Saturday, April 3, 2010

University of Florida Sets Several World Leaders at Florida Relays

NCAA: Div 1 Indoor Track Championships Mar 13

The University of Florida's men's program won their first indoor national championship just last month. They've wasted no time establishing that they will be a factor outdoors as well blistering the track at this weekend's Florida Relays that just closed this afternoon.

Indoor 60 meter champion Jeff Demps wasted no time getting the Gators started as he blazed a collegiate and world leading 10.11 in winning the 100 meters. Demps is the high school and co-world junior record holder in the event off of his 10.01 mark set at the US Trials in 2008. Last year was a harder road for Demps as injuries from football slowed him considerably. The young man appears to be healthy and back in form this year, however, as he won the collegiate indoor title and with the season very young has already sped 10.11 in the 100 meters. A healthy Demps appears ready to set a new PR in the event this year.

Today he turned his attention to the 4x1, an event in which Florida is the defending national champion - a title they won last year WITHOUT Demps. With Demps on anchor they merely blitzed 38.93 as the team of Jeremy Rankin, Jeremy Hall, Terrell Wilks and Demps crushed the field by a huge .84 sec.! They then came back and replaced Rankin and Demps with Tony McQuay and Calvin Smith (both finalists indoors in both the 200 and 400) as they set sail around the track for two laps of the 4x2. Again they crushed the field as their world leading 1:20.38 was 2.22 sec. ahead of the next squad! The time was the =9th performance ever by a college squad and made Florida the #6 school ever.

Florida's speed demons weren't finished however, as they made one more personnel change, this time replacing Hall and Wilks with R. J. Anderson and Christian Taylor for 4 laps of the 4x4. Once again Florida ran a world leader with a 3:00.31 that once again demolished the field - this time by 1.10 sec.

Florida's exploits show that they are ready to make a run at their first outdoor title against rivals Texas A&M and the University of Oregon - the teams I consider to be the other squads in the running for this year's title. Oregon is distance strong with field event back up. Texas A&M, like Florida, is sprint strong with field event back up. This weekend's performance, in my opinion, says that Florida has the current edge in sprint strength.

If the season plays out as it normally does we should get a glimpse of both teams at the Penn Relays in three weeks. The University section could upstage the "USA v the World" segment this year if we get some head to heads with Florida, Texas A&M and squads from Baylor, TCU, LSU and Florida State.

For full results see the link on the right.

Looks like we're in for an exciting spring!

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