Florida entered the final day of the Southeastern Conference Outdoor Championship with the opportunity to make a move to the top of the leaderboard.
Instead, the Gators ended the competition on a disappointing note, with sixth and seventh place finishes for the men’s and women’s teams, respectively.
The Gators battled injuries all weekend, but when standout senior sprinter Shayla Sanders was unable to compete in the 100-meter dash, redshirt junior Kyra Jefferson didn’t waste her opportunity to shine. Jefferson took first place with a time of 11.28 in just her third collegiate race in the event. With her win, she became the 13th woman in program history to win at least five career SEC indoor and outdoor titles.
On the men’s side, redshirt junior Eric Futch captured a win of his own in the 400 meter hurdles with a time of 49.24, moving to the No.4 spot on UF’s all-time top-10 list.
“Very pleased with Kyra Jefferson winning the 100 (meters) today. It was a special moment. Unfortunately, she hurt herself right at the end of it,” coach Mike Holloway said in a release. “Very, very proud of Eric Futch; he’s been through some ups and downs, had a bad ankle most of the year, but he’s done a lot of quality work and was able to be the SEC champion today.”
One of the most impressive moments of the day came courtesy of UF’s women’s 4x400 relay team, which consisted of Robin Reynolds, Sharrika Barnett, Taylor Sharpe, and Claudia Francis. Despite trailing for most of the race, in the last 100 meters of the final lap Francis was able to make a pass and led her team to a SEC title.
Now the Gators have less than two weeks to prepare and get healthy before they travel to the NCAA East Preliminary in Jacksonville on May 26th.
“Overall, it’s a disappointing weekend for us. We feel we’re better than what we showed,” Holloway said. “On the men’s side, we’ve got to get a few things figured out. We’ve got to get back to Gainesville and get better.”
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Kyra Jefferson runs during the 2016 Pepsi Florida Relays on April 1, 2016, at James G. Pressly Stadium.