Florida men's track and field wins third consecutive NCAA Indoor Championship
The Florida men's track and field team won the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championship this past weekend - the third consecutive title for head coach Mike Holloway's program. The Gators became just the third different program in NCAA history to win three men's indoor national titles in a row, joining Arkansas and UTEP.
Florida won with a total of 52 points, defeatting SEC champion Arkansas by five points (47). The meet also produced the third consecutive individual 60 meter title for sprinter Jeff Demps, and three individual NCAA championships for Demps, junior sprinter Tony McQuay and junior jumper Omar Craddock.
McQuay set a new collegiate-leading time of 45.77 in the 400m, a season-best for the 2011 USA 400m Champion. McQuay is Florida's first 400 meter champion since Kerron Clement clocked the world-record 44.57 in 2005.
Demps defeated Illinois' Andrew Riley by .01 to claim his third consecutive NCAA title - becoming the first three-time indoor NCAA sprint champion since Pittsburgh's Lee McRae (1986-87-88, 55 meters).
In the triple jump, Craddock leaped to a facility-record and personal best of 16.75m/54-11.50, winning by nearly a foot and sealing the national championship for the Gators.
The victory was even more impressive because the Gators did it without a major scoring threat - multi-event athlete Gray Horn. Horn, the favorite to win the men's heptathlon, was injured during pole vault warmups.
"When Gray went down, I sent a text message to all the guys who had events (remaining)," Florida head coach Mike Holloway said. "I said, 'Look, Gray can't finish the competition because he hurt himself. But we're still the best team here. I need you guys to trust and believe in yourselves, trust and believe in who we are and what we do, and we will win this championship.' Championship teams overcome adversity. We're a championship team. Let's do this."
The victory comes two weeks after the Florida women won the SEC Indoor Track and Field Championship.