Florida redshirt sophomore thrower AJ McFarland said his magic number for the 2017 season was 70.
McFarland said reaching 70 feet in the weight throw indoors and 70 meters in the hammer throw outdoors would make him competitive at a national level.
He entered the Virginia Tech “Doc Hale” Elite Meet on Friday ranked third on UF’s all-time indoor top 10 with a personal record fewer than six inches away from the magic number of 70.
Well, there was “magic” in Blacksburg, Virginia, this weekend.
McFarland threw for 71 feet, 1.25 inches in the men’s weight throw finals to break the Florida men’s all-time indoor record – a record that has stood since 2012.
Not only did the DeLand, Florida, native beat the record, but he also the got the win.
McFarland said he started competing in track after a coach at his high school approached him and said he’d make for a good discus thrower. So the following year, he tried it out.
“January came around, and I went out and just threw the discus,” McFarland said. “I kind of fell in love with it.”
McFarland, who also competed in varsity football and lacrosse in high school at Father Lopez High School in Daytona Beach, Florida, said he hadn’t even begun thinking about competing in track at the collegiate level until the summer before his senior year.
That year, he became a state champion.
Now at Florida in his redshirt sophomore season, his record-breaking mark is currently ranked 11th in Division I, which keeps McFarland in contention for an NCAA Indoor Championships berth.
And he saved a little magic for his teammates over the weekend as well.
On Day 2 of the meet, junior thrower Lloydricia Cameron won the women’s shot put final with the third longest throw of her indoor career: 54 feet, 10.25 inches. Her longest throw of the season — 57 feet, 3.75 inches — is currently ranked sixth in Division I.
Cameron also had success in the women’s weight throw finals, placing fourth with a throw of 63 feet, 9 inches. She was followed by her teammates Amara Wiggan, who placed 9th, and Jontavia Dykes, who finished 11th.
Freshman Connor Bandel made the Gators 2-0 in the men and women’s shot put finals at the meet with an event-winning throw and personal record of 59 feet, 1.25 inches.
Up next for Florida, the team fully returns to the rubber Feb. 10 and 11 at the Tyson Invitational in Fayetteville, Arkansas, and the Iowa State Classic in Ames, Iowa.
Contact Daniel Smithson at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @DanielTSmithson.
Redshirt junior AJ McFarland placed sixth in the hammer throw at the SEC Outdoor Championship. His teammates, freshman Thomas Mardal and redshirt sophomore Anders Eriksson, finished fifth and second, respectively.