The No. 1 Florida Gators track and field teams will be in Lexington, Kentucky the rest of the week as the 2014 SEC Outdoor Championships are set to begin today at the Kentucky Track and Field Complex. It is the second consecutive week that both the men's and women's teams for the Gators have held the top spot in the latest USTFCCCA rankings.
Using those rankings as a guide, both teams will face tough competition for the right to be crowned SEC Champions.
On the men's side, there are four other teams ranked inside the top ten: Texas A&M (No. 2), Arkansas (No. 4), Georgia (No. 7) and LSU (No. 9). Realistically, the main competition should come from Arkansas and Texas A&M only, with a slight edge to A&M based purely on their ability to keep up with the Gators' sprinters better than anybody else in the country. Arkansas has the advantage in the distance and mid-distance events, but they're likely to lose too much ground in the field and sprint events to pose any real threat. Crazier things have happened, though, so it'll be interesting to see how it plays out.
As for the women, they'll be dealing with five other teams ranked in the top ten in the latest USTFCCCA rankings. Joining the Gators in Lexington will be Texas A&M (No. 4), Georgia (No. 5), Kentucky (No. 6), LSU (No. 7) and Arkansas (No. 8).
On the season, the women's team has performed well enough to stroll to the top of the SEC mountain on Sunday. And it wouldn't surprise me if the women's team rolled to the SEC Championship: That same team won the SEC Indoor Championship earlier this year, so we all know they're battle tested and know what it takes to win.
But championships are easier said than won.
Starting things off for the Gators on Thursday at noon Eastern will be Brittany Harrell in the heptathlon. She'll be looking to get the Gators off to a great start before giving way halfway through her competition to Jayla Bostic, who will be in the women's hammer throw prelims and finals (hopefully) later in the day. Bostic's hammer throw will be the first chance for the Gators to collect some points at the Championships, so a strong start will be needed.
Things continue on Friday at 1:30 p.m. ET with Harrell finishing up the heptathlon and Kyle Strawn in the men's hammer throw. Friday is also the day that the first action will be seen on the track, with 800m prelims scheduled to begin at 6:15 p.m. ET.
On Saturday, the action will begin at 1:00 p.m. ET with track events starting at just before 4:00 p.m. ET. On Sunday, which will be the final day of competition, field events are scheduled to begin at 11:00 a.m. ET and track events get underway at 2:00 p.m. ET. The final event of the competition, the 4x400m dash, will start at around 5:35 p.m. ET on Sunday. Remember, you might want to watch the men's 4x400m dash. You just might see something incredible.
There are many ways to watch the 2014 SEC Outdoor Championships this year, beginning with the meet central page courtesy of UKAthletics. BranchSportsTech will have coverage of the live results, including a great mobile site for those using smartphones or tablets.
ESPN3 will also be airing live coverage of the Championships, hosted by Dwight Stones on Saturday and Sunday beginning 3:40 p.m. ET on Saturday and 1:50 p.m. ET on Sunday. The coverage on Sunday will continue until the conclusion of events and the team champions are crowned. To go along with their live coverage, ESPNU will air a two-hour highlight show on Thursday, May 22nd at 8:00 p.m. ET.