The Florida track and field program has a decorated past, championship present and promising future.
The Gators wrapped up their season in spectacular fashion at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, with the men’s team placing first overall to clinch a national title and the women’s team taking fifth place behind five individual titles, including an NCAA record from Kyra Jefferson.
The redshirt senior beat Dawn Sowell’s 28-year record in the 200-meter on Saturday by two-hundredths of a second, putting an exclamation point on a remarkable career at Florida.
The other four individual titles were spread amongst three different Gators.
Junior KeAndre Bates won both the long jump and triple jump, senior Eric Futch finished first in the 400-meter hurdles and do-it-all freshman Grant Holloway had a top finish with his win in the 110-meter hurdles.
Overall, the men’s team (61.5 points) and the women’s team (39 points) combined for more points than any other school that participated at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon.
At the NCAA East Preliminary in May, the Gators saw a total of 26 entries qualify for the NCAA Outdoors, as well 16 athletes earn All-SEC honors.
Holloway, one of Florida’s All-SEC honorees, was also awarded the title of SEC Outdoor Freshman Runner of the Year.
Almost two weeks before the NCAA East Preliminary, three Gators were crowned conference champions at the SEC Outdoors.
Bates won the triple jump, Jefferson won the 200-meter and junior Lloydricia Cameron claimed the shot put title.
At the SEC Indoors, which took place during the first half of the season, the Gators set a school record in the 4x100 relay. As a team, the men finished third, while the women took eighth place.
At the NCAA Indoors, Holloway (60-meter hurdles) and Bates (long jump) each won NCAA titles.
The men’s team finished as runner-up, just a point away from passing first-place Texas A&M, while the women’s team scored just 12 points in the competition, landing itself in a tie for 14th place.
Leading the way for the women was Jefferson, a top-10 collegiate women’s 200-meter runner whose resume now includes Saturday’s NCAA record as well as numerous other accomplishments in both indoor and outdoor competitions.
Sophomore Yanis David had a solid season as well, doing her best work in the triple jump. She placed third in the NCAA Outdoors, second in the SEC Outdoors, and was voted second-team All-SEC for the triple jump.
Senior Marija Vucenovic was a second-team All-SEC selection and was the NCAA Outdoors runner-up in the javelin throw.
Holloway headlined the men’s team, while senior Andres Arroyo was strong in the 800-meter all year.
TJ Holmes and Eric Futch both consistently placed in the top five in the 400-meter hurdles, and Bates finished with titles in the NCAA Indoors, SEC Outdoors and NCAA Outdoors this season.
While the Gators will lose Jefferson, Vucenovic, Arroyo and Futch, the talent they return in Bates, David and Cameron—coupled with the leadership of seven-time national champion and head coach Mike Holloway—should be more than enough to keep the team on the right track in 2018.
Contact Andrew Huang at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @AndrewJHuang.
Grant Holloway competes in the 60-meter hurdles final at the 2017 NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Oregon.