A Week in Eugene Looking back at the best photos and videos from Florida's 8-day NCAA Outdoors experience

Florida traveled to the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Ore., seeking a three-peat on the men's side, and its first top-four finish on the women's side since 2014. The men left with a silver trophy, and the women came four points shy of earning a coveted spot on the infield, but the future looks bright as ever on both sides.

And, as a whole, the Gators' 2018 season was successful to say the least.

After all, the program's lengthy list of achievements this year includes:

  • Florida's men won the NCAA Indoor Championships for the first time since 2012, marking their eighth overall national title since 2010--a figure that leads Division I by three during that span
  • That title also made Florida's men the fourth program in Division I history to win four indoor and outdoor NCAA titles, and the only program to accomplish the feat since 2010
  • Florida's women took fourth at the NCAA Indoor Championships, securing their first team trophy since 2015
  • The Gators swept the SEC Outdoor Championships men's and women's titles for the first time in program history
  • Florida's SEC Outdoors sweep was just the fourth by any program since 1991
  • Florida's men posted their 20th and 21st top-2 finishes in their 31st and 32nd NCAA Championship meets under head coach Mike Holloway--no other program has more than nine such finishes since 2003, his first year as men's head coach
  • The Gators' men posted their 10th consecutive top-3 finish at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, breaking a tie with Arkansas (1992-2000) for the third-longest streak in meet history
  • Florida's women finished in the top five at NCAA Outdoors for the third time in the last five seasons, and it had consecutive top-5 finishes for the second time in school history

"We've got a lot of freshmen, sophomores, and juniors contributing," Coach Holloway said following the meet. "The future is very, very bright for us."

The numbers back him up.

Of the 84 total points Florida scored at the outdoor meet (42 on each side), 63 came from non-seniors. That figure includes the Gators' three NCAA-scoring relay teams, which featured one senior between them. Plus, four Gators who qualified for nationals and narrowly missed finals have eligibility remaining--three were underclassmen this year.

More sunny days are indeed on the horizon for Florida, but before getting there, let's take a look back at all the fun the 2018 Gators had in Eugene. Make sure you stick around for the awards photos. (Wink, wink.)


Saturday, June 2 saw the Gators charter to Eugene, and the women's team made sure to bring their blankets.

The men's team forgot blankets, but they didn't seem too concerned.

Except for Kunle Fasasi and Jabari Hill. Jabari looks like he accidentally grabbed a veggie sandwich.

Sunday was a lighthearted day of training for the Gators, a number of whom had the day off entirely. That led to some rather interesting and hilarious moments, like senior thrower Lloydricia Cameron taking on the long jump.

Don't worry, LoLo's telling everyone, that was a one-time thing.

Junior jumper Yanis David, always one to shine for the cameras, had quite a laugh and flashed some dance moves after LoLo (sort of) taught senior jumper Darrielle McQueen how to throw the shot.

Quarter-milers Sharrika Barnett and Taylor Sharpe didn't want in on the action, but they definitely enjoyed re-watching everyone's comical moments.

There were Spectacles, laughs, and more than a few games of Heads Up!

On to Monday they went.

Monday and Tuesday afternoon, the Gators made their final preparations at Historic Hayward Field. And everyone's shirt game was strong.

Yanis waited giddily a whole year to rock the Spectacles again.

Freshman Cory Poole opted for an interesting reading selection following his training session.

And with that, the stage was set.


Wednesday saw the Gators open the NCAA Outdoor Championships with a pair of massive personal records and a dramatic seventh-to-second leaderboard climb in the hammer throw, with those performances amounting to 11 team points.

First up was redshirt junior AJ McFarland, who entered the day with a personal best of 68.14 meters (223 feet, 6 inches). On his third throw, McFarland uncorked a 70.89-meter (232 feet, 7 inches) throw, putting him (after about an hour wait) comfortably into the 9-man final.

The PR McFarland entered the competition with would have only put him 13th in the standings, meaning he would have missed the final by more than six feet.

On his first throw of the final, McFarland PRed again, and his mark of 71.29 meters (233 feet, 10 inches) held up for eighth place. In summation, McFarland increased his personal record by over 10 feet.

Junior Anders Eriksson and freshman Thomas Mardal were in the second (and stronger) flight. Mardal opened the competition with the mark that earned him a seventh-place finish (72.20 meters / 236 feet, 10 inches).

Eriksson comfortably made the final, but he sat in seventh place entering his sixth throw. There was just one word to appropriately describe his last heave: clutch. His reaction (and McFarland's) was pure excitement.

