GAINESVILLE, Fla. — In front of an electrifying crowd at James G. Pressly Stadium at Percy Beard Track, the University of Florida track and field team on Saturday capped off the 67th Pepsi Florida Relays with a strong performance that included a victory in the women’s sprint medley relay and several impressive times and marks.
“This is a great meet and it has been getting better and better every year,” Florida head coach Mike Holloway said. “There is a certain fever and excitement surrounding Florida Relays. It’s becoming the meet that everyone wants to come and compete in. We are glad to host the meet and we saw a lot of great performances again this year.”
On the weekend, the Gators picked up four event victories, set one school record (Jeremy Postin – men’s hammer throw) and charted numerous personal-best times/marks.
“I thought we had a good meet,” Holloway said. “We saw some good performances, but there’s a lot we can get better at and improve on. At the end of the day, we had many more good things happen than bad, and that’s what you’re looking for. Starting Monday, we have to get back out here and find a way to get better. I feel like we have two special groups of athletes with our men’s and women’s teams and we want to make sure that we have some special performances when it counts.”
The Pepsi Florida Relays began on Saturday with a special presentation honoring former Florida head coach Jimmy Carnes (1965-76), who passed away on March 5 after a battle with cancer. Carnes was the 1980 U.S. Olympic Coach and played an instrumental role in the sport on a national and international level. Carnes wife, Nanette, along with several of his former athletes were on hand for a special moment of silence on Saturday morning.
“Mr. Carnes is an icon in the sport of track and field,” Holloway said. “He was a special man and he found a way to help everyone he touched get better. He had an incredible vision and focus. You never came away from a conversation from him without learning something. He was a special friend to me and very special to this program.”
The Florida women’s sprint medley relay team captured its event in a winning time of 3:45.46, which was just shy of the school record of 3:43.11. The quartet consisted of Darshay Davis, Danielle Williams, Lanie Whittaker and Cory McGee.
The Gator men’s 4×100-meter relay, which has captured back-to-back NCAA Outdoor Championships, finished third overall and second among colleges with a time of 38.91. The quartet consisted of Eddie Lovett, Leonardo Seymore, Terrell Wilks and Jeff Demps. That went down as the third-fastest time in the NCAA so far this season and is the eighth-fastest time in school history.
The women’s 4×400-meter relay team closed out the day by placing fifth in its event in a time of 3:37.56. The foursome consisted of Whittaker, Williams, Ugonna Ndu and Ashley Usery.
The women’s 4×800-meter relay finished third in its event in a time of 9:05.15, using the quartet of Genevieve LaCaze, Shelby Hayes, McGee and Mandy Perkins.
The men’s 4×800-meter relay placed second overall in a time of 7:29.13, using the relay order of Sean Obinwa, Matt Mizereck, Luc Lawrence and Daniel Wehunt.
Freshman thrower Fawn Miller, competing in her first collegiate meet, recorded the ninth-best women’s javelin mark in program history with a mark of 41.19m/135-2 to place 16th overall.
Senior pole vaulter Eric Foran placed fifth in the men’s pole vault with a season-best leap of 5.17m/16-11.50, while teammate Max Lang was 10th with a vault of 4.97m/16-3.50.
The women’s shuttle hurdle relay was fifth overall in a time of 56.28, using the group of Lorraine Graham, Brittany Harrell, Paige Morton and Ndu.
Florida has a week off from competition before returning to action Saturday, April 16, when the Gators play host to the Tom Jones Memorial Classic at James G. Pressly Stadium at Percy Beard Track.