The Florida Gators track and field teams held up their end of the bargain during the first two days of the 2014 SEC Outdoor Championships that are currently underway in Lexington, Kentucky. Now it's up to them to continue their pace for the next two days so that their efforts get rewarded in a big way.
After two days of competition, the Gators have set themselves up to take home some team hardware. After three events, the men are currently in a tie for fourth and sit thirty-seven points behind leader Georgia. I wouldn't worry too much about the Bulldogs though, they've pretty much used up all their possible points based on remaining events. The women on the other hand, are in a tie for fifth with eight points (after three events as well) and are twenty-four points behind first-place Georgia.
The Gators were led for the first two days by Kyle Strawn, Eddie Garcia and Brittany Harrell. Strawn completed the men's hammer throw in third-place with a best throw of 64.61m and picked up six points towards the men's team total. Garcia paced the Gators with a fourth-place finish in the 10,000m race to give the Gators an additional five points with his time of 29:57.48s.
Harrell led the women's team with a fifth-place finish in the heptathlon with 5,436 points. Her result included victories in the 800m run and third-place finishes in the 200m and high jump competitions. Harrell is one of the most respected athletes in recent Florida memory and this finish will only add to that.
There is some concern though. I'll let head coach Mike Holloway explain:
...the biggest thing I see is we don’t have the pride and the passion that we usually show at these championships. I think we’re letting the weather bother us a little bit, but the thing we have to understand is the weather is affecting everybody, not just us. We have to get back to the hotel and get refocused because this is not how Florida competes at championships.
Holloway did add a little later on in the original quote that it's on him to get things on the right track, but remember, not all is lost. We've yet to get to the Gators' bread and butter events. I fully think that the best has yet to come and great things are in store at these championships.
The action will begin today at 1:00 p.m. ET with track events starting just before 4:00 p.m. ET with the competition expected to end around 7:00 p.m. ET. Robin Reynolds will kick start things for the Gators in the women's long jump prelims and possibly the finals which will occur later on in the day. The women's 1,500m race begins at 3:45 p.m. ET with Cory McGee leading the way for the Gators.
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 air live coverage of the meet beginning at 3:40 p.m. ET and continuing on until the conclusion of the day's events just before 7:00 p.m. ET.