A tough long-jump competition left reigning national champion KeAndre Bates looking for a big jump to lift him out of seventh place on his last attempt of the event's final.
However, unable to improve on his mark of 7.86 meters, the senior had to settle for seventh, collecting just two points for the UF men’s track and field team.
Florida's men opened NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Oregon, on Wednesday with 13 points to put them at fifth place on the leaderboard.
Bates’ points came just after sophomore Grant Holloway slipped out of scoring position to ninth overall with a top mark of 7.83 meters. Holloway will return on Friday to defend his title in the 110-meter hurdles after running a second-place time of 13.42 in a preliminary race.
The Gators’ trio of throwers put up 11 points behind a runner-up finish from Anders Eriksson.
The junior sat in fourth place (71.47 meters) until his last throw of the day went 73.76 meters, securing the silver medal and eight points for his team.
Redshirt junior AJ McFarland and freshman Thomas Mardal both opened the competition with personal-best throws.
Mardal’s first attempt of 72.20 meters was initially good for second place, but he fell to seventh by the conclusion of the event. McFarland recorded two personal-records on the day, and his best throw of 71.29 meters was good enough for eighth overall.
The rest of the day consisted of men’s preliminaries to determine who advanced to Friday’s final races.
The 4x100 relay team of Holloway, juniors Michael Timpson Jr. and Ryan Clark and freshman Chantz Sawyers ran a season-best time of 38.49 to start. It was the best collegiate-time in the world this season and advanced Florida to the 4x100 final for the 10th time in the last 11 years.
The Gators also had four runners who didn’t qualify for finals in their respective events.
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