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<p>UF freshman Grant Holloway jumps at the Hokie Invitational men's long jump final on Jan. 21, 2017. </p>

UF freshman Grant Holloway jumps at the Hokie Invitational men's long jump final on Jan. 21, 2017. 

Florida hadn’t led the entire race.

The Gators shifted around in spots two through five before falling into the sixth spot going into the final leg of the Jimmy Carnes Invitational 4x400 Relay at the Florida Relays.

That left Florida freshman Grant Holloway with at least 50 meters of ground to make up.

And he did, slowly catching up with each meter he ran.

Holloway was able to overtake the fifth-place runner and crept into the fourth spot with about a half a lap remaining in the relay.

Then into the third spot going into the final straightaway, and into second when he passed Iowa’s Carter Lilly with about 40 meters to go.

Then, with about 20 meters left in relay, Holloway passed Tennessee’s Nathan Strother to secure the come-from-behind victory for the Gators to conclude the meet.

The relay team’s time, 3:03.08, currently ranks No. 1 in Division I and was one of many national leads set by the Gators at the Florida Relays over the weekend.

On Day 3, similar to the 4x400 team, the Gators men’s 4x100 meter relay team placed themselves at the top when the team comprised of Michael Timpson Jr., Holloway, Eric Futch and Ryan Clark ran a 38.73, which also ranks first nationally.

Another top-ranked time came from Futch, who placed first in the men’s 400-meter hurdle finals on Day 2 to take over the top spot nationally.

Futch, who was the 2016 NCAA Outdoor 400-meter hurdle champion, said he doesn’t really let rankings early on in the season get to his head and acknowledged that the past is in the past.

“It’s a new year, and there’s a lot of people that are trying to come get me from my spot,” Futch said. “I know that I got to keep training hard, keep doing what I got to do… just go out there, run, be myself and don’t worry about nobody else – worry about my lane and me only.”

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The Gators men not only had success on the track but also in the jumps.

Florida freshman Clayton Brown cleared the bar set at 7 feet, 3 inches in the men’s high jump final, which was good enough for the win on the day and the Division I-leading mark.

And Florida junior jumper KeAndre Bates jumped one, two and three times in the men’s triple jump final and landed in the sand at 53 feet, 6.25 inches, which also ranks No. 1 in Division I.

Other highlights from the men’s side during the meet included TJ Holmes capturing the No. 2-ranking nationally in the men’s 400-meter hurdles, Andres Arroyo running the third-fastest collegiate time in the country in the men’s 800-meter final, and Jack Guyton pushing through 1,500 meters to put his time at the No. 6 spot nationally.

The men weren’t the only Gators with success over the weekend.

Like its male counterparts, the women’s 4x400 relay team, comprised of Taylor Sharpe, Sharrika Barnett, Destinee Gause and Kyra Jefferson ran the top-ranked time in the country with a time of 3:27.33, which also ranks No. 2 on UF’s all-time top 10.

Barnett, who placed second at the Relays in women’s 400-meters, ran a time of 52.25. The time is fastest outdoor 400-meter time of her career and is currently the second-ranked 400-meter time in Division I.

Also with time that ranks No. 2 nationally was the women’s 4x100 relay team, which ran a 42.97, placing them second at the meet and second in the country.

And another one came from Florida thrower Marija Vucenovic placed first in the javelin throw, throwing it 178 feet, one inch, to place her mark in the No. 2 spot in the country.

Other highlights on the women’s side came from Shayla Sanders (100 meters) and Taylor Sharpe (400 meters) who ran the fourth and fifth fastest nationally-ranked times in their respective events.

After the weekend, the Florida men and women’s teams have a combined 29 marks and times that currently rank within the top-10 spots nationally.

Going into the meet, Florida coach Mike Holloway said the top times and marks don’t mean much this early on in the season, noting how often they can change early in the outdoor season.

However, he said he was proud of the way the team handled itself at the Florida Relays.

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

UF freshman Grant Holloway jumps at the Hokie Invitational men's long jump final on Jan. 21, 2017. 

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