Nearly two weeks after producing a trio of SEC outdoor champions in junior KeAndre Bates (men’s triple jump), junior Lloydricia Cameron (women’s shot put) and senior Kyra Jefferson (women’s 200-meter), Florida will see a total of 52 athletes compete in the NCAA East Preliminary.
The three-day competition beginning today in Lexington, Kentucky, will determine which athletes move on to the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Oregon, starting on June 7.
Last year, the Gators qualified 21 individual athletes and made the cut in both the men’s and women’s 4x100 and 4x400 relays.
Bates will start as the top seed in both the triple jump and long jump, while Cameron is seeded seventh in the shot put and ninth in the discus throw.
In addition to being the top seed in the women’s 200-meter, Jefferson will also compete in the women’s 4x100 and 4x400 relays. The Gators are ranked second and first, respectively, in the two relays.
The men’s team, a second seed in the 4x100 relay and a four seed in the 4x400, is headlined by seniors Eric Futch and TJ Holmes, as well as freshman Grant Holloway.
Futch and Holmes are also competing in the 400-meter hurdles. A year ago, the duo made the NCAA cut as Futch took first place while Holmes finished third.
Holloway is tied for the second seed in the 110-meter hurdles, and trails only top-ranked teammate Bates in the preliminary long jump rankings.
Other Gators to enter the three-day preliminary as a top-three seed include sophomore Yanis David (second, women’s triple jump), senior Marija Vucenovic (third, women’s javelin throw) and senior Andres Arroyo (third, men’s 800-meter).
In 2016, Vucenovic took first place in the javelin throw en route to a spot in last season’s NCAA Outdoor Championships.
Today’s competition will begin at 4 p.m., while Friday and Saturday’s action both begin at 2 p.m.
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UF hurdler Eric Futch races during the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships on June 10, 2016, in Eugene, Oregon.