At the end of competition at the NCAA Championship East Preliminary in Jacksonville, Florida qualified 25 athletes for the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
Florida’s throwers stole the show during Day 1.
Freshman Anders Eriksson (67.69 meters) and redshirt senior Jayla Bostic (59.43 meters) both qualified for NCAAs in the hammer throw, while Marija Vucenovic (52.90 meters) qualified after winning the javelin throw.
With their qualifying throws, Eriksson became the first UF freshman to qualify for the NCAA Championship since 2002, and Bostic became the first UF women’s hammer thrower to qualify since 2006.
“Very proud of Anders, very proud of all the jumpers and Coach (Nic) Petersen),” coach Mike Holloway said in a release. “Big for Jayla Bostic to make it as a fifth-year senior. And Marija (Vucenovic) was Marija. She got on the runway and got better and better each throw."
But the Gators didn’t disappoint in the running events either.
In the 100-meter dash preliminaries, Shayla Sanders, Ryan Clark and Michael Timpson Jr. all advanced to the finals.
All the male athletes that competed in the 400-meter dash preliminaries, including Arman Hall, Najee Glass, Kunle Fasasi and Hugh Graham Jr., qualified for the final, while Robin Reynolds and Sharrika Barnett qualified for the women.
“We've talked to that group a lot. They're very fit, and haven't been performing up to their fitness level,” Holloway said of the 400-meter group. “What you saw tonight, and what you're going to see moving forward, everybody went out and executed the plan the way it's supposed to be done. They get it now.”
In the long jump, the Gators were able to qualify three athletes for the NCAA Championship.
Yanis Davis and Darrielle McQueen will be representing the women’s team, while KeAndre Bates will be making his first NCAA Championship appearance for the men.
McQueen became the first UF athlete since Shara Proctor to make back-to-back NCAA Championships in the event.
"Just a phenomenal day. Phenomenal efforts across the board,” Holloway said. “It was just a great night. It was really fun to watch the Gators tonight."
Day 2 proved to be no different.
In the 100-meter dash finals, both Sanders and Clark had Championship qualifying times. This will be Sanders third consecutive Outdoor Championship in the event and Clark became the first UF freshman to qualify for the 100-meter dash since 2008.
In the 400-meter dash finals, Hall, Glass, and Fasasi for the men, and Reynolds for the women, qualified for the NCAAs.
The Gators also had three qualifiers in the 400-meter hurdles: Claudia Francis, TJ Holmes and Eric Futch.
The highlight of Day 2, however, came when sophomore Jontavia Dykes finished sixth in the discus throw and secured herself a place at the NCAAs, becoming the first UF woman to qualify since 2006.
At the beginning Day 3, a day where Florida qualified nine athletes, Florida saw Lloydricia Cameron qualify for the NCAAs in the shot put, becoming the first Gator since 2011 to qualify for the event.
In the triple jump David and Bates, who both qualified on Day 1 for the long jump, secured their spot in the national meet.
Taylor Tubbs was also able to grab her own spot in the 5,000 meter.
To wrap up the day, both of the men’s and women’s 4x100 and 4x400 both qualified for the NCAAs.
The Gators have until June 8th to improve and get healthy before they travel to Eugene, Oregon, for the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
“Overall, I thought we had a great weekend,” Holloway said. “Just very proud of the group as a whole for coming out here, staying focused and committing to what we do.”
Contact Lauren Staff at email@example.com and follow her on Twitter @lstaff27.
Kunle Fasasi races in the 400-meter dash during the Florida Relays on April 1, 2016, at the Percy Beard Track.