Eriksson's finish matched Jeremy Postin (2012) for the best in school history.
Together, these Gators were just the sixth trio of hammer throwers since 1966 to score at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.

First on the track was the Gators' 4x100 relay preliminary. Junior Michael Timpson Jr., freshman Chantz Sawyers, sophomore Grant Holloway, and junior Ryan Clark combined for what would end up being the second-fastest collegiate time for 2018, and tied the third-fastest time in school history (38.49 seconds).

Next came the 110-meter hurdles prelim. Holloway easily qualified for the final, and Poole looked well on his way to doing so. However, Poole clipped a hurdle near the midway through his race, derailing his chance of advancing.

Sawyers, another one of Florida's up-and-coming freshmen talents, missed a loaded 400 meters final (one that took a sub-45-second time to qualify for) but matched his personal record of 45.40 seconds. Sawyers came to Florida with a PR of 46.35 seconds.

Poole came back in the 400 hurdles later in the evening, missing the final by 0.19 seconds despite producing the eighth-fastest overall time of the preliminary round (50.68 seconds).

Back in the field, senior KeAndre Bates scored two points with a seventh-place finish in the long jump, while Holloway endured a heartbreaking ninth-place finish.

Bates joined Dion Bentley (1990, 1993-94) and Mike Morrison (2004-06) as the only other men's long jumpers in school history to score at three NCAA Outdoors.

Day One ended in the same fashion every day at NCAA Outdoors does: with a 4x400 relay race.

Florida's 4x400 relay quartet of Kunle Fasasi, Sawyers, Benjamin Lobo Vedel, and Holloway advanced to the final with the third-fastest overall time of an insanely-fast preliminary round (3:01.61).


Thursday saw the women take center stage, with the Gators producing 17 points across three field events.

Jumpers Darrielle McQueen and Yanis David opened the scoring.

McQueen took second place (even briefly leading the competition at one point) and tied the best finish in school history. David finished fourth, missing the bronze medal by just two centimeters.

David (left) and McQueen (right) were just the fourth duo in history to finish fourth or higher at NCAA Outdoors

While the jumpers piled up 13 points, sixth-year senior javelin Avione Allgood locked in for her final collegiate competition, eyeing a storybook ending to her incredible comeback.

Allgood's sock game is always on point.

Allgood finished sixth, tallying three points for the Gators. The best finish of her career came in 2014, when she took second as a sophomore at Oklahoma. But after returning from shoulder and elbow surgery, and winning an SEC title 11 days after sustaining severe road rash on her hands and knees from a motorcycle accident, it would be hard to call her 2018 season anything but inspirational and successful.

Shortly thereafter, Lloydricia Cameron added a point with an eighth-place finish in the shot put.

It was far from her best performance, but she and Allgood had plenty to be proud of as they reflected on the totality of their collegiate careers.

Thanks for everything, LoLo and Avione!

On the track, junior quarter-miler Sharrika Barnett, freshman 400-meter-hurdler Nikki Stephens (more on her later), and the Gators' 4x400 relay team all qualified for Saturday finals.

The day also had a pair of near-misses, though. Sophomore Brandee' Johnson had the eighth-fastest preliminary time but missed the 400 hurdles final, and freshman Taylor Manson finished 0.14 seconds out of the 400 meters final.


The men retook the stage Friday, with the Gators' 4x100 relay team opening the day by earning a bronze medal, making it the program's highest NCAA finish since winning consecutive titles in 2013 and 2014.

From L to R: Michael Timpson Jr., Chantz Sawyers, Grant Holloway, Ryan Clark.

Holloway came back 40 minutes later and defended his 110-meter hurdles title in a photo finish.

Holloway started fast and looked as though he'd run away with the race by the midway point.

Buuuutttt it got close...

Let's zoom out to see why he glanced to his right...

Photo by Kirby Lee

Holloway edged Illinois' David Kendziera by one hundredth of a second to become the second man in history to sweep the indoor and outdoor hurdles NCAA titles two years in a row.

In the field, redshirt junior Jhonny Victor scored for a second consecutive year in the high jump, taking eighth place. The Orlando, Fla., product became the third high jumper in school history to score at multiple NCAA Outdoors.

Sophomore Clayton Brown came painfully close to clearing 2.18 meters (7 feet, 1.75 inches), which would have kept him in the scoring hunt.

By that time, however, Brown had to go back and forth between the high jump and triple jump--a tall order to say the least. The Jamaican salvaged a point in the latter event, though.

Also in the triple jump, KeAndre Bates closed out one of the most storied careers by a Florida horizontal jumper. It didn't end with a title, but Bates collected bronze for his ninth career top-three finish at an NCAA meet.

