While there was no team scoring at the 2012 Alabama Invitational in which the Florida Gators officially opened their defense of their 2011 NCAA Indoor Track and Field National Championship, the Gators performed very well. While the Gators clearly were missing a few key pieces (read: Demps and Hammond Jr.), it is becoming clear that the Gators are going to have a very strong team. Are they strong enough to back up their preseason No. 1 ranking? It's too soon to tell, but they got off to a good start.
Tyler Cardillo and John Mitchell lead the Gators charge in the track events finishing an outstanding 1-2 in the 800 meter run. Cardillo finished with a time of 1:51.50 and Mitchell was right behind him with a time of 1:151.54. Yeah, that's pretty much neck and neck. It's going to be interesting to see them battle throughout the year.
In the mile run, freshman Harsha Torke finished second with a run of 4:12.50. The winner of the mile run, Niklas Buhner from Alabama, was about six seconds ahead of Torke. While that's a pretty substantial distance, it was still a great run by Torke.
Senior Gray Horn, who the Gators will be counting on a lot this year, finished fifth in the 60 meter hurdles with a time of 8.11 seconds. He also finished first overall in the long jump with a distance of 7.66 meters. During the indoor season, Horn competes in the heptathlon so while these distances and times are great, he's just getting warmed up.
Freshman Marquis Dengy looks to pick up right where 2011 Southeastern Conference Field Athlete of the Year Will Claye left off. He finished second in the triple jump with a distance of 15.25 meters. You can pretty much go-ahead and mark it down now: Dengy will be a force to reckon with during his time in Gainesville.
In the shot put, decorated senior Kemal Mesic set the Florida Gators record with a final throw 19.95 meters. The reigning SEC Indoor Champion is showing no signs of slowing down. In the weight throw, the Gators once again finished 1-2. Jeremy Postin finished with a distance of 20.15 meters and David Triassi finished with a distance of 20 meters even, respectively.
Other notables included:
William Wynne, who finished sixth in the 60 meter hurdles final with a time of 8.19 seconds.
Sean Obinwa, who finished eighth in the 400 meter run with a time of 48.70 seconds.
Max Lang, who finished eighth in the pole vault with a mark of 4.90 meters and a height of 16-00.75 feet.
The Gators track and field team will host the 2012 Gator Invite this upcoming Saturday at the O'Connell Center. Yes, that's right. You read that correctly. For those of you who aren't aware, the O'Dome hosts the Gators' indoor meets.