Roundup: Florida off to fast start at NCAA Indoors

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Special to Gatorsports.com

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Florida’s men stood out in every facet, while the Gators’ women collected a bronze medal and advanced their lone runner through a preliminary Friday evening at NCAA Indoor Championships.

All-around sensation Grant Holloway’s bid to become the first man in history to win three individual national titles was not meant to be, nevertheless, the junior had an incredible evening which featured a championship record.

Holloway posted his top long jump of 7.95 meters (26 feet, 1 inch) on his third attempt, and his mark held up for third place, despite passing his final three attempts. The Chesapeake, Va., native finished two centimeters behind the national champion. Roughly 10 minutes after his best long jump of the night, Holloway broke the NCAA Indoors record in the 60-meter hurdles, clocking 7.44 seconds and giving him all of the four fastest times in collegiate history. About 50 minutes later, Holloway recorded the fastest qualifying time and tied the sixth-fastest time in the world in the 60 meters, crossing in 6.53 seconds.

Also in the men’s 60 prelim, sophomore Hakim Sani Brown and senior Ryan Clark set personal records to qualify for Saturday’s final. Sani Brown’s time of 6.54 ranks third in school history, tied the Japanese record, and was the second-fastest prelim time. Clark qualified for his first NCAA final with a time of 6.60 seconds, which broke a tie for seventh on the school’s All-Time Top 10 list.

The Gators are just the second team since 1994 (TCU in 2001) with three NCAA Indoors 60 finalists.

Senior Yanis David placed third in the long jump, her highest finish in the event at any NCAA Championship meet. Her top mark of 6.43 meters (21 feet, 1.25 inches) was three centimeters behind the national champion.

Quarter-milers Sharrika Barnett and Benjamin Lobo Vedel both advanced to their respective finals. With Lobo Vedel’s qualification, it marks the 15th time in the last 16 years the Gators qualified a men’s 400 meters finalist. Barnett made the final for a second consecutive year, as she placed fourth in 2018.

Team champions will be crowned Saturday, and Florida’s men are positioned for a run at a second consecutive national title. UF’s women remain in contention for a second straight top-four finish as well.

Women’s golf: Florida hosts the 47th edition of the Florida Gator Invitational this weekend at the Mark Bostick Golf Course.

The Gators will look to win their home tournament for the fourth straight season. Last year, Florida won the event by 12 strokes in finishing with a tournament record 840 (E), breaking the record they set the season before of 847. They are the first team to finish even par in the women’s tournament in its 46-year history.

Florida is coming off their fifth top five finish of the 2018-19 season at the AllState Sugar Bowl in New Orleans two weeks ago. Sophomore Addie Baggarly took home a share of the individual title at the Sugar Bowl and earned the top spot in the lineup for this weekend.

The tournament is being played at the Par 70, 6,701 yards at Mark Bostick Golf Course. It has served as the Gators home course since the 1960s and has been the home to the Gator Invitational since 1978. The 54-hole stroke play format has teams play three rounds over two days. The first two rounds will be played Saturday with an 8:15 a.m. shotgun and continuous play into the second round at approximately 1 p.m. Sunday’s final round will begin with a shotgun at 9 a.m.

Men’s tennis: At Ring Tennis Complex, Florida earned its second conference win of the season with a 6-1 win over Ole Miss (8-7, 0-3 SEC).

Getting doubles win for the No. 9 Gators were Oliver Crawford-Andy Andrade and Johannes Ingildsen-Alfredo Perez.

Florida (8-2, 2-0) took control in singles, winning four of the first sets. Crawford, Sam Riffice, Lukas Greif and Duarte Vale won their singles matches.

Vale put the Gators up 2-0 after rolling past Jan Soren Hain 6-2, 6-0. Crawford found his rhythm again with a 2-set decision over #73 Tim Sandkaulen, ending a four-match losing streak.

Up next, Florida will welcome No. 10 Mississippi State on Sunday at 1 p.m.

Women’s tennis: At Fayetteville, Ark., Florida defeated Arkansas 4-3, with wins in doubles by Victoria Emma-McCartney Kessler and Anastasia Kharitonov-Marlee Zein. The Gators (5-5, 2-1 SEC) also received singles wins from Emma, Zein and Tsveta Dimitrova to down the Razorbacks (7-7, 0-3).