Kirby Lee / USA TODAY Sports

Gators Capture Third NCAA Outdoor Track Title

The University of Florida men's track and field team captured its third NCAA Outdoor Championships victory, scoring 62 points over two days of competition at Historic Hayward Field to take home the title on Friday (June 10). The Gators also collected two individual national championships and boasted three runner-up finishers.

(SPECIAL TO FIGHTIN' GATORS)

UF became just the third team since 1992 to win the NCAA Outdoor Championships after finishing outside the top five at the NCAA Indoor Championships.

Senior Arman Hall won the 400 meters title in 44.82 seconds, joining Tony McQuay (2012) as the only other Gator in history to win the crown at NCAA Outdoors.

Redshirt junior Eric Futch and junior TJ Holmes posted a 1-2 finish in the men's 400-meter hurdles, combining for 18 points. Futch ran the No. 3-ranked time on the program's all-time top 10 (48.91) to nab the program's fourth national title in the event. Rickey Harris (2002) and Kerron Clement (2004-05) are the only other Gators to win the title.

Futch and Holmes are just the second pair of teammates since 1983 to take first and second place in the 400-meter hurdles. Baylor's Bayano Kamani and Michael Smith (2001) are the only others to accomplish the feat during that span.

UF's other two runner-up finishes came from sophomore KeAndre Bates (triple jump), and the 4x400 relay quartet of Kunle Fasasi, Arman Hall, Hugh Graham Jr., and Najee Glass, which clinched the victory for the Gators.

Bates became just the second Gator (Christian Taylor, 2010) and sixth man since 1990 to score in both the long jump and triple jump as an underclassman. And UF's 4x400 relay crew collected its fifth consecutive top-two finish in the event, tying the second-longest streak in meet history.


QUOTES FROM THE CHAMPS
Head coach Mike Holloway on how everything came together today...
"I thought we could get to 60 (points). It was just a matter of whether the kids trusted and believed. I told the guys we've just got to ignore (outside noise), and trust and believe in each other. I've been talking to Eric (Futch) and TJ (Holmes) about being 1-2, to Arman (Hall) about winning. We've said all year long, if it came down to the 4x4, we'd like our chances.

On whether there was a moment this year or in this meet where he felt things had ignited...
"The moment happened right after the conference meet when I sat down with my staff and we talked about what we could do better. We knew we had a wonderful group of kids, and I felt like we were letting them down. I challenged my staff to be better. I challenged myself to be better. They probably thought I was crazy when I said, 'Guys, we're going to win a national championship,' after we were sixth at the conference meet. But they believed."

Senior sprinter Arman Hall on his title-winning performance in the 400 meters...
"(I was) just focused on what Coach (Mike) Holloway has been teaching me for the past month or so, because I've usually been going out extremely hard. I just had to learn how to just go slower at first. And then the week before nationals, he really taught me how to get out to a certain extent and just keep my momentum going into the straight."

Hall on what it means to win the team title...
"It means so much. We won my freshman year, and the past couple of years we've been all over the place. And we've had a great team. Just coming in here, people counted us out from the get go, and we came out on top. It's just so amazing. I'm so happy and so proud I get to be with these guys for my last year. They're really like brothers to me."

Redshirt junior hurdler Eric Futch on the 400 hurdles title...
"I'm just happy that we came out here and did what we were supposed to. (TJ and I) told Coach Holloway that we would get 18 points. He told us to just come out here and do what we were supposed to and everything would fall in place."

Junior hurdler TJ Holmes on UF's 1-2 finish in the 400 hurdles...
"All year and fall we were thinking about it. We always said we'd have the ability to do it. I'm happy and glad that we got a national championship and (went) No. 1 and No. 2 in the hurdles."


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