NCAA Men’s Champs — Florida Repeats In Driver’s Seat

Mike Holloway’s Gators made their own luck, scoring in the 100, 200, 400, long jump and triple jump. (KIRBY LEE/IMAGE OF SPORT)

AUSTIN, TEXAS, June 07-09 — Mike Holloway led Florida to the first repeat men’s team title since his Gators pulled off the feat in ’16 & ’17. Holloway — the Tokyo Olympics USA men’s head now with 20 seasons at the helm in Gainesville under his belt — added to a collection of Gator outdoor team crowns that includes an outright win in ’12 and a tie for the top spot in ’13.

“I’m extremely proud of everybody,” Holloway said, basking in the joy of his team’s topping the podium for a sixth time. “Everybody contributed. It was an amazing week. We trust each other, and we put a lot of faith in each other. At the end of the day, this is for the guys, and I’m blessed to be their coach.”

Holloway’s ”Chomp!” crew inflicted gaping bite marks on our predictions, upending Chris Bucknam’s chart favorite Arkansas Razorbacks 57–53 as Stanford (44), LSU (43) and Arizona State (41) also turned in top-5 point tallies that highlighted how fickle the predictions biz can be.

Perhaps more so than ever at this NCAA. Our formchart correctly IDed just 5 of 21 event winners. Can we blame it on athletes defying expectations? Such “defiance” felt contagious in Austin. “Great theater, though,” mused one close observer who has been following this meet for 6-plus decades.

Surely it was. Our chart had Florida 3rd with 48 points and Arkansas, at 69 primed for a 20-point margin over Georgia in 2nd. Florida got it done on pickups: On day 1 it was a single point in the long jump, soph Malcolm Clemons taking 4th on the runway.

Then on Friday came 4 uncharted century points from senior PJ Austin. A loss versus the chart of 3 in the 200 was more than covered by an 8-point gain in the 400 from soph Emmanuel Bamidele’s stretch run to the title with favored Ryan Willie 2nd.

Florida had “held serve” in the 4×1 and lost just a point versus the chart in the TJ where Sean Dixon-Bodie placed 4th.

Maximize successes, minimize mistakes. The Gators did so in a blinder of a 4×4 win that was expected yet clipped time from their own Collegiate Record.

Had that climactic relay played out disastrously, say with a DNF, Arkansas had a chance. Of the outside variety. A crucial stroke of misfortune for the Razorbacks turned on favorite Ayden Owens-Delerme’s not advancing to the 400H final.

The decathlon winner in ’22, this year he opted for the hurdles, and won the race at the SEC. That earned him fave status in our book. The lost 10 points was all the swing the Gators needed to repeat.

Keeping with recent protocol, the meet was staged over 4 days with men’s events on 3 of them: Wednesday mostly prelims, Thursday decathlon, Friday finals-only. Tickets sold: 5741/5721/8247 (and 7430 on Saturday for women’s finals). Daily high temperatures were in the low-to-mid 90s with humidity. A June 08 lightning delay of about 2 hours set back the schedule of the decathlon discus and subsequent second-day multi events.


1. Florida 57

2. Arkansas 53

3. Stanford 44

4. LSU 43

5. Arizona State 41

6. Texas Tech 34½

7. Georgia 28

8. Alabama 27

9. Washington 26½

10. BYU 22½

11. tie, Harvard & Virginia 21; 13. Texas 18; 14. Houston 17.33; 15. tie, Florida State & Wisconsin 17; 17. tie, Arizona & Nebraska 16; 19. Baylor 15.33; 20. Minnesota 15; 21. Miami 13; 22. tie, Oklahoma, Tennessee & Texas A&M 11; 25. tie, South Alabama & South Florida 10; 27. tie, Oklahoma State, Penn State & USC 9; 30. tie, Akron & Montana State 8; 32. tie, Cal, Louisville, Mississippi State & North Carolina 7; 36. Kentucky 6.33; 37. tie, Cincinnati, Iowa, Missouri, Ohio State, Syracuse, UCLA & UTEP 6; 44. tie, Gonzaga, South Carolina & Wake Forest 5; 47. tie, Alabama State, Clemson, Drake, Fairleigh Dickinson, Kansas, Liberty, Michigan State & Notre Dame 4; 55. tie, Eastern Kentucky, North Carolina A&T, Navy, Northern Arizona & Southeastern Louisiana 3; 60. Princeton 2½; 61. tie, Butler, Cal Poly, Iowa State, Mississippi, Oregon, UTSA & Villanova 2; 68. tie, Auburn & Southern Utah 1.