The Florida track and field team had as good a day as one at the NCAA East Preliminary in Lexington, Kentucky, could have hoped for.
On day two, it set the bar even higher.
Seven more Gators punched their ticket to Eugene, Oregon, for the NCAA Outdoor Championships next month, bringing the team’s total to 12 after two days of competition.
None shined brighter than sophomore Ryan Clark, who qualified in two separate events, and seniors TJ Holmes (49.10 seconds) and Eric Futch (49.26 seconds), who finished first and second in the 400-meter hurdles, respectively.
Clark started the day by finishing seventh in the men’s 100-meter, earning himself a spot in Eugene. He also posted a qualifying time of 20.77 seconds in the 200-meter, meaning he will compete in tomorrow’s final round with the hopes of finding a lane in the 100- and 200-meters at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
Freshman Grant Holloway is hoping to advance in multiple events, as well. Holloway already made the cut for the men’s long jump on Thursday by finishing second behind teammate KeAndre Bates.
After finishing eighth in yesterday’s first round of the 110-meter hurdles, Holloway has a chance to qualify in today’s final round.
Joining Clark, Futch and Holmes on Friday’s group of NCAA-qualifiers were junior Jontavia Dykes (eighth in the women’s discus throw), a pair of seniors in Shayla Sanders (ninth in the women’s 100-meter) and Andres Arroyo (12th in the men’s 800-meter), and sophomore Sharrika Barnett.
Barnett’s time of 51.78 seconds was good enough for third place in the women’s 400-meter.
In addition to Holloway and Clark, seniors Skylar Ross-Ransom and Kyra Jefferson will compete tomorrow with a final chance to compete in the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
Ross-Ransom finished ninth in yesterday’s first-round women’s 100-meter hurdles with a time of 13.23 seconds.
Jefferson, the top seed the women’s 200-meter, finished last in the same race a year ago due to a hamstring injury. This time around she took third, setting herself up to make a run at the upcoming 200-meter race in Eugene, Oregon.
“We’ve just got to keep moving forward,” coach Mike Holloway said. “ We have to remember where we are, and that there is no tomorrow if we don’t take care of today. We did a great job taking care of today, so now we have to come out tomorrow and take care of tomorrow.”
The third and final chapter of the NCAA East Preliminary competition begins today at 2 p.m. and will be available on SEC Network+ and Watch ESPN from 6-10 p.m.
Contact Andrew Huang at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @AndrewJHuang.
UF coach Mike Holloway smiles as he talks with his team during the 2016 Florida Relays at Percy Beard Track.