Special to Gatorsports.com
EUGENE, Ore. — Florida’s men repeated as NCAA Outdoor Track and Field champions Friday at Hayward Field to capture the trophy for the fourth time in six years.
The Gators scored 61.5 points to take the team title. Texas A&M finished in second with 59.5 points and Virginia came in third with 36. Florida has not finished lower than third place since 2009.
This is the Gators’ seventh indoor or outdoor national title in school history. Florida has won all seven of its NCAA titles since 2010, leading all Division I programs by two titles during that span. Florida also won the NCAA Outdoor Championships in 2012, 2013, and 2016, in addition to its three straight victories at the NCAA Indoor Championships from 2010 through 2012.
“I have a phenomenal staff and we recruit like crazy,” UF coach Mike Holloway said. “I have great mentors around me.
“We believe in each other and trust each other. We talk a lot about that. That was our mission all week. Trust in what we do, be Florida Gators and give a lot of heart and soul.”
Leading the way for the Gators were four individual titles, paced by junior KeAndre Bates, who won both the long jump (on Wednesday) and triple jump (Friday) NCAA titles. He is just the 11th athlete to sweep both horizontal jumps.
Freshman Grant Holloway won the 110-meter hurdles Friday. Holloway also had a second-place finish in the long jump Wednesday and was part of Florida’s fourth-place 4-by-400-meter relay team (Nick Uruburu, Eric Futch, TJ Holmes and Holloway) Friday. He became the first freshman in Division I history to win both the indoor 60-meter hurdles and outdoor 110-meter hurdles national titles. Holloway is also the third freshman to win the 110 hurdles title since 1976, the first year it ceased being the 120-yard hurdles.
Futch, a redshirt senior, defended his 400-meter hurdles title, becoming just the eighth athlete to win back-to-back titles in the event.
Also producing points for the Gators were senior Andres Arroyo (fifth place in 800-meter run), Holmes, a senior, (sixth in the 400-meter hurdles) and sophomore Johnny Victory (tied for seventh in the high jump).
“It’s drive and determination,” Holloway said. “We recruit the best kids in the world that are good students and good people. We get them on campus and coach them. Our goal was to come in here and do what we do.
“Anyone who had a Gator uniform on this weekend was a highlight. We didn’t have one guy that laid down and didn’t do their best. There wasn’t one person or one performance. We’re a team, we’re a family, and we got this done as a team and as a family.”
The women will end championship action Saturday.
Title notes: Florida is one of four athletics programs to win at least one national team title each of the last nine seasons
This is the Gators’ 17th national title in that span, and their 38th overall national title,
Florida has won two NCAA team titles in the last 17 days, as the Gators took the women’s tennis title May 23. This is the 10th season Florida has won multiple team titles.