Good day on track for Gators
Published: Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 11:36 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 18, 2013 at 12:26 a.m.
Eddie Lovett came into Thursday's Gator Invitational in the O'Connell Center just looking to build on his strong season-opening performance.
He did that and then some.
Lovett blitzed the field en route to a school-record time of 7.10 in winning the men's 55-meter high hurdles final to highlight Florida's only indoor home meet of the year.
His winning time broke the existing record of 7.15 set by former Gator great Earl Diamond in 1990 and followed on the heels of a 7.17 Lovett ran in the prelims that tied the existing No. 2 school mark.
Lovett, a four-time All-America, also holds the No. 2 all-time UF outdoor mark in the 110-meter high hurdles (13.49) behind former UF standout Josh Walker (13.32, 2004).
“I just pretty much went out and did what my coach told me to do,” said Lovett, a junior who is the two-time defending Southeastern Conference indoor 60-meter high hurdles champion and also holds the school record in that event (7.66), sharing the top spot with Walker (2005).
“In the prelims, my start wasn't as good. I didn't drive for four steps like I was supposed to. I was kind of out of technique and it was an average time. I just went to the finals and said, ‘OK, I'm going to get out the blocks and I'm going to stick the technique,' and it turned out really good.”
Head coach Mike Holloway was impressed.
“Eddie Lovett — what can you say? I mean, it was a phenomenal performance, a school-record, and I think it makes him the number two guy in the country right now and close to number one.”
On the women's side, sophomore Jayla Bostic led the way by taking the weight throw with a personal-record (PR) of 64-10 3/4.
Overall, UF athletes claimed 11 titles. Other winners included senior David Triassi (weight throw, 65-5 1/2), sophomore Marquis Dendy (triple jump, 50-3 1/2), freshman Antwan Wright (55-meter dash, 6.29) and sophomore Hasha Torke (3,000 meters, 8:45.75) for the men, while sophomore Taylor Burke (high jump, 5-10 3/4) , junior Caitlin Schuessler (pole vault, 11-9 3/4), sophomore Giselle Warner (triple jump, 39-1 3/4) and freshman sprinter Destinee Gause picked up wins for the women, with Gause doubling up with victories in the 55-meter dash (6.96) as well as the 200 (24.16).
“Jayla Bostic had like a three-foot PR in the weight throw, and I was actually pleased with Gissell Warner in the triple jump,” Holloway said. “Destinee Gause, she ran what's going to convert to about a 23.7 on a banked track, and that's a big PR for her. She's continuing to improve as the season progresses.
“I liked what I saw in Antwan Wright. He got a little better today and he really showed some improvement, and we trained pretty hard Monday and Tuesday. I was pleased with (junior) Max Lang (second, men's pole vault) and I was also pleased with (freshman) Grace VanDeGrift (second, women's 3,000 meters). It was her first race back since cross country, and I liked what I saw out of her. David Triassi had his first meet of the year, and I'm looking forward to (senior thrower) Jeremy Postin opening up soon.”
With UF's first big indoor meet, the Razorback Invitational in Fayetteville, Ark., Jan. 25-26 up next, Holloway is upbeat about both of his top-five squads.
“I was very pleased across the board and saw some things I liked,” Holloway said. “I think what we take away from this is that we saw some people get better. Now we have about 10 days to get ready for Arkansas, and I think if we just keep our minds about us, we're going to be okay.”
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