The stage was set and the lights were bright as fans filled the 4,000-plus maroon seats inside Gilliam Indoor Stadium to watch the best track and field athletes in the nation compete for a national championship.
UF wrapped up Day 1 at the NCAA Indoor National Championships in College Station, Texas, on Friday night.
The women finished at the No. 2 spot with 13 points and the men at No. 3 with 11 points.
Grant Holloway led the way for the Gators with his runner-up finish in the men’s long jump final. After fouling on his first two attempts, the sophomore ended with a mark of 8.13 meters, just behind Texas A&M’s Will Williams, to grab eight points for the men.
His jump was a personal best and tied him for No. 2 on the Gators’ All-Time Top-Ten list.
Senior KeAndre Bates took sixth place in the same event with his season-best 7.90-meter mark. He added three more points for the Gators.
Bates – along with Dion Bentley – are the only two Gators in history to score in four national championship long jump competitions. In his career, Bates has now scored in all six of the NCAA indoor long jump competitions he’s competed in.
For the women, senior Lloydricia Cameron earned a fourth place finish in the shot put final. Her mark of 17.33 meters was the highest finish by a Gator since 2010 when Mariam Kevkhishvili took the national title for a third consecutive outing.
In the long jump, junior Yanis David and senior Darrielle McQueen combined for eight points and bumped Florida’s women to second place.
David’s fourth-place mark (6.42) was just seven centimeters shy of her personal record, whereas McQueen finished in sixth place with the second best mark (6.40) of her career.
Two of the Gators’ athletes competed in preliminary races on Friday night as well.
Junior Sharrika Barnett will compete in the women’s 400-meter finals on Saturday after posting the second fastest time at 51.49 on Friday. It was just 0.15 seconds under her personal best and was good for the No. 2 spot on Florida’s All-Time Indoor Top-Ten list.
Holloway’s 60-meter hurdles time of 7.58 seconds was the fastest among Friday’s hurdlers easily earned the SEC Champion a qualifying spot.
UF is set to conclude competition in College Station on Saturday afternoon with the following Gators competing in event finals:
AJ McFarland and Thomas Mardal in the men’s weight throw
Yanis David in the women’s triple jump
Sharrika Barnett in the women’s 400 meters
KeAndre Bates and Clayton Brown in the men’s triple jump (Brown won the 2018 SEC men’s triple jump title)
Grant Holloway in the men’s 60-meter hurdles
Kunle Fasasi-Holloway, Chantz Sawyers and Benjamin Lobo Vedel in the men’s 4x400 relay
Taylor Sharpe, Taylor Manson and Lauryn Ghee-Barnett in the women’s 4x400 relay
Streaming of the final day of NCAA Indoor Championships will begin at 5:00 p.m. on ESPN3.
Follow Alanis Thames on Twitter @alanisthames and contact her at email@example.com.
Senior KeAndre Bates is the reigning national champion in both the triple jump and the long jump. Bates will defend his title this week at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Oregon, starting Wednesday.