Bates also joined two-time Olympic gold medalist and three-time world champion Christian Taylor (2009-11) as the only other triple jumper in school history to medal at three NCAA Outdoors. Impressive company, to say the least.

And Florida's 4x400 relay squad closed out the men's portion of the meet in fourth place, running 3:01.83 and securing a runner-up finish for the Gators as a team.

From L to R: Benjamin Lobo Vedel, Kunle Fasasi, Grant Holloway, Chantz Sawyers.


The final day of competition for the Gators began in (relative) isolation, as freshman Amanda Froeynes took on the fifth and sixth of seven events in the heptathlon. Froeynes entered Saturday with a career-best 3,365 points through four events.

Froeynes' personal bests in the high jump and shot put propelled her to the best opening day of her career.

Froeynes is known as a closer in the heptathlon, with the final two events (javelin and 800 meters) being her best. Froeynes moved from 17th to 15th following the long jump, then rose all the way to ninth after a 28-centimeter personal record on a fourth javelin throw, which was awarded via a protest of an earlier throw erroneously ruled a foul.

Froeynes closed the two-day, seven-discipline event with a personal best in the 800 meters. The Norwegian rose all the way to fifth, equaling the third-best NCAA Outdoors finish in school history. Her total score of 5,794 points just missed the school record and ranks second in program history.

And yes, in case you were wondering, she was tired.


Next in the highlights, Sharrika Barnett, who took fourth in the 400 meters, marking the best finish by a Gator since 2005.

Though it wasn't quite the ending she'd hoped for, Barnett ended the year with an SEC Outdoor title and a school record. Barnett dropped her personal best by just under a full second to break UF's 13-year-old outdoor 400 meters record.

Then there was Nikki Stephens.

Stephens started the year in the multis, placing seventh in the pentathlon at SEC Indoors and becoming the No. 6-ranked heptathlete in school history at the Texas Relays. Midway through the outdoor season, Stephens transitioned to the 400 hurdles, an event she'd never run previously.

The Seattle native hit a hurdle and was disqualified in the SEC Outdoors final, but she set a PR of 57.21 seconds at the NCAA East Preliminary to qualify for Eugene. Stephens went on to finish sixth in the NCAA Outdoors final, which was just her seventh-ever 400 hurdles race.

Quite a year indeed.

There was a little bit of rain the final day. Well, actually, quite a bit more than a little. Though at one point there was hail. The triple jumpers endured the worst of it.

McQueen (pictured above) battled the conditions and finished eighth.

David, a two-time bronze medalist at NCAA Outdoors, took silver this time around. For a moment, though, she thought her sixth jump was enough to dethrone collegiate record holder Keturah Orji. She was a mere nine centimeters short.

David was once again the only legitimate challenger to Orji, as the Lamentin, Guadeloupe native finished a foot clear of the bronze medalist.

Even amidst her frustration, David was sportsmanlike as ever and congratulated Orji on a fourth consecutive outdoor national title.

The Gators closed the meet with their 4x400 relay team of Taylor Manson, Barnett, Stephens, and senior Taylor Sharpe combining for a fifth-place finish, which clinched a second consecutive fifth-place finish in the team standings as well.


We promised you the good stuff, and here it is! The award ceremony photos. It rained for both, but nothing could put a damper on these festivities. Especially not Yanis.

And Yanis and Darrielle got one last photo together. (Teardrop emoji)

A big chomp from Amanda, and a huge smile from Nikki.

We aren't quite sure what Michael Timpson Jr. is doing in this one...

Feel free to create y our own captions for this one (laughing emoji).

"See that, Michael? We got that last funny face on camera," said Grant Holloway (probably).

Let's dispatch with the jokes momentarily to give the 4x1 squad their due for a third-place finish.

Plenty of #HappyGators on the 4x4 podium as well.

Hey, Grant, how many national titles do you have? Asking for friends.

Some more podium action for the Gators.

Bates (top), Brown (left) and Victor (right).

And, for one last time in a Florida uniform, that bright KeAndre Bates smile, with a trophy in hand. (Oh, and Coach Petersen with an excellent photo bomb.)

Time to box it up and bring it home. See everyone next year in Austin, Texas.


Photos by Alex de la Osa.

GatorVision highlights, daily recaps shot and produced by Jake "Bubba" Young.

@GatorsTF Instagram Story, and @FloridaGators.com Snapchat content by Yanna Pantelis.

@GatorsTF Twitter posts and Adobe Spark story written and assembled by Zach Dirlam, assistant director of communications.

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