
The Gator men have yet to run anyone in the 200-meter run this season, but that will change this weekend, as Bowerman Trophy Preseason Watch List nominee Dedric Dukes and Wright will compete in the event at the Tyson Invitational.
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Yanick Hart competes in the 2014 Tom Jones Memorial Invitational in Gainesville.