Gators make it back-to-back titles
UF becomes fourth men's program to win consecutive crowns
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- No. 1 Florida became just the fourth different men’s program in NCAA history to claim back-to-back NCAA Indoor Championships, scoring 52 total team points to capture the 2011 national crown on Saturday evening at Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium on the campus of Texas A&M University.
The Gators join Arkansas, Kansas, and UTEP as the only men’s programs in NCAA history to win NCAA Indoor Championships in consecutive years. Florida is the first team to accomplish the feat since Arkansas did so in 2005 and 2006.
The Gators totaled 52 points to defeat second-place Texas A&M by 12 points. The Aggies scored 40 points, while BYU was third with 34 points. Fourth-place LSU (31) and fifth-place Florida State (30) rounded out the men’s top-five. Oregon won the women’s title with 67 total team points, while Texas was second with 38 and LSU was third with 37.
It marked the 25th national title in UF school history.
“This year was special because we came in as big favorites, had some adversity, but we overcame it and we’re national champions again,” Florida head coach Mike Holloway said. “It was a total-team effort. We’re a team and a family, and we look after each other. We had a tough day yesterday, but the thing is that champions respond to adversity. I challenged our team to be who we are and do the things that we do well. They did that and I’m very proud of them.”
Florida was aided by individual national championships from junior jumper Will Claye (Phoenix, Ariz.) in the men’s triple jump and sophomore sprinter Jeff Demps (Winter Garden, Fla.) in the men’s 60-meter dash.
Claye set the NCAA meet record in the men’s triple jump with a mark of 17.32m/56-10, which broke the previous record of 17.31m/56-9.50, held by Keith Connor of SMU. Claye totaled 18 points on the weekend after finishing as the NCAA runner-up in the men’s long jump on Friday evening. He directed an impressive 22-point scoring spree by the Gators in the men’s triple jump that clinched the meet for the Gators.
Junior jumper Christian Taylor (Fayetteville, Ga.) placed second in the men’s triple jump with a leap of 16.99m/55-9, while sophomore jumper Omar Craddock (Killeen, Texas) was fifth with a jump of 16.32m/53-6.50.
Demps captured the NCAA Championship in the men’s 60-meter dash for the second consecutive season, winning in a school-record time of 6.53. He becomes the first repeat champion in the men’s 60-meter dash since DaBryan Blanton of Oklahoma in 2004 and 2005. Demps broke his previous school-record time of 6.55, set at the 2011 SEC Indoor Championships two weeks ago.
“It felt good for me as an individual, but the best part was working towards a team title,” Demps said. “The 10 points really helped our team. I just went out there and ran my race today.”
Junior multi-event athlete Gray Horn (Waynesfield, Ohio) set a new Florida school record in the men’s heptathlon, placing fourth with a personal-best score of 5,890. That broke his own previous school record of 5,816, set at the 2011 SEC Indoor Championships two weeks ago in Fayetteville, Ark.
Horn opened the day by placing fourth in the 60-meter hurdles in a time of 8.12, which moved him into fourth place overall at the time. He then was eighth in the pole vault with a leap of 4.70m/15-5, dropping him to seventh place in the competition. Horn finished the heptathlon with a personal-best time of 2:39.96 in the 1,000-meter run, which shattered his previous best in that event of 2:43.40.
Junior distance runner Dumisani Hlaselo (South Africa), the 2011 SEC men’s mile champion, placed fourth in the men’s mile in a time of 4:00.97 to earn All-America honors in the event. He became Florida’s first indoor All-America in the men’s Mile since Shane Stroup in 2006.
Sophomore sprinter Tony McQuay (Riviera Beach, Fla.), still battling through a slight hamstring tweak suffered on Friday, placed seventh in the finals of the men’s 400-meter dash in a time of 48.71.
Freshman distance runner Cory McGee (Pass Christian, Miss.), who has turned in an exceptional freshman campaign indoors this season, placed 10th overall in the women’s mile in a time of 4:41.52.
The Florida women’s 4x400-meter relay placed 10th overall, clocking a time of 3:35.64. The quartet consisted of Ebony Eutsey (Miami, Fla.), Lanie Whittaker (Miami, Fla.), Danielle Williams (Jacksonville, Fla.) and Ugonna Ndu (Newark, N.J.).