ON OUR FINAL premeet formchart we absolutely nailed it when the by-event predictions forecast that the team race would be over before the 4×4 rolled around. The only problem with our prognosticating is that we had the wrong team wrapping it up early. No shame in that — most everyone else outside of Gainesville made the same mistake.
It was Mike Holloway’s Florida team that produced multiple clutch performances in racking up a 10-point win over the favored Longhorns of Texas.
Jasmine Moore’s horizontal jumps double might have been expected, coming as a replay of her indoor wins. But the Gators had lost surefire points producer Grace Stark, the Indoor hurdles champ. That’s where Anna Hall became key. The indoor pentathlon winner, heavily favored for the multi win after taking the USA title, came to Holloway with a daring suggestion: “I said I wanted to run in multiple events and try and help the team score as many points as possible.” It took some convincing, but Holloway let her try the daunting interleaved 400H/heptathlon double.
On Saturday, the first big win came from Talitha Diggs, who reprised her Indoor title run. Then the Gators produced multiple scorers in the 800, the 400H and the heptathlon, where Hall’s heroics further inspired the team. Add to the point total 13 from the triple jump to go along with 14 from Thursday’s long jump. That left it to Parker Valby, running to a surprising 2nd in the 5000, to clinch the title. Good thing, as the Gators failed to score in the 4×4.
Said Holloway, “Every body just bought in. We kept fighting and fighting. Nobody ever blinked, and wow!, we’re national champions.” The Gators, with their 74 points, became the first team since Oregon ’15 to capture men’s and women’s crowns in the same meet, and one of only four schools to have ever done so.
WOMEN’S TEAM SCORES
1. Florida 74;
2. Texas 64;
3. Kentucky 50;
4. tie, LSU & Texas A&M 39;
6. Arkansas 38;
7. Texas Tech 36;
8. Arizona State 28;
9. tie, BYU & Colorado 21;
11. Oregon 20; 12. Ohio State 19; 13. Stanford 17; 14. Nebraska 16; 15. tie, Oklahoma State & Alabama 15; 17. tie, NC State & Virginia Tech 14; 19. tie, Mississippi & Villanova 13; 21. tie, Cal & Duke 12; 23. tie, North Carolina A&T & South Carolina 11; 25. tie, Middle Tennessee State, Boise State, Washington, Florida State & Louisville 10; 30. tie, Michigan State, Yale, Kansas, Rice, Texas State & USC 8;
36. New Mexico 7; 37. tie, North Carolina, West Virginia, Baylor & Wisconsin 6; 41. tie, Virginia, Oklahoma, UCLA & Florida International, 5; 45. tie, Ball State, Cornell, Georgia & Kennesaw State 4; 49. tie, Princeton, Vanderbilt, Colorado State, Minnesota, Oregon State, Binghamton, High Point & Howard 3; 57. tie, Miami, Providence, UCF, Southern Illinois & Coastal Carolina 2; 62. tie, Tennessee, Abilene Christian, Arizona, Iowa State, Washington State, Auburn, East Carolina & Georgetown 1.