The Florida Gators track and field teams are at the 2014 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships which begin today at the University of Oregon in Eugene, Oregon. As the latest USTFCCCA rankings can attest to, neither the Gators' men or women will be the pre-meet favorite to take home the title.
The men will begin things today ranked second, about twenty points behind the No. 1 Oregon Ducks who will be looking to win a national championship on their home track. The Gators also trail Oregon in terms of championship participants too. Oregon will have 21 athletes at their disposal over the course of the championships and the Gators will have 16. All might not be lost for the Gators despite being behind Ducks in terms of event qualifiers. The Gators have the top qualifier in the 200m, triple jump and both relays, so they've got that going for them.
As for the women, well, that's a different story entirely. The Gators qualified only 13 athletes to the championships out of a possible 24 and they'll likely feel that over the course of the week. They'll have to make up a lot of ground on No. 1 Texas, because four out of the last six years has seen the pre-meet favorite take home the title.
Last week wasn't all doom and gloom for the Gators though. Head coach Mike Holloway and sprinter Dedric Dukes were recently named USTFCCCA South Region Coach of the Year and Athlete of the Year respectively. Dukes also has a very good shot at winning The Bowerman Award, given to the top collegiate track and field athlete of the year due to his world-leading 200m time of 19.97s.
There are a variety of ways to follow all of the action this week from Oregon as it unfolds. The NCAA has set up a championship central page, where you can find all relevant information including purchasing tickets, heat sheets, a schedule of events and much more. If you don't want to visit the homepage, a full meet schedule is available here in PDF form.
Despite the meet getting underway at 4:00 p.m. ET todwith the 4x100m relays, ESPN3's coverage wont begin until shortly before 7:00 p.m. ET today and tomorrow. The channel then flips to ESPNU, who will take over coverage on Friday and Saturday (when most of the events will be in the final stages) at 7:30 p.m. ET and and 5:00 p.m. ET respectively. Flash Results will handle any and all results, including live scoring and team standings throughout the championships.