Midseason Rewind Scenes, Sights, and Sounds from Florida's Early-Season Success

We know. It is not technically the middle of this outdoor season yet. However, our photo crews at the Hurricane Collegiate Invitational (Mark Brown, a stellar freelancer) and Pepsi Florida Relays (staff photographer Tim Casey, two local freelancers, and Courtney Culbreath, along with her fellow student photographers Aaron Albright, Allison Curry, and Ashley Williams) complied a plethora of magnificent photos for us to share.

We had to give you another look at the cream of the crop.

Moreover, both the men's and women's teams are off to tremendous starts. Florida's men, ranked No. 1 nationally, boast seven top-5 times and marks on the Division I descending order list. The women are not far off, checking in at No. 7 in the team rankings and touting nine top-10 times and marks on the national list. That does not include another batch of early-season performances that should result in NCAA East Preliminary berths.

But enough chit chat. You are here for the photos! And don't bail early, or else you'll miss the highlights.


Eric Futch letting you know how much he loves the outdoors.


Outdoor season means fresh air, fast times, and, above all else: shades.

Another perk of outdoor track: clouds. Lots of gorgeous clouds. Sunlight creates fun effects as well.

Some of Florida's top performances early in this outdoor season came at the Hurricane Collegiate Invitational.

Indoor long jump national champion KeAndre Bates picked up right where he left off, posting a national top 10 mark.

Coach Petersen, watching in the background, likes this one.

Sophomore Lloydricia Cameron opened with a mark near her personal record in the discus throw, putting her in the top 15 nationally.

Happy LoLo :)

On the women's long jump runway, sophomore Yanis David and junior Darrielle McQueen both eclipsed 21 feet in their season-openers. The pair remain in this week's national top 10.

McQueen's opener of 21 feet, 3.5 inches (6.49 meters) ranks fifth nationally and third in school history.

David's top jump of 21 feet, 0.5 inches is tied for seventh in the country.

Happy Yanis :)

On the track, sophomores Ryan Clark and Michael Timpson Jr. squared off in the 100 meters, with Clark (left) edging out his teammate for what is now a national top 30 time (10.33 seconds).

Redshirt seniors Destinee Gause and Kyra Jefferson also enjoyed quick starts to their outdoor campaigns. Jefferson opened with a 52.75 in the 400 meters, good for ninth nationally. Gause clocked a 23.21-second wind-legal 200 meters, placing her in the top 30.

Gause (bottom / top right) was all smiles in Coral Gables.

Back in the field, AJ McFarland set a new PR in the hammer throw (more on his rank later), and triple jumper Asa Garcia eclipsed the 13-meter mark for the first time in her career. Garcia (42 feet, 10.25 inches / 13.06 meters) ranks tied for 11th nationally.

Also, Ebony Luster opened at 41 feet, 7.25 inches (12.68 meters), putting her squarely in contention for an NCAA East Preliminary spot.

Garcia (top), Luster (bottom left), and McFarland (bottom right).


Ah. The Pepsi Florida Relays. One of the southeast's most prestigious meets lived up to its billing, concluding with a pair of collegiate records, a handful of world leads, and even more collegiate leads.

The Gators made plenty of noise and did the bulk of their heavy lifting for the NCAA East Preliminary over the course of three days.

Numerous Gator Greats also took center stage, including Olympic gold medalists Kerron Clement (400 hurdles) and Christian Taylor (triple jump). Though the two only ran events for their training models, they impressed nonetheless.

Taylor (bottom / top right) ran relays with his training group, while Clement opened his outdoor season with a 46.01 open 400.

Claudia Franics clocked a World Championships standard in the 400 meters, running 52.00 seconds, while Najee Glass (400 meters), Eddie Lovett (110 hurdles), Ugonna Ndu (400-meter hurdles), Robin Reynolds (400 meters), and Calvin Smith (400 meters) all turned in solid season-opening runs.

From top to bottom: Francis, Glass, Lovett, Ndu, Reynolds, Smith (left side).

The contingent of Gator post-graduates also included jumper Marquis Dendy (100 meters), Olympic 4x400 relay gold medalist Arman Hall, Cory McGee (800 meters), Sean Obinwa (800 meters), and a battle in the 100 meters between Jeff Demps and two-time Olympic 4x400 relay medalist Tony McQuay.

From top left to bottom right: Dendy, Hall, Obinwa, McGee, McQuay and Demps.

Friday opened with training partners Marques Burgman and Caleb Chambliss both shaving roughly three tenths of a second off their 110 hurdles personal bests. They were pretty excited!

Ryann McEnany also broke through with a PR in the 100 hurdles, posting a time (13.65) near the cutoff of qualification for the NCAA East Preliminary.

Along similar lines in the 400 meters, Sharrika Barnett tied her outdoor personal record (52.25) and Taylor Sharpe (52.78) broke 53 seconds for the first time as a Gator.

Barnett (top left) and Sharpe (top right / bottom) both rank in the top 15 nationally as of this week.

Senior Andres Arroyo followed those performances with a third-place finish in an 800 meters race that featured four of the six fastest times in the nation.

Arroyo's 1:46.42 was the third-fastest time of his outdoor career.

As Arroyo crossed the finish, freshman Clayton Brown and junior Jhonny Victor wrapped up their impressive high jump performances. Victor cleared 2.11 meters (6 feet, 11 inches) and Brown topped out at 2.21 meters (7 feet 3 inches)--which is tied for third nationally and No. 6 on UF's All-Time Outdoor Top 10.

