OUR FORMCHART HAD PICKED Florida to win, but we warned that it would be a close one, down to the 4×4 perhaps. Texas, the Indoor champions, stood to be the strongest threat to the Gators.
However, we underestimated just how well coach Mike Holloway would have his team prepared for the Big Dance.
Texas started out in front, with an expected shot win on Wednesday. But on Friday, the Gators started chomping. A runner-up finish in the 4×1, then 14 points in the 100, 12 in the 400, and another 10 in the 200. All the while the Longhorns weren’t coming close to hitting their projected numbers. By the time the 4 x 400 came up on the schedule, it was already over. Yet that didn’t dissuade the Gator foursome from producing the No. 2 performance in collegiate history.
When the dust settled, Holloway’s squad, relying on pure sprint power, had piled up an impressive 54 points, with 34 of those coming in a dizzying 1-hour flurry. They finished 16 clear of Texas (38), with a tight battle for 3rd as Tennessee (34), Florida State (33), Georgia (32) and LSU (31) all came in close. This was done without any of the typical Gator scoring in the jumps.
“We have had a ton of success in the 100, the 200, the 400, the relays and I’m just disappointed that people don’t recognize that,” said Holloway. “We were better indoors and we showed up banged up.” Outdoors, Holloway says he told his men, “Trust me, you’re going to be fine. Just do what I asked you to do and we’ll come away with the national title.”
All smiles, the Olympic coach added, “They trusted me and now we’re national champs.”
MEN’S TEAM SCORES
(8 places scored 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1)
1. Florida 54;
2. Texas 38;
3. Tennessee 34;
4. Florida State 33;
5. Georgia 32;
6. LSU 31;
7. Princeton 27;
8. Stanford 24;
9. tie, North Carolina A&T & Texas Tech 22;
11. Alabama 21; 12. tie, USC & Washington 20; 14. Virginia 18; 15. Arizona State 17; 16. tie, Oklahoma & TCU 14; 18. tie, Baylor, Cal, Houston, Minnesota & Oklahoma State 13;
23. tie, Arkansas & Northern Arizona 12; 25. tie, Montana State, Oregon, Texas A&M, UT Arlington & Wisconsin 11;
30. tie, Mississippi State, Notre Dame, Penn, Kansas State, Southeast Missouri & Eastern Kentucky 10; 36. tie, Wichita State, Clemson & Kentucky 9;
39. tie, Michigan State, Mississippi, Penn State, BYU, Iowa & Sam Houston 8; 45. Stephen F. Austin 7; 46. tie, Michigan, Ohio State, Auburn & Georgetown 6; 50. tie, Miami, Wake Forest, Iowa State & Missouri 5; 54. tie, Villanova, Air Force, Northern Iowa, Washington State & Campbell 4; 59. tie, Rutgers, Illinois, Illinois State, Nebraska & Tulsa 3; 64. tie, Kansas, UTEP, Charlotte & Louisville 2; 68. tie, North Carolina, South Alabama, Abilene Christian, Prairie View & Lipscomb 1.