Florida wins men’s NCAA track and field championships
EUGENE, Ore. — Florida had to battle until the final event of the meet for its repeat national championship.
With freshman Grant Holloway on the anchor leg, the Gators finished fourth in the 4×100-meter relay Friday night, giving them just enough points to win the NCAA Division I men’s outdoor track and field championship at Hayward Field.
The Gators finished with 61.5 points, two ahead of Texas A&M. The Aggies won the 4×400, meaning Florida needed to place better than sixth to get the team title. Virginia was a distant third with 36.
Friday wins from KeAndre Bates (triple jump), Holloway (110 hurdles) and Eric Futch (400 hurdles) helped put the Gators on top.
Texas A&M entered the day with a 13.5-point lead on Florida but didn’t have the same level of success as the Gators. Fred Kerley won the 400 for the Aggies, who started their day with a fourth-place finish in the 4×100 relay.
Bates took a while to figure out what he needed to do in the triple jump. But once he did, his day turned out.
He said it simply came down to listening to his coaches.
“I have to do my job, and I wasn’t doing it by not trusting … run and just run to the board,” Bates said.
He improved to 54 feet, 2 inches in the third of six rounds after two jumps in the 52-foot range. He followed that with a jump of 55 feet even that held up for the victory. Clive Pullen of Arkansas was second at 54-5 ½.
Bates, a junior, said he got fired up after watching Holloway’s win in the 110 hurdles.
“I’m trying to encourage them so they can do what they need to do to improve themselves,” he said. “That’s what I really care about.”
Futch got a narrow victory in the 400 hurdles with a comeback down the homestretch.
He passed no fewer than three runners over the last 50 meters to cross the line in 48.32. UCLA’s Raj Benjamin was second in 48.33. The top four placers were separated by less than three-tenths of a second.
Bates said he’s tried not to think about national team rankings throughout the season that showed the Gators within reach of another team title, and instead focusing on executing what coaches are teaching in practice.
Tennessee junior Christian Coleman ran fast again after setting a collegiate all-time 100 record of 9.82 seconds in Wednesday’s semifinal.
He won Friday’s 100 final in 10.04 into a 2.1 mph headwind and came back about 45 minutes later to win the 200 in 20.25.
“They were both pretty hard. There were some great guys in both heats,” Coleman said. “I was just lucky and focused and executed in both of them.”
Emmanuel Korir of UTEP came through some contact in the 800 to win in 1:45.03.
Korir and teammate Michael Saruni went around leader Virginia Tech’s Drew Piazza on opposite sides with about 200 meters to go, Korir to the inside and Saruni outside.
Korir and Saruni appeared to collide once they got around Piazza, and Saruni fell to the track. Korir outkicked the field from there and finished just ahead of Penn State’s Isaiah Harris (1:45.40), the runner-up.
Piazza ended up sixth. Saruni got back to his feet but finished last in the field and out of contention in eighth.
New Mexico’s Josh Kerr came in as the 1,500 favorite with the season’s best time and left with a win in 3:43.03. He also won the NCAA indoor mile in March.