Brown and Victor often chat it up during down time in the high jump.

Less than a half hour later, Brown competed in his first collegiate long jump competition, posting a mark of 7.62 meters (25 feet)--which should earn him a spot at the NCAA East Preliminary.

Yep, Clayton had plenty to clap and smile about.

Three of Florida's top performances came in the 400 hurdles.

First, Brandee' Johnson ran a top-15 national time and became the No. 5-ranked runner in school history--in her first collegiate 400 hurdles race.

Johnson also boasts a national top-50 time in the 100 hurdles (13.47) from the Hurricane Collegiate. She is one of only six freshmen since 2007 to break 13.50 and 57.25 prior to the NCAA Outdoor Championships.

Shortly thereafter, seniors Eric Futch and TJ Holmes took on the hurdles, posting the first two sub-50-second times of the collegiate season.

Roll the tape!

Shayla Sanders (22.95) and Michael Timpson Jr. (20.77) capped the afternoon track session with strong runs in the invite 200 meters. Both are ranked in the top 25 nationally in the 200, and Sanders' also checks in at No. 8 in the 100 meters (11.28)--which she also ran at Florida Relays.

Field events took no such break. McFarland threw a new PR (65.34 meters / 214 feet, 4 inches) for a second straight meet--moving up as the No. 4-ranked hammer thrower in school history. It also got him into a conversation about bowling with head coach Mike Holloway later in the night.

McFarland ranks 29th nationally and is, in all likelihood, bound for the NCAA East Preliminary.

Fun story: the airline Mexican hammer thrower Diego del Real took to the meet lost his luggage, leaving him without shoes. With the Gators hosting, McFarland knew he had an older pair he ceased using. They were a perfect fit. del Real won the competition with a world top-20 throw of 75.03 meters (246 feet, 2 inches).

Jontavia Dykes kept things rolling with a season-best of 49.35 meters (161 feet, 11 inches) in the discus throw--putting her in the NCAA East's top 40.

The night in the field concluded with redshirt senior Marija Vucenovic winning the javelin. The Serbian's national top-5 throw of 54.29 meters (178 feet, 1 inch) was the second-best season-opening mark of her career.

When action resumed on the track, senior Taylor Tubbs and sophomore Jack Guyton clocked massive PRs in the 1,500 meters. Tubbs (4:20.61) narrowly missed UF's All-Time Outdoor Top 10, while Guyton (3:43.63) cracked it at No. 6.

Guyton (left) strains to an SEC-leading time, while Tubbs celebrates her national top-30 with Coach Holloway.

Day two finished on the highest of notes, as Hannah Brookover broke two-time Olympian Genevieve LaCaze's nine-year-old freshman school record in the 3,000-meter steeplechase by two seconds (10:24.23). Brookover ranks 22nd nationally and eighth in the East.

Plus: water photos!

Get ready for it...


With business taken care of, day three was where the fun of the Pepsi Florida Relays came in, because it featured almost any relay one can imagine.

However, there were some field events to take care of first. Cameron collected her second national top-20 mark of the year, this time doing so in the shot put (16.90 meters / 55 feet, 5.5 inches). In the triple jump, Bates tied the No. 2 mark in the nation (16.31 meters / 53 feet, 6.25 inches) and David, the indoor national runner-up, posted the No. 3 mark in the country (13.52 meters / 44-42.5).

David (bottom) also became the No. 3-ranked outdoor triple jumper in school history.

We promised the fun stuff. How's an NCAA-leading 4x100 relay for a starter?

Michael Timpson Jr., Grant Holloway, Eric Futch, and Ryan Clark extended Florida's streak of consecutive seasons with a sub-39-second 4x100 relay team to 10--which is the longest active streak in the nation.

Florida's women ran a top-five national time (42.97) and became only the third quartet in school history to break 43 seconds in the 4x1. The Gators finished second only to Oregon's collegiate record-breaking time.

Prior to the 4x800 relays, Florida honored a pair of its record-breaking 4x8 teams. The women's quartet of Sandra Braasch, Sonja Braasch, Chris Crowther, and Susan Nash broke the indoor world record in 1986, while the men's team of Dedric Jones, Lewis Lacy, Stephen Adderly, and Scott Peters broke the indoor American record in 1992.

The newest Gators' 4x800 team of Guyton, Mac Reynolds, Ryan Schnulle, and Arroyo did the event justice, producing a dramatic finish.

Then, it was time. To be exact, it was 4x4 o'clock. The packed crowd adjusted accordingly.

Florida's team of Sharpe, Barnett, Gause, and Jefferson clocked the second-fastest time in school history and the No. 3-ranked time in the nation (3:27.33), garnering runner-up honors.

And finally, a fitting end to a meet that featured incredible feats and overwhelming excitement. Trust us, just wait for it...

Florida's time of 3:03.08 from Futch, Clark, Holmes, and Holloway ranks second nationally.

Coach Holloway's thoughts on this first month of the outdoor season?

But boy was it exhausting.

The Gators return to action Saturday (April 15) at the Horned Frogs Invitational in Fort Worth, Texas.

ANOTHER THANK YOU TO OUR PHOTO CREW: Aaron Albright (UAA Communications), Mark Brown (for UAA Communications), Tim Casey (UAA Communications), Courtney Culbreath (UAA Communications), Allison Curry (for UAA Communications), Matt Pendleton (for UAA Communications), Matt Stamey (for UAA Communications), Ashley Williams (UAA Communications)

Pepsi Florida Relays / Hurricane Collegiate Invitational Recaps:

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