Gators are SEC Champs

Published: Monday, March 1, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, February 29, 2004 at 10:49 p.m.

For the first time in school history, both the Florida men's and women's track and field teams won the Southeastern Conference Indoor Championship. The men's team edged out Arkansas 128-126, while the Gator women scored 105.50 points hold off Tennessee.

This is the first time since 1996 that the Arkansas men's team did not win the SEC Indoor title. The Gator women have now won an SEC title for three consecutive years (2002 indoor, 2003 outdoor, 2004 indoor).

"Our goal was to come in and be SEC champions," said Florida men's track and field coach Mike Holloway. "I'm very proud of this group. I've never been more proud of our guys in my life."

The biggest story of the morning was the men's high jump, in which five Gators scored points. Joe Squittieri won his second consecutive SEC indoor title in the event, clearing a season-best 2.21m/7-3.00. Mike Morrison finished second with a jump if 2.21m/7-3.00, placing behind Squittieri by misses. All totaled, the Gators scored 24 points in the event to take over the team lead.

Prior to the finish of the running events, Kim Barrett won her first SEC title in the shot put, winning with a school-record and SEC-record mark of 17.81m/58-5.25. Candice Scott was the runner-up with a career-best throw of 16.88m/55-4.75.

In the first running event final of the day, Josh Walker won his first SEC title, winning the 60m hurdles in 7.70. Kerron Clement finished seventh in 7.92, and Rickey Harris finished ninth in 8.03. Kyle Farmer scored three points for Florida with his sixth-place finish in the 60m dash, crossing the line in 6.79.

Arkansas took over the men's team lead by one point after placing second through fourth in the mile. Shane Stroup placed sixth in the event in 4:05.49, and Moise Joseph finished eighth in 4:08.50.

The Gators came back strong in the 400m dash, scoring 19 points in the event to re-claim the team lead. Clement finished second in 46.32, with Harris right behind him in third in a season-best 46.41 and Reggie Witherspoon in fourth, finishing in 46.51.

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