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Thursday, October 28, 2021
<p>Junior mid-distance runner Andres Arroyo competes in the 800 meters during the Florida Relays on April 1, 2016, at Percy Beard Track. </p>

Junior mid-distance runner Andres Arroyo competes in the 800 meters during the Florida Relays on April 1, 2016, at Percy Beard Track. 

The Florida track and field team notched several victories at the Razorback Invitational over the weekend.

Led by junior KeAndre Bates with two wins — one each in the men’s long jump and triple jump finals — the Gators ended the meet with a total of 72 points by the men and 46 by the women to secure third- and sixth-place finishes, respectively.

Bates secured his first victory of the weekend on Day 1 by posting a jump of 7.84 meters in the men's long jump, which improved his third-ranked Division I mark by two centimeters.

He also tied his personal record in the triple jump by jumping 16.42 meters on his fourth attempt on Day 2, but on his fifth attempt, Bates jumped 16.66 meters, a new personal record, and secured a second victory. Bates is now tied with Arkansas’ Clive Pullen for the Division I lead.

His teammates carried on the momentum.

In the women’s triple jump, sophomore Yanis David’s third-ranked Division I mark of 13.51 meters helped gain another win for Florida and locked down her second triple jump win of the season.

Florida sophomore sprinter Sharrika Barnett followed up her win in the women’s 400 meters at the Hokie Invitational on Jan. 20 with the same result in the women’s 400-meter invitational on Day 2 in Fayetteville.

Barnett’s time of 52.07 — the fastest 400-meter time of her indoor and outdoor track career — is currently the No. 3-ranked time in Division I and places fifth in UF’s all-time indoor top 10.

The Gators’ fifth victory came in the men’s 800-meter invitational. Senior Andres Arroyo pulled away from the pack around the 400-meter mark of the race. After that, it was the 2016 Puerto Rican Olympic semifinalist’s race to win.

Arroyo finished with a time of 1:47.25, good for the No. 4 time in Division I and only 1.05 seconds off his own school record.

Despite all the No. 1 finishes, Florida’s success could also be found further down the podium.

Sophomore sprinter Kunle Fasasi had a runner-up finish in the men’s 400-meter invitational on Day 2. Fasasi’s time, 46.02, ranks No. 2 in Division I. He also ran the third-fastest split of any of the 28 4x400 relay runners.

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In distance running, senior Taylor Tubbs and redshirt freshman Jack Guyton placed third and seventh, respectively, in the women’s and men’s 3,000-meter invitational. Tubbs’ time ranks in the top 15 in Division I.

After seeing the success of his team over the weekend, Florida coach Mike Holloway said it has taken his message of improving every day seriously.

“When you stop and think about where we were two weeks ago, and the thoughts some people had — even some people in our camp — that we weren’t very good, I guarantee you those thoughts have changed,” Holloway said in a release. “As a coaching staff, we just asked them to trust us.”

Holloway said the team still has a lot of work to do before its meet at Vanderbilt on Feb. 24-25 for the SEC Indoor Championships. Holloway said his team is still not executing well in the short sprints and hurdles, something similar to what he said after the Hokie Invitational.

“The workouts are going well. It just isn’t showing up in the meets,” he said. “That’s on me. I coach those areas, so I have to get that figured out. Other than that, things are rolling along really well.”

Up next for the Gators, the team’s throwers will travel to Blacksburg, Virginia, for the Virginia Tech “Doc Hale” Elite Meet on Feb. 4.

Contact Daniel Smithson at dsmithson@alligator.org and follow him on Twitter @DanielTSmithson.

Junior mid-distance runner Andres Arroyo competes in the 800 meters during the Florida Relays on April 1, 2016, at Percy Beard Track. 

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