If Florida wanted the opportunity to win an NCAA Indoor Championship this weekend, they had to qualify as many athletes as possible for their respective events Friday.
Florida was able to qualify seven finalists from its 12 preliminary races.
On the No. 3 men’s side, seniors Najee Glass (46.31) and Arman Hall (46.48) placed first and seventh, respectively, in the 400-meter dash, with both qualifying for the final.
Hall (20.85) also placed fourth in the 200-meter dash and qualified for the final. Sophomore KeAndre Bates finished the men’s long jump finals in fourth place with a best mark of 7.73 meters while racking up five points for Florida.
Freshman Ryan Clark (60-meter dash), and juniors Andres Arroyo (800-meter dash) and Yanick Hart (60-meter hurdles) failed to qualify for their events’ finals, ending strong indoor seasons for all three.
For the No. 1 women, senior Shayla Sanders (7.17) matched her school record in the 60-meter dash with a third-place finish, and will compete in Saturday’s final.
Redshirt sophomore Skylar Ross-Ransom missed the cut for the finals in the 60-meter hurdles, coming in 10th with a time of 8.19.
Sophomore Darrielle McQueen came in 13th in the long jump finals with a best mark of 6.11 meters.
In the 400-meter dash, seniors Kyra Jefferson (52.54) and Claudia Francis (53.09) both qualified for the finals, placing sixth and seventh, respectively. Senior Robin Reynolds (53.18) placed 10th and missed the finals by .09 seconds.
“They did a phenomenal job,” UF coach Mike Holloway said in a release on the performances of Jefferson and Hall. “Kyra especially; she’s got a little bit of a stomach bug and couldn’t hold much food down today. For her to do that today was phenomenal. Gino is Gino. When he’s healthy and ready to roll, he rolls. And he rolled today. They’re our seniors, our leaders, and we expect big things out of them tomorrow.”
Jefferson was also able to qualify for the 200-meter dash with a time of 23.14, which was good enough for a spot in the finals and fourth place.
“Today is over with. We qualified who we qualified,” Holloway said. “What we have to do tomorrow is get our butts up, get rested, and we’ve got to wake up tomorrow morning and remember who we are. That’s the whole deal. If we do that, we’ll be fine.”
Day 2 of competition for the Gators at the NCAA Indoor Championships in Birmingham, Alabama, starts at 5:55 p.m. with senior Shayla Sanders in the 60-meter dash.
UF’s Najee Glass races the final leg of the 4x400-meter relay to close out the 2015 Florida Relays on April 4, 2015, at the Percy Beard Track.