Grant Holloway stared at the NCAA trophy in his hands as his teammates jumped into each other’s arms.
Red, white and blue confetti cascaded all around them.
This feeling of triumph was special for the Gators men’s track and field team.
It was a feeling it had just missed out on a year ago when it took runner up to Texas A&M by half a point.
Coach Mike Holloway and his athletes had trained the entire season to experience that moment.
All of the long hours spent jumping into sand pits and leaping over 45-inch hurdles had culminated into this moment of pure emotion after the final NCAA race.
The stakes were high on Saturday in College Station, Texas, as the 2018 NCAA Indoor Championships were drawing to an end.
UF’s top athletes did what they’d done all season. They came up with clutch performances when it mattered most, including a first-place finish in the 60-meter hurdles and runner-up finish in the triple jump to clinch an indoor national title for the first time since 2012.
Holloway, in his 16th season as Florida’s head coach, has instilled a special sense of belief in his athletes all year.
They believe in their talents. They trust that execution will breed success. They don’t try to control the intangibles.
“I love my guys,” Holloway said in a release. “I’m glad they’re on my team.”
That philosophy has seemed to work for the 2018 NCAA indoor national champions.
It’s what has garnered the program eight combined indoor and outdoor national titles since 2010 — a total that leads all of Division I during that span.
The Gators have also joined Arkansas, UTEP and Oregon as the fourth Division I men’s program to capture at least four NCAA indoor titles.
That outlook is why Holloway has become the fourth men’s track coach in Division I history with at least four indoor and four outdoor national titles.
It’s why 60-meter hurdles record holder Grant Holloway became the fifth man in history to successfully defend his NCAA title.
That’s what fueled KeAndre Bates and Clayton Brown to earn 13 big points in the men’s triple jump to put their team in position to win the national title.
Bates came back from a disappointing SEC Championship performance to post a season-best mark in the triple jump at nationals.
“He’s a Gator great. That’s all there is to it,” Holloway said. “He will go down as one of the best jumpers in the history of our school.”
Follow Alanis Thames on Twitter @alanisthames and contact her at email@example.com.
The UF men's and women's track and field teams both took first and fourth, respectively, at the NCAA Indoor Championships in Fayetteville, Arkansas.