UF men win NCAA Indoor Track and Field title

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The Florida Gators men's track and field team poses with the NCAA Championship trophy after the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships on Saturday at Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium in College Station, Texas. [Tim Casey/UAA Communications]

Special to The Sun

COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Behind a 29-point performance Saturday evening, Florida’s men captured their fourth NCAA Indoor Championships team title, holding off a late push from Southern California.

The Gators’ women also nabbed a trophy for the first time since 2015, finishing fourth in the team standings.

Florida last won the indoor national title in 2012, when it completed a three-peat. Florida boasts eight NCAA team titles since 2010 — a total that leads Division I by three during that span.

“It’s been a long year,” Florida coach Mike Holloway said. “We battled through some injuries and some other things, but we just kept fighting.

“A couple weeks ago we were in this same building (third place at SEC Indoors) and we weren’t at our best, we weren’t as sharp as we needed to be. A lot of people around the country wrote us off. I believe in them and they believe in me.”

Florida joins Arkansas, UTEP and Oregon as the fourth men’s program in Division I history to capture at least four NCAA Indoor titles, but only the Gators have won at least four since 2010.

Holloway’s eight national titles rank fourth among Division I men’s coaches since 1970. The title also marks Florida’s 20th top-two finish in 31 NCAA Championships since Holloway became its men’s head coach in 2003 — no other program has more than nine such finishes during that span.

“This is who we are,” Holloway said. “We show up at these competitions and do our best.”

Sophomore Grant Holloway repeated as the 60-meter hurdles champion. The collegiate record holder crossed in 7.47 seconds, winning in a runaway. His title also makes Florida the only program in Division I history with three NCAA 60 hurdles crowns, with Gator Great Eddie Lovett (2013) holding the other.

Coupled with his runner-up finish in the long jump Friday night, Holloway is the first man in Division I history to post top-two finishes in both the high hurdles and long jump at NCAA Indoors.

Holloway came back and teamed with Kunle Fasasi, Chantz Sawyers and Benjamin Lobo Vedel to earn a bronze medal in the 4×400 relay. The Gators crossed in 3:01.43, decimating the school record in a race that featured the three fastest 4×400 relay times ever recorded.

The Gators scored 13 points in the triple jump, courtesy of runner-up KeAndre Bates and fourth-place finisher Clayton Brown. Bates, a senior, posted a season-best mark (16.67 meters / 54 feet, 8.25 inches) for his second consecutive silver medal at NCAA Indoors.

Brown, a sophomore from Jamaica, also logged a season best (16.34 meters / 53 feet, 7.5 inches), doing so on his third attempt as he sat in 14th place and on the outside of the final.

The women’s team, who finished behind Arkansas, Georgia and Kentucky, secured their team trophy with a third-place finish in the 4×400 relay—which featured a 50.11-second anchor split from junior Sharrika Barnett. The quartet of Brandee’ Johnson, Destiny Ward, Lauryn Ghee, and Barnett combined for a time of 3:29.41, breaking the program record set in 2015.

In the women’s triple jump, junior Yanis David garnered runner-up honors for a second consecutive year, once again finishing behind American and collegiate record holder Keturah Orji.

Individually, Barnett barely missed the 400 meters medal stand, taking fourth in a race that saw the gold and silver medalists break the collegiate record.

UF Notes: Florida is one of two programs to win at least one team national title each of the last 10 seasons, and this is Florida’s 19th national title in that span. … This is the 40th national title for the Gator program. … 14 different Gator sports have won national titles. … Florida is the only Southeastern Conference program to win national team titles in 10 or more sports.

6 COMMENTS

  1. Should be a heavy favorite to win another outdoor championship this spring, it’s what separates Florida from the rest of the SEC and most other athletic programs, Florida consistently wins or is in strong contention for almost every other sport outside of football and basketball. Where is Alabama and FSU outside of football, nowhere to be found!

    • all the love in the world for the gators, but let’s try to be a little bit more respectful of the ops. bama has been a power in softball, gymnastics, fsu has been whooping florida in several of the women’s sports (particularly the red-headed stepchild that is women’s basketball), and let’s not forget what both teams to the gators in gainesville at the o’dome this season. please gators, let’s walk the fine line between pride and hubris.

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