Thursday October 25, 2012Florida Track & Field Announces Stellar 2013 Schedule
The University of Florida track & field program has scheduled an impressive 2013 slate, announced by head coach Mike Holloway on Thursday.
“We are very excited about this year’s schedule,” Holloway said. “The schedule gives us a chance to see some of the best competition in the country during the regular season, which is very important as we prepare for the championship season that starts with the SEC Championships.
“Indoors is more about running special times during the regular season and with the slate of meets we have on fast facilities, such as Arkansas, Nebraska, Virginia Tech and Washington, our student-athletes have a great opportunity to achieve the marks we will need to qualify for the NCAA Championships,” Holloway continued.
“We are having a great fall of training and are looking forward to a very competitive 2013 season and the opportunity to make the Gator Nation proud of our track and field programs,” Holloway finished.
The Gators are coming off one of their best years in program history, as the men swept the NCAA Indoor and Outdoor Track & Field Championships and the women won their second SEC Indoor title in three years.
Florida begins the indoor season at the Crimson Tide Indoor Opener, hosted by the University of Alabama at the CrossPlex Indoor Track in Birmingham, Ala. The one-day meet, held on Saturday, Jan. 12, will have familiar faces participating as SEC foes Alabama, Auburn, NCAA women’s champion and men’s runner-up LSU, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and in-state opponent and NCAA top-five finisher Florida State will all compete in Birmingham to open the season.
The following weekend, the Gators return home to host the Gator Invite on Thursday, Jan. 17, at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center. Last year, the Orange and Blue claimed six titles, including SEC Champion and All-American Jeremy Postin (Andover, Kan.), who set the Florida school record in the weight throw at the meet. The one-day competition is Florida’s lone home meet of the indoor season.
Florida then travels to the Razorback Invite, Jan. 25-26. The two-day meet takes place at the Randal Tyson Track Center, home of the 2013 SEC and NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships. This will be the first of four trips to Fayetteville for the Orange and Blue, who haven’t stepped foot in Arkansas since the 2011 SEC Indoor Championships, which the Gator men claimed over the host Razorbacks by 11.50 points.
The next two weekends include split meets for the Gators, who will send two separate groups to compete the weekends of Feb. 1-2 and Feb. 8-9. Florida travels to the 38th Annual Frank Sevigne Husker Invitational in Lincoln, Neb. and the New Balance Collegiate Invitational in New York, NY on Feb. 1-2. The Gators have not competed in the Frank Sevigne Husker Invitational since the 2004 season and last participated in the New Balance Collegiate Invitational in 2011.
The Gators had strong showings at both the Flotrack Husky Classic and the Virginia Tech Elite Meet last season and will look to do the same the weekend of Feb. 8-9. Juniors Cory McGee (Pass Christian, Miss.) and Agata Strausa (Riga, Latvia) ran their way into the Florida record books as sophomores, as McGee automatically qualified for the 2012 NCAA Indoor Championships in the mile with her time of 4:34.06, and Strausa turned in a time of 9:17.62 in her first race as a Gator to come in at second all-time at Florida in the women’s 3,000 meters.
The Orange and Blue will take the next weekend off in preparation for the 2013 SEC Indoor Track & Field Championships, hosted by the University of Arkansas. The three-day meet will take place Thursday-Saturday, Feb. 22-24. The Florida women are the defending SEC Indoor Champions and have won seven SEC Indoor titles overall, including two in the last three seasons.
Florida will use the first weekend in March as a last chance opportunity, participating in the Alex Wilson Invitational in South Bend, Ind. and the Virginia Tech Qualifier in Blacksburg, Va. Both two-day meets will take place Friday-Saturday, March 1-2.
The Gators return to Randal Tyson Track Center to participate in the 2013 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships, Friday-Saturday, March 8-9. The Florida men are the three-time defending NCAA Indoor Champions and are the third program in NCAA history to win three consecutive NCAA Indoor Men’s Track & Field Championships. Florida’s men claimed the 2010 NCAA Indoor Championship at Randal Tyson Track Center and are sure to be familiar with the track as it will be the Gators’ third trip to the facility in 2013. Florida returns NCAA Indoor Champion in the men’s triple jump, Omar Craddock (Killeen, Texas), in 2013.
