The Florida Gators' track and field teams wrapped up an extremely successful weekend at the 2014 SEC Indoor Championships on Saturday, and, for a change, it was Florida's women leading the way.
Florida's women won their first SEC championship since 2012 and eighth overall with a stellar Saturday, holding off Texas A&M in the final relay event to win it. The women's track and field championship is the Florida Gators' fourth SEC crown of the 2013-14 calendar year, joining titles in soccer, men's swimming, and men's basketball.
The women's distance medley relay and 4x400m relay were the difference for the Gators, as they won both of those events and outpaced an Aggies squad that was well prepped for the title. The foursome of Becky Greene, Loreal Curtis, Agata Strausa and Cory McGee won the distance medley with a time of 11:08.11 seconds, and the 4x400m relay team, featuring Robin Reynolds, Destinee Gause, Kyra Jefferson, Ebony Eutsey, set a Florida record with their time of 3:30.16 seconds, helping the Gators edge a Texas A&M squad that was disqualified in the 4x4 relay.
The relay event wins were Florida's second and third on the day: Ciarra Brewer captured the SEC title in the women's triple jump with a best distance of 13.59 meters earlier in Saturday's session.
While the women's team failed to claim any other top spots, they had plenty of very solid overall performances. Jayla Bostic (weight throw) and Taylor Burke (high jump) both finished third in their respective events, with Burke setting a new school record by clearing 1.87 meters. McGee finished second overall in the women's mile with a time of 4:35.03 seconds in what was nearly another SEC title for her, and would end up winning the Cliff Harper Trophy as the high point winner of the championships.
In the women's 400m finals, Robin Reynolds finished second with a time of 51.77 seconds and Kyra Jefferson finished third in the 200m finals with a time of 22.87 seconds and captured the Florida record in the process.
As for the men, even though they finished second overall to the Arkansas Razorbacks, it must still be considered a successful weekend.
The two individual winners for the men were Eddie Lovett, who captured the SEC title in the 60m hurdles with a winning time of 7.67 seconds, and Arman Hall, who cruised to victory in the 200m dash in a time of 20.59 seconds.
Lovett's win was his fourth in the 60m hurdles at the SEC Indoor Championships in his collegiate career, making him the first athlete in SEC history to win four titles in the event.
The men's 4x400m relay team, which finished second overall set a Florida record with their time of 3:03.50 seconds. The foursome of Najee Glass, Hugh Graham Jr., Dedric Dukes and Hall should be commended for their performance, as it was indeed incredible.
One of the few disappointments of the weekend, however, was Marquis Dendy, who finished 11th overall in the men's triple jump. His best jump of 14.95 meters wasn't nearly good enough to place in the points, was well short of former Gator Christian Taylor's SEC meet record of 17.36 meters, and did not approach the personal record of 16.25 meters he set in taking third in the event at the 2013 SEC Indoor Championships.
Rounding out the field events, Stipe Zunic finished third overall in the men's shot put with a best throw of 18.97 meters.
In the men's 400m dash, Hall and Graham Jr. finished second and fourth respectively with times of 45.28 and 45.94 seconds. Mark Parrish finished fourth in the men's 5,000m run with a time of 14:11.26 seconds and Sean Obinwa finished second in the 800m dash with a time of 1:49.79 seconds. In the second-to-last event before the competition was closed, the men's distance medley finished second overall with a time of 9:41.66s.
Florida's second place finish is its sixth consecutive top-two finish at the SEC Indoors. No team other than Arkansas or Florida has won the men's title since 1997, with Florida only breaking the Hogs' hold on the title in 2004 and 2011.
If you missed any of the action, ESPNU will be airing a 90-minute highlight show of the meet on Monday, March 10th at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Final team standings, women:
- 1) Florida, 102 points
- 2) Texas A&M, 96.5 points
- 3) Arkansas, 93.5 points
- 4) Kentucky, 72 points
- 5) Georgia, 64.5 points
Final team standings, men:
- 1) Arkansas, 121 points
- 2) Florida, 106 points
- 3) Texas A&M, 83.33 points
- 4) Alabama, 76 points
- 5) Kentucky, 69.33 points