Four Gators make World Championship teams

Eric Futch
Eric Futch, center, celebrates as he crosses the finish line to win the men's 400-meter hurdles at the U.S. Track and Field Championships on Sunday in Sacramento, Calif. [AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli]

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Three Gators punched their IAAF World Championships tickets at the final day of the USATF Outdoor Championships, Novlene Williams-Mills qualified for her sixth career World Championships team at the Puma Jamaican Senior Championships and incoming freshman Hakim Sani Brown nabbed his second worlds berth in as many days in Osaka, Japan.
Two of the newly-qualified Gators came from the men’s 400 hurdles, as Eric Futch won the American title and TJ Holmes took bronze in a thrilling finish.
Futch, the two-time reigning NCAA champion, ran away with the victory, lowering his personal record by 0.14 seconds and joining three-time champion Kerron Clement (2005, 2006, 2016) as the only other Gator in history to win the American crown.
Holmes fought through the finish line to earn his spot on Team USA, crossing sixth hundredths ahead of fourth-place finisher Byron Robinson. Holmes’ time of 48.44 seconds shaved a whopping 0.66 seconds off his personal best, making him the No. 4-ranked 400 hurdler in school history.
Clement finished seventh, but his spot for World Championships was already secure by virtue of his being the reigning IAAF Diamond League champion.
The third Gator to join Team USA on Sunday was 2015 The Bowerman winner Marquis Dendy. Dendy took second in the long jump with a top mark of 8.39 meters (27 feet, 6.5 inches), wind-aided. The 2016 IAAF World Indoor Champion also jumped a wind-legal 8.18 meters (26 feet, 10 inches) in his six-jump sequence to earn the world qualifying standard.
This marks the third consecutive time Dendy will represent Team USA in the long jump at World Championships.
Williams-Mills, a four-time Olympic 4×400 relay medalist, finished third to clinch her World Championships spot in the 400 meters. Williams-Mills, a Gators sprinter from 2003-04, crossed in 50.14 seconds, her fastest time since 2014.
Brown won his second JAAF National Track and Field Championships title, claiming the 200 meters crown and earning a second World Championships berth.
The 18-year-old Brown, who also earned a World Championships berth with his 100 meters title Saturday, clocked the second-fastest U20 time in Japanese history (20.32 seconds, three hundredths off the record), which also tied him for No. 22 on the U20 All-Time List. He is the first man to complete the 100-200 sweep since 2003, according to The Japan Times.
Grant Holloway (110 hurdles), Kyra Jefferson (200 meters), and KeAndre Bates (long jump) all recorded top-six finishes in their events, just short of making Team USA.
Gator Great and three-time Olympic medalist Will Claye (2010-11) won his third USATF Outdoor Championships triple jump title in the last four years Friday night, clinching a Team USA spot for August’s IAAF World Championships in London.
A Gator has won the USATF Outdoors triple jump title every year since 2011, with Claye’s three titles (2014, 2016, 2017) leading Christian Taylor’s (2011, 2012) and Omar Craddock’s (2013, 2015) two.
Claye won the competition by a foot and half, posting a top mark of 17.91 meters (58 feet, 9.25 inches)— which was a nine-centimeter personal best and made him the No. 9-ranked triple jumper in history. Claye also became the No. 4-ranked American in history.