Gators Close Out Florida Relays Strong
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Two 4x4 school records, including the second-fastest 4x4 in collegiate history on the men’s side, two world-leading marks and plenty of PRs and season-best performances capped off a fantastic edition of the Pepsi Florida Relays Saturday night for the University of Florida Gators at Percy Beard Track in Gainesville, where over 4,000 track and field fans filled the stands throughout the span of the three-day event.
As it always is, the 4x4 was the thrilling culmination of the meet and Saturday evening’s races were no exception, bringing the crowd of nearly 2,000 at James G. Pressly Stadium on to their feet during the show. Florida’s women’s 4x4 quartet of Robin Reynolds, Lanie Whittaker, Destinee Gause and Ebony Eutsey started things off, stealing the spotlight in 3:27.38 – a new school record, the second-fastest mark in the country and world right now.
Stellar as it was, the women’s success set up one of the most thrilling races in collegiate history to end #FLRelays14. The likes of LaShawn Merritt, Bershawn Jackson, Michael Bingham, Tony McQuay, Christian Taylor, Torrin Lawrence, Kerron Clement, Manteo Mitchell and Jeremy Wariner laced a loaded field in the first heat of the men’s 4x4, but Gators Najee Glass, Hugh Graham, Jr., Dedric Dukes and Gino Hall were up for the challenge, and in a big way.
Glass, Graham, Jr., and Dukes – all All-Americans and NCAA Champions themselves – lit it up against the decorated field of Olympic medalists, former All-Americans, world and NCAA champions, holding their own for the first three legs of the slugfest before Dukes passed to Hall on the final exchange with the Gators in third. Hall cruised, making up time on the straightaways and down the final 50-meter stretch, found himself in a Gator vs. Gator battle with Clement, setting up an amazing finish that saw Hall buckle down after a 43.7 anchor leg to edge out the Gainesville Elite squad, 2:59.73 to 2:59.76.
Only LSU’s 2005 squad (2:59.59) has ever clocked a faster 4x4 in collegiate history as the Gators maintained their world and collegiate lead with a new school record.
The Florida women’s 4x1 relay quartet of Robin Reynolds, Shayla Sanders, Destinee Gause and Kyra Jefferson (43.41) blazed up the track earlier in the day with a collegiate and world-leading mark and the second-fastest time in Gator history, while the men’s team of Antwan Wright, Graham, Jr., Hall and Dukes were the top collegiate finishers in the field as well (38.55).
In the women’s DMR, Becky Greene, Lanie Whittaker, Cory McGee and Agata Strausa ran away with the victory (11:18.51) and in the field events, Gissell Warner paced the Orange and Blue with a career-best triple jump (12.74m) mark to move up on UF’s top-10 list. Both Kyle Mailloux and Anthony Amodio both had PRs in the pole vault as Mailloux was one of UF’s seniors honored as part of senior day Saturday at Percy Beard Track. The Gators also honored the 2014 SEC Indoor women’s champions and 2013 NCAA Outdoor men’s champions.
HOLLOWAY’S TAKE | Complete post-Florida Relays reaction from Coach Holloway to come
On the Florida Relays as a whole:
“I’m real big on the relays because it’s the true team essence of track and field. You start with the 4x1, it’s the first thing people see, and end with the 4x4. It’s the last thing you see. We want to make sure we open the show and close it – and we did that tonight.”
On the 4x4 at the end:
“You have to give credit to all four guys, Arman’s (Hall) teammates put him in that position and also thank the elite group that ran with us and pulled us to that (result). It was a phenomenal job with four phenomenal athletes. I remember when Hugh (Graham, Jr.) and Dedric (Dukes) were seniors (in high school) and Najee (Glass) and Gino (Hall) were juniors. Coach Tucker and I sat down and talked, looked at our list. They were four of the top five guys in the country and our goal was to get four of those guys here and we did.”
SATURDAY GATOR RESULTS | #FLRelays14
W Hammer Invite
6. Jayla Bostic (58.10m) – season best
M Pole Vault
8. Anthony Amodio (4.95m) – PR
8. Jared Watkins (4.95m)
20. Kyle Mailloux (4.60m) – ties PR
M Triple Jump
2. Marquis Dendy (16.00m) – season best
W Triple Jump
6. Gissell Warner (12.74m) – PR, ninth-best in Florida history
M Shot Put Invite
2. Stipe Zunic (19.30m)
4. Bridgette Owens, Skylar Ross-Ransom, Brittany Harrell, Tyjah Eady (54.25) – top collegiate finisher
2. Robin Reynolds, Shayla Sanders, Destinee Gause, Kyra Jefferson (43.41) – top collegiate finisher, second-fastest mark in Florida history, fastest in the world this year
2. Antwan Wright, Hugh Graham, Jr., Gino Hall, Dedric Dukes (38.55) – top collegiate finisher
2. Andres Arroyo, Donnie Lee, Jr., Ryan Schnulle, Sean Obinwa (7:17.88)
1. Becky Greene, Lanie Whittaker, Cory McGee, Agata Strausa (11:18.51)
1. Robin Reynolds, Lanie Whittaker, Destinee Gause, Ebony Eutsey (3:27.38) – school record, second-fastest in country and world this year
1. Najee Glass, Hugh Graham, Jr., Dedric Dukes, Gino Hall (2:59.73) – second fastest in collegiate history, fastest in the world this season, school record
29. Nick Uruburu, Sean Obinwa, Ryan Schnulle, Andres Arroyo (3:11.96)
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