Before donning their gray SEC Champions shirts, members of Florida’s track and field teams wore t-shirts with two large, blue words scribbled across the front.
It came down to the final competition.
Belief led UF’s women to their first outdoor conference title since 2009. And it’s what it took for the men to obtain their sixth outdoor title in program history.
“Everybody believed. Everybody trusted,” coach Mike Holloway said on an SEC Network broadcast after the meet. “That’s why they’re the SEC Champions.”
Four titles over the course of three days propelled the Gators to victory.
One of those came on the second day of the meet from a thrower who wasn’t even sure if she would be able to step onto the field to compete.
On May 1, sixth-year senior Avion Allgood was involved in a motorcycle accident after a car pulled out in front of her. She said in a video posted on Twitter that the accident left her with abrasions on her hands and knees, as well as an ankle injury.
But she returned to the field 11 days later to participate in the women’s javelin throw and collected 10 points for the Gators from her throw of 55.40 meters.
“(The pain) was pretty bad but adrenaline helped me out a lot,” Allgood said on Saturday in a video posted to Twitter.
She wore the same “We Believe” t-shirt as she detailed the adversity that she’d overcome to get there.
“I told God I don’t care what the outcome is,” she said. “I’m just thankful to be out here.”
“Less said.” It’s what Grant Holloway’s t-shirt said after he won the long jump, his first of two titles of the weekend.
He had come from behind to beat Kentucky’s Tim Duckworth and Texas A&M’s Will Williams late in a competition that he described as “nerve-racking.”
But he took off down the runway on his fifth and title-winning jump leaning solely on the belief that somehow he would get it done.
“I just let the sand come to me,” the sophomore said in a video posted to Twitter.
His return to competition was in a 110-meter hurdles race on the final day, which ended in a new school record for the Gators, a new SEC Championships record and the second-fastest time in collegiate history. All set by Grant, who clocked a time of 13.15 to help the men take their third SEC Outdoors title under Mike Holloway.
“We don’t really talk about points and talk about titles. We just challenge everybody to come in and do their job,” Mike Holloway said in an SEC Network broadcast. “From the moment we got on the plane in Gainesville, everybody’s been very focused and very workman-like, and everybody’s been business.”
The 10th-year head coach challenged his teams to believe in him and in themselves the second they landed in Knoxville, Tennessee, and to trust that the marks and times would eventually come.
And it ended in just the fourth sweep of SECs by a program since 1991.
“I just trusted them to believe in who we are and how we do things,” Mike Holloway said. “Don’t worry about the score. Just take your individual events, and we’ll be fine.”