It is often said that the only thing you can't teach in sports is speed. As someone who spent the better part of a decade -- high school and beyond -- running competitively, I can tell you that with only the slightest of doubt the statement is true. Now, I'm not saying that you can't refine it and teach someone proper techniques to help them a little, but you can't teach someone to be fast.
As Florida Gators fans, we've seen our fair share of fast athletes in the past few years. Percy Harvin, Louis Murphy and Chris Rainey are just a few of the people that I'd say were fast Gators in that time frame. Jeff Demps however, is on a completely different level. I honestly don't care about the one time that Rainey beat Demps in a race behind a dorm room or any other parking lot race someone participated in. (Hint: check out the "off-field stories" section if you are so inclined.)
Demps is one of the fastest people in the world. And he's got the hardware (and records) to prove it.
Two-days ago in Albequreque, New Mexico, Demps tied the NCAA and SEC record in the 60m dash with a time of 6.55s. Sure that time will be adjusted for altitude, but I think that track and field coach Mike Holloway said it best:
"Jeff was Jeff," Holloway said. "He had a seasonal best but I think he would be the first to tell you that he rushed it tonight. We need to work on being more patient."
Demps wasn't even on his proverbial "A-game" and he ties the NCAA record. Some people are just fast. There is just no other way around it. I'm fairly certain that with his performance on Friday, Demps is the fastest person to ever wear the orange and blue.
As for the rest of the Gators who were in action this weekend in New Mexico (Don Kirby) and Washington (Husky Classic), they were successful as well.
At the Don Kirby Elite Invitational, freshman sensation Marquis Dendy continued his impressive start to the season with yet another victory in the long jump. His personal best height of 7.82m easily outpaced his closest competitor by almost half a meter. Around the same time that Dendy was accomplishing his feat, Dwight Barbiasz and Frankie Hammond Jr. were finishing second and third respectively in the high jump.
Kemal Mesic once again won the shot put with a distance of 20.23m. It was his third victory of the season. Other than Demps and Mesic, every other Gator athlete struggled. Omar Craddock fouled out of the long jump and received a DNF, Gray Horn wasn't his usual self and the three-headed monster the Gators have at the weight throw failed to live up to their expectations.
Jeremy Postin, David Triassi and David Levin finished 3rd, 4th and 11th in the weight throw respectively.
Aside from the aforementioned Dendy and Demps, there was a bright spot for the Gators out in New Mexico. The women's 4x400m relay team posted a winning time of 3:33.22s which is good enough to qualify them for the NCAA Indoor National Championships.
Out in Washington at the Husky Classic the Gators weren't all that impressive. The Husky Classic was purely a distance meet, meaning that only the distance runners on the team were invited to participate. While the women nearly all set personal bests, they only had two Top 10 finishes.
In the men's 800m invite, Sean Obinwa placed 5th with a time of 1:48.99s. As for that one mile run that had one-hundred and twenty entrants, the Gators didn't place a runner within the Top 35. Matt Mizereck (who finished 36th) and Tyler Cardillo (who finished 41st) finished with times of 4:09.72s and 4:10.55s respectively.
The Gators are now off for two-weeks as they prepare for the SEC Indoor Championships that will be hosted by the Kentucky Wildcats in Lexington, Kentucky.