The University of Florida’s men’s and women’s track and field teams seem ready.
Ready to avenge back-to-back losses to Oregon in the men’s NCAA Outdoor Championships. Ready to build on a young women’s roster that featured 11 true freshmen last season.
And, finally, ready to be NCAA champions again — something the men’s team hasn’t accomplished since 2013 and the women’s team since 1992.
This season, Florida welcomes one of its most talented recruiting classes in recent history. Fifteen athletes signed with Florida, bringing a combined 42 individual and 13 team state championships to the collegiate level.
"We signed several young people who we believe will make an immediate impact on our program," coach Mike Holloway said in a release. "Looking at the class, I feel as though we covered all areas — sprints, hurdles, throws, jumps and distances."
The men’s and women’s teams each return 10 USTFCCCA All-Americans, with a combined 101 honors between them.
Something that the roster lacks for the Gators, however, is experience. Fifty-five out of the 93 athletes on both the men’s and women’s rosters are underclassmen.
It will also be a tough task for the men’s team to fill the void left by former standout Marquis Dendy, who won seven NCAA Championships during his four years as a Gator. Dendy was awarded The Bowerman, an award for the top track and field athlete in the country, and was vital to Florida’s success last year.
But the Gators does not lack talent, and with Dendy gone, it will give other athletes on the team a chance to contribute more.
Senior Antwan Wright, a two-time NCAA Outdoor Champion, along with senior Najee Glass and sophomore Arman Hall, the last two USTFCCCA South Region Indoor Athletes of the Year, all have the ability to help Florida compete for a National Championship this year.
Florida is ready. Florida is talented. And Florida can present a challenge to every team it faces this season, starting Jan. 22 in Lexington, Kentucky, at the Rod McCravy Invitational.
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UF coach Mike Holloway talks with Andres Arroyo during the Florida Relays on April 4, 2015, at the Percy Beard Track.