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Saturday, October 23, 2021
<p>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.</p>

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.

Time has expired for the Florida track and field season.

A long 2018 journey ended at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Oregon.

There, the UF men had hopes of once again hoisting the first-place trophy high over their heads amid a cascade of blue and white confetti, and the women dreamed of raising their fists in triumph atop the podium for the first time in four years.

Nobody hung their head when the NCAA Outdoor Championships didn’t go as expected, though.

The men’s runner-up finish and the women’s fifth-place finish to culminate a 2018 campaign of school records and nation-leading times and marks was no small feat.

The teams did, after all, experience that thrill of accomplishment at seemingly every turn of their indoor and outdoor seasons. They collected hardware at the SEC Indoor Championships (men - third place), NCAA Indoor Championships (men - first place, women - fourth place), SEC Outdoor Championships (men and women - first place) and at NCAA Outdoors.

But with no lines left to cross, coach Mike Holloway and his teams will build on the historic seasons from many underclassmen, and they’ll say goodbye to the seniors whose time competing in a Gators uniform has come and gone.

KeAndre Bates needed no storybook finale at NCAA Outdoors to solidify his legacy as one of the most accomplished horizontal jumpers in Florida history.

He became the No. 4 triple and long jumper in school history as a junior and remained among the top 25 in both categories through his senior campaign.

The El Paso, Texas, native entered the indoor season as a candidate for the Bowerman Award, the highest individual honor in collegiate track and field. That was after he swept both horizontal jumps titles at NCAA Outdoors last year and was named the 2017 USTFCCCA National Indoor Field Athlete of the Year.

He had indoor season-best marks of 7.90 meters (long jump) and 16.67 meters (triple jump).

Bates closes his collegiate career as a three-time NCAA champion (indoor and outdoor long jump; outdoor triple jump) and a three-time SEC champion (indoor and outdoor triple jump; indoor long jump).

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More collegiate careers expired as Lloydricia Cameron, Avione Allgood and Darrielle McQueen unlaced their cleats at Hayward Field.

Cameron, who finished eighth in the shot put and 17th in the discus at NCAAs, won her second-consecutive conference shot put title this year at SEC Indoors. 

She posted the best shot put mark of her career (17.66 meters) at the Tom Jones Memorial on April 13. Her runner-up finish in the discus at SECs helped the Gators’ women to their first SEC Outdoors title since 2009.

 

Allgood competed in the javelin throw for the first time in nearly two years and for the first time as a Gator on March 23 at the FSU Relays. She transferred from Oklahoma after the 2016 season and was medically redshirted during 2017. She took the then-NCAA lead with a season-best mark of 55.73 meters at theNational Relay Championships on April 28 and finished her season with an SEC Title and the No. 5 spot in school history.

McQueen’s success as a horizontal jumper throughout her collegiate career shows on the Gators’ All-Time Top Ten lists, where she sits at No. 2 (long jump) and No. 4 (triple jump) on the indoor list while also coming in at No. 4 (long jump) and No. 5 (triple jump) all-time for outdoors.

Both of those long jump marks came this season at McQueen’s conference meets.

But just as important to her success in the sand pit is the mark she leaves off the field.

“I think that others can look at my legacy and say ‘she’s a well-rounded person,’” McQueen said.

Perhaps one of the most historic seasons by a UF track and field athlete came from sophomore Grant Holloway.

He entered the indoor season on the Bowerman Watch List, and on June 14, he was named one of 10 semifinalists for the award for a second-consecutive year.
Holloway made his first 2018 entry in the record books early in the indoor season on February 9 at the Tiger Paw Invitational, where he clocked a collegiate-record time of 7.42 in the 60-meter hurdles.

He followed that performance the next day with a 45.12 split to help the Gators’ 4x400 relay team clock the second-fastest time in collegiate history at that time and the fourth-fastest time ever.

“Everything I’m doing now is gearing me up for outdoors,” Holloway said in a release after that meet.

And it did.

The SEC Indoor Runner of the Year took the national lead in his outdoor debut at the Pepsi Florida Relays with a time of 13.45 in the 110-meter hurdles. Holloway improved on that time at the Tom Jones Memorial on April 13 where he tied the second-fastest time in collegiate history and broke the school record at 13.16 meters.

He lowered that time by one-hundredth of a second at SEC Outdoors where he took the 110-meter hurdles title in addition to the long jump title.

The 2018 season was also one of broken records for UF’s men’s throwers.
Redshirt junior AJ McFarland led the way by breaking his own indoor school record in the weight throw for three-consecutive outings, ending with a season-best 22.20 meters at the Tiger Paw Invitational on Feb. 10. That same meet saw freshman Thomas Mardal climb to the second spot in school history at 21.71 meters.

Junior Anders Eriksson broke a couple school records of his own in the hammer throw during the outdoor season.

One came at the Pepsi Florida Relays on March 30 and another at the SEC Championships at 74.19 meters.

Among the season standouts for the women were junior jumper Yanis David and junior quarter-miler Sharrika Barnett.

For David, both of her career bests came during her 2018 campaign. She posted a personal-best mark (6.67 meters) in the long jump at SEC Outdoors, and her personal-best mark in the triple jump of 14.13 meters at the National Relay

Championships was good for the school record.

Much of the Gators’ postseason success was aided by David’s top five finishes in every championship meet she competed in this year.

Barnett accounted for another school record on the season with her time of 50.69 at the outdoor conference meet, and she climbed to the No. 2 indoor spot in school history at NCAA Indoors.

Time has run out on this season full of accolades.

But the 2018 Indoor Coach of the Year and SEC Outdoor Men’s and Women’s Coach of the Year Mike Holloway will see many of those same faces, in addition to other key contributors like sophomore Clayton Brown, junior Kunle Fasasi and freshmen Amanda Froeynes and Taylor Manson.

And after signing a 10-year contract extension with the Gators in May, Holloway will look to pile on even more historic seasons.

“Anybody who knows me knows that I love this place,” Holloway said in a release. “I’m just so thankful to everybody around me that’s worked so hard along with me to get us where we are.”

You can follow Alanis Thames on Twitter @alanisthames or contact her at athames@alligator.org.

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.

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