Fourteen milliseconds was the difference. When senior Ryan Clark carried the baton across the line, it was not good enough to alter the nation’s leaderboard, but it was good enough to win on Saturday.
The men’s 4x100-meter relay race was the most anticipated event of the LSU Alumni Gold meet. Top-ranked LSU faced No. 3 Florida for the first time this outdoor season.
The Gators’ team of juniors Grant Holloway and Raymond Ekevwo, senior Ryan Clark and sophomore Hakim Sani Brown took 38.55 seconds to complete its lap around the track at Bernie Moore Track Stadium. It took LSU 38.82.
While the Gators came into Baton Rouge, Louisiana, 28 milliseconds behind LSU’s 38.41, and national No. 1 time, Florida had reason to be optimistic.
LSU’s time was set at the Texas Relays nearly a month ago on March 30. During that race, the Tigers ran against national No. 2-ranked Houston, and they ran nearly a perfect race. UF’s last official time came at the Florida Relays on the same weekend.
The Gators mishandled the baton multiple times before it finally reached Clark. With almost a month to practice, Florida looked significantly better on Saturday. It shaved off 14 milliseconds, which is noticeably better in such a quick race.
Holloway’s day was not finished after the relay. Immediately after the victory he headed to the long jump and won the event. He jumped 8 meters on his second attempt. That mark is No. 5 in the country, which will qualify him for NCAAs. He passed on taking more jumps and still won the event.
On the women’s side, freshman Doneisha Anderson ran the 400-meter dash in 52.77 seconds. That was good enough to place her at No. 16 nationally. The runner from the Bahamas finished fourth in the meet in her outdoor opener.
Senior Yanis David finished second in the long jump at 6.40 meters. Like Holloway, she passed on her final three attempts, since she is already ranked No. 4 nationally at 6.48 meters.
Her teammate Kala Penn finished sixth. She ranks one spot behind David nationally at 6.43 meters.
The women’s team overall currently ranks No. 7 nationally. For it to place in the top five or better once NCAAs arrive, it will have to be in large part because of the jumpers.
David and Penn make the horizontal jumps one of UF’s deepest groups.
Follow Graham Marsh on Twitter @GrahamMarshUF and contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The UF men's 4x100-meter relay team made up of juniors Grant Holloway (pictured) and Raymond Ekevwo, senior Ryan Clark and sophomore Hakim Sani Brown clocked a time of 38.55 seconds Saturday.