Back To Back: Florida Wins 2017 NCAA DI Outdoor Team Title
EUGENE, Oregon – As the chant goes, “It’s great to be a Florida Gator.”
For the 2nd year in a row, Florida won the men’s team title at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships.
The Gators got some payback on Texas A&M for the indoor meet as they edged their conference rival 61½ to 59½. Virginia (3rd) and Arkansas (4th) also earned spots on the podium.
Lo and behold it came down to the 4×400 relay once again to decide the team champion – just like it did indoors. The stakes weren’t as high, though, as all Florida had to do was finish no worse than 5th to assure itself the team crown. Grant Holloway crossed the finish line in 4th place and the Gators began celebrating soon after.
Holloway and KeAndre Bates were major reasons why Florida stood atop the podium at day’s end. The duo combined for 39¼ points, a staggering 64 percent of the Gators’ total output.
Bates became the 11th man in meet history to sweep the horizontal jump titles. He earned the long jump title on Wednesday and doubled back in the triple jump on Friday night.
Holloway won the 110 hurdles, finished runner-up to Bates in the long jump and anchored the aforementioned 4th place 4×400 relay team. He is just the 5th man in meet history to score in the 110 hurdles and long jump and the only man to finish in the top-2 of both.
Florida also got an individual title from Eric Futch in the 400 hurdles. Futch, who also won in 2016, is the 8th man in meet history to successfully defend that crown.
Texas A&M turned in its usual championship outing thanks to titles in the decathlon (Lindon Victor), javelin (John Kyriazis), 400 (Fred Kerley) and 4×400 relay, but the surprise of the meet was Virginia.
The Cavaliers had never before finished in the top-5 of the NCAA Outdoor Championships and took 3rd here. Throwers scored every single one of Virginia’s 36 points as Filip Mihaljevic won the shot put and discus, Jordan Young finished 3rd in the discus, while Oghenakpobo Efekoro and Hilmar Orn Jonsson took 4th in the shot put and hammer, respectively.
Arkansas was 13th going into the 5000, but jumped onto the podium thanks to 16 points in the final two events. Jack Bruce was runner-up to Stanford’s Grant Fisher at 5000 meters and the Razorbacks’ 4×400 relay finished 2nd behind the Aggies.