Florida wastes no time jumping into the 2013 outdoor season as they compete in the UCF Black and Gold Challenge on Friday, March 16. The Gators will split the following weekend for in-state meets as the Orange and Blue travel to the UCF Invitational and the 34th Annual FSU Relays. Both meets take place Friday and Saturday, March 22-23.
The next weekend will be pivotal for the Gators as they compete in the 86th Annual Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays. The four-day meet begins on Wednesday, March 27 and concludes on Saturday, March 30. A Gator contingent will also compete at the Best Western North Florida Invitational, Friday-Saturday, March 29-30.
The Gators return to the Sunshine State for a stretch in April to host their two home meets of the outdoor season at Percy Beard Track at James G. Pressly Stadium. Florida hosts the 69th Annual Pepsi Florida Relays, which has been stretched to a three-day meet. Competition will commence on Thursday, April 4 and conclude on Saturday, April 6. The Florida Relays saw nearly 3,500 fans in both days of competition a year ago and will look for the same atmosphere as a three-day event in 2013.
Florida will send a corps to the Seminole Invitational, April 12-13, in Tallahassee, Fla. before returning home to host the Sixth Annual Tom Jones Memorial Classic on Saturday, April 20. The same weekend, the Gators will take a small group to the Mt. SAC Relays in Walnut, Calif. on Thursday and Friday, April 18-19.
The Gators are scattered the following weekend as they return to Fayetteville, Ark. for the Arkansas Spring Invitational at John McDonnell Field on Friday, April 26. The same weekend, a contingent of Florida athletes will head to Palo Alto, Calif. for the Payton Jordan Invitational, hosted by Stanford University on Sunday, April 28.
Last year at the Payton Jordan Invitational, four Gator athletes ran lifetime bests at the time in their respective events, including McGee (4:12.61 – 1,500 meters, qualified for U.S. Olympic Trials), Strausa (4:15.92 – 1,500 meters), and Shelby Hayes (Winter Park, Fla.) (4:19.72 – 1,500 meters). Gator Olympian Genevieve LaCaze ran 9:55.44 in the women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase, a PR at the time, leading up to her unbelievable performance at the SEC Outdoor Championships.
Both meets will serve as a tune-up for the 2013 SEC Outdoor Track & Field Championships, hosted by the University of Missouri. The four-day meet will run from Thursday-Sunday, May 9-12 at Audrey J. Walton Stadium in Columbia, Mo. It will be the first SEC Championship to be held on Mizzou’s campus.
The Gators will head into the NCAA Championship portion of their outdoor season by competing at the NCAA East Preliminary Round in late May, competing Thursday-Saturday, May 23-25. Last year, the Gators qualified 17 individuals and two relays through the NCAA East Preliminary Round, as well as heptathlete Brittany Harrell (McComb, Miss.) who qualified at the Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays.
The final round of the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships will take place at famed Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon. Competition will begin on Wednesday, June 5 and run through Saturday, June 8. Eugene, Ore. has played host to 10 NCAA Outdoor Championships since 1962, the most of any venue in modern history. It is also the only facility to host three consecutive U.S. Olympic Trials (1972, 1976, 1980) and housed the 2008 and 2012 U.S. Olympic Track and Field Team Trials. Six U.S. Championships have taken place at Hayward, including recent events in 1999, 2001 and 2009.
The Gator men are the defending NCAA Outdoor Champions, scoring 50 points to overtake SEC foe LSU in the final event of the meet at Drake Stadium, the men’s 4x400-meter relay. The Florida women finished in a tie for 12th in Des Moines and will look to improve on their standing in 2013.
The Orange and Blue not only return Craddock, who was also the NCAA Outdoor Champion in the men’s triple jump, but will welcome back three of four members of the NCAA Outdoor Champion men’s 4x400-meter relay squad in Dedric Dukes (Miami, Fla.) and Hugh Graham, Jr. (Miami, Fla.) and Leonardo Seymore (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.).
For all of the latest information on Florida track and field, log on to www.GatorZone.com/trackfield or, for up-to-the-minute updates, follow the team’s Twitter account @GZTrackField or www.twitter.com/GZTrackField. You can also find the Gators on Facebook.