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Kyle Terwillegar | USTFCCCA | March 3, 2014

Florida jumps into top spot in USTFCCCA rankings

NEW ORLEANS -- With the indoor regular season in the books, Florida is now the new top-ranked team in the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Division I National Team Computer Rankings released on Monday.

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Based on the final descending order lists, the Gators leapt past newly crowned SEC champion and defending NCAA indoor champion Arkansas into the driver’s seat for its fourth NCAA title in the past five years.

One more set of rankings remain prior to the NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships in Albuquerque, N.M., during the weekend of March 14-15, to be released next Monday. Only entries into the championships – which are announced Tuesday by 10 p.m. ET –will be considered for that final edition.

In the meantime, it was mainly the collegiate-leading 20.55 at 200 meters posted by Dedric Dukes – along with No. 7 and  No. 8 performances at 400 meters by Hugh Graham, Jr., and Najee Glass – that drove the Gators’ team rankings score of 161.12 past SEC Champion Arkansas’ 150.90.

Florida won three consecutive NCAA indoor team titles from 2010-2012 before Arkansas interrupted the Gators' streak a year ago. Their last title came in 2012, when they took over the top spot in Week Six from Arkansas.

The Razorbacks, despite winning the SEC team crown, fell to No. 2 with a 25.14-point reduction in its team score. This marks the first time since the final pre-championships rankings in 2012 Arkansas hasn’t occupied the top spot.

Texas A&M (124.69) held firm at No. 3, with No. 4 Oregon (111.72) and Big Ten champion No. 5 Wisconsin (109.19) swapped spots from a week ago to complete the top five.

Lawi Lalang’s 5000 meters debut for 2014 at No. 4 boosted Arizona (81.87) up three spots to No. 6, while ACC champion No. 7 Florida State (69.07) and No. 8 Penn State (69.07) both dropped one spot.

Another big mover was No. 9 Villanova (59.77), up five spots from a week ago behind its third-ranked DMR.

Southern California (58.65) dropped two spots to round out the top 10.

Other teams making waves post-conference championships included No. 15 Colorado (up 18), No. 21 Purdue (up 16) and No. 22 Michigan State (up 17).

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