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Florida men's outdoor track wins 2016 NCAA Outdoors national championship

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Very few saw this coming. Fewer still mind.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Florida's streak of consecutive years with a national championship was in danger of ending in the 2015-16 academic year, with great regular seasons failing to translate into postseason success and just a few squads left to compete for their sports' ultimate trophies.

Then Florida's men's track team put on a show on Friday at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, coming back and soaring to the podium.

The Gators scored a staggering 51 points and collected two individual national titles on the day, piecing together a performance that helped them rally from fifth place to win the national championship by six points over Arkansas.

Florida was not considered a favorite to compete for the outdoor national title in 2016, with a disappointing pair of finishes at the NCAA Indoor Championships (seventh) and SEC Outdoor Championships (sixth) and a typical lack of elite distance runners presaging another year of being close but not champions at the NCAA Outdoors.

Instead, they flipped the script.

Florida scored huge in the 400-meter hurdles, in which Eric Futch and TJ Holmes finished first and second to pile up 18 points in the 400 meters. It picked up another 12 points in the 400 meters, with Arman "Gino" Hall matching a personal record to win a national title and Kunle Fasasi picking up two points for finishing seventh, even though pre-race favorite Najee Glass's fifth-place finish was wiped away by a disqualification.

A second-place finish by KeAndre Bates in the triple jump added eight more points to Florida's total, and put the Gators two points back of Arkansas entering the night's closing 4 x 400 relay, which would allow them to move ahead of the Razorbacks with a sixth-place finish.

They finished second, and their national championship celebration could begin.

The title is the third outdoor title in program history, and first since 2013. It's also the sixth national title for Florida's men since 2010, adding to coach Mike Holloway's stuffed trophy case.

No other Florida coach has more than three national titles, and Florida's men's track team is now tied with its women's tennis program for most national titles in school history.

And: Florida now has 36 total national championships, and has won at least one national championship in every academic year since 2009-10, extending the longest such streak in school history to a record seventh year.