Gator men repeat as indoor track national champs
Published: Saturday, March 12, 2011 at 9:46 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, March 12, 2011 at 10:24 p.m.
COLLEGE STATION, Texas — When the UF men's track team made history with a second straight national championship on Saturday, sprinter Jeff Demps went to a tried and true method to celebrate — the Gatorade bath.
Demps emptied his sports drink on coach Mike Holloway's bald head before the Gators were presented their trophy.
"We had a lot of fight in us, and we showed that today," Holloway said. "We never worry about anybody else. We just needed to come out and be Florida. And that's what we did."
Florida won the men's team title for the second consecutive year at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field championships, becoming just the fourth men's program in NCAA history to claim that title back-to-back.
The Gators join Arkansas, Kansas, and UTEP as the only men's programs in NCAA history to win NCAA Indoor Championships in consecutive years. Florida is the first team to accomplish the feat since Arkansas did so in 2005 and 2006.
Demps, also a running back for the Gator football team, won his second consecutive 60-meter dash title with a school-record time, and Will Claye set an NCAA meet record in winning the triple jump, helping the Gators amass 52 points.
“This year was special because we came in as big favorites, had some adversity, but we overcame it and we're national champions again,” Holloway said. “It was a total-team effort. We're a team and a family, and we look after each other.
"We had a tough day (Friday), but the thing is that champions respond to adversity. I challenged our team to be who we are and do the things that we do well. They did that and I'm very proud of them.”
Texas A&M, competing at Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium on its campus, won the last event of the meet — the 1,600-meter relay — to finish second with 40 points. BYU was third with 34, while fourth-place LSU (31) and fifth-place Florida State (30) rounded out the men's top five.
On the women's side, Oregon repeated as team champion and the Ducks' Jordan Hasay won the mile and 3,000-meter race less than two hours apart on Saturday to score 20 of the Ducks' 67 points. Texas was second with 38 and LSU finished third with 37.
Demps won the Southeastern Conference 60 two weeks ago and finished in 6.53 seconds on Saturday, 0.04 seconds faster than his winning time at last year's NCAA meet.
"Feels good," Demps said. "A lot of great sprinters have come through Florida. It's really exciting."
Christian Taylor was going for his third consecutive triple-jump championship, but Claye beat him with a leap of 56 feet, 10 inches. Taylor, who won the SEC title two weeks ago, settled for second with a final leap of 55-9.
Dumisani Hlaselo picked up five more points for Florida with a fourth-place finish in the mile.