Wednesday April 3, 2013Gators Set to Host 69th Annual Pepsi Florida Relays
The Florida track and field teams take to their home track this weekend to host the 69th Annual Pepsi Florida Relays, at the Percy Beard Track at James G. Pressly Stadium. The event takes place Thursday-Saturday, April 4-6. Events begin at 5 p.m. ET Thursday as only high school athletes will compete. Action begins Friday and Saturday at 10 a.m. ET.
Gates open an hour before competition on each day. Three-day passes for the Pepsi Florida Relays are on sale for $25. Daily admission is $12 for adults, $7 for seniors and children and $1 for UF students with a valid UF student ID. Fans can also purchase a Thursday-only pass for $6.
The official Twitter hashtag for the Pepsi Florida Relays is #FLRelays. Live video streaming can be found exclusively on Flotrack. The live stream will be available to all Flotrack Pro members. Live results for the meet may be found at www.deltatiming.com. Complete coverage of the Pepsi Florida Relays can be found at www.gatorzone.com/trackfield/floridarelays.
Many ranked teams will participate in the Pepsi Florida Relays, with the Gator men (No. 3) and women (No. 4) ranked highest among all competitors. Other NCAA Division I ranked programs on the menís side include No. 6 Florida State, No. 8 Southern California, No. 11 Ole Miss, No. 17 Indiana, No. 23 Baylor and No. 25 Oklahoma State. On the womenís side, ranked teams joining the Gators are No. 6 Texas, No. 12 UCF, No. 14 Baylor, No. 19 Georgia and No. 25 Southern California.
Senior Day will come early for the Orange and Blue, as the Gator senior class will be recognized at 4:20 p.m. ET Saturday afternoon between the conclusion of the menís 4x800-meter relay and the start of the womenís 4x200-meter relay.
For all of the latest information on Florida track and field, please log on to www.GatorZone.com/trackfield or, for up-to-the-minute updates, follow Florida track and field on Twitter at @GZTrackField or www.twitter.com/GZTrackField. You can also find the Gators on Facebook.
PEPSI FLORIDA RELAYS HISTORY
The Florida Relays first began 74 years ago in 1939, thanks to the vision and creativeness of the Gators' legendary head track and field coach Percy Beard. Since that first meet, the Pepsi Florida Relays have grown in epic proportions from the small regional competitions on April Foolsí Day that featured 209 competitors, to one of the nation's premier track and field meets.
Florida, Alabama, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Vanderbilt, the University of Havana and Palm Beach Junior College composed the university division of the inaugural Florida Relays, while Daytona Beach, Lake City, Live Oak, Miami Senior, Ocala, Palm Beach, Riverside Military Academy, Jacksonville Lee and St. Petersburg competed in the nine-team high school division.
The Florida Relays were established after the Southern Relays, held at Georgia Tech, were discontinued in the 1930s. Coach Beard was forced to create a new meet or travel hundreds of miles north to Philadelphia for the Penn Relays. Beard's coaching peers throughout the southeast were receptive to the idea and the Florida Relays were born.
Since its inception, the Pepsi Florida Relays has grown in both stature and size. Previously regarded nationally as the first major event of the collegiate outdoor track and field season, the Relays once swelled from a one-day inaugural event featuring slightly more than 200 athletes to a four-day extravaganza that attracted more than 3,000 athletes from the high school, collegiate and international ranks.
In 2007, a new era of the Pepsi Florida Relays began as the meet was shifted on the track and field calendar to the first weekend in April and the competition took place during the course of two days instead of four. With the 2013 Pepsi Florida Relays, the meet has been expanded to three days.
The Relays have been held every year since 1939 except during World War II (1942-46) and in 2006 when construction to facilities surrounding Percy Beard Track prevented the meet from being contested. The first 15 meets were held on the cinder track at Graham Field, south of Florida Field. In 1959, UF's track and field complex was moved to its present location.
The 1959 Florida Relays was a historical meet, as the University of Florida unveiled the first all-weather track surface in the world. The Asphalt grasstex surface was another of Coach Percy Beard's many track innovations. That surface remained in place until a nine-lane Chevron 400 rubberized surface was installed and a Rekortan surface was put in place during the summer of 1991.
Starting with the 2012 Pepsi Florida Relays, athletes have the benefit running on a completely renovated track. More than $725,000 was poured into a new Mondo surface, which included renovating the additional 30 feet of track space at the southwest corner of the stadium, installed in 2007.
The University of Florida campus will be a flurry of activity this Saturday and a free parking shuttle is available to deliver fans to all the athletic events along Stadium Road.
In addition to the annual Orange & Blue Debut, there will be plenty of other Gator teams in action over the weekend. NCAA Gymnastics Regionals are being held at the Stephen C. OíConnell Center Saturday beginning at 6 p.m. ET. The softball team hosts Mississippi State (Friday-Sunday), womenís tennis hosts Ole Miss (Friday) and Mississippi State (Sunday), the lacrosse team hosts an ALC showdown vs. No. 17 Johns Hopkins (Saturday), menís tennis plays host to Mississippi State (Sunday) and the annual Pepsi Florida Relays will be held at Percy Beard Track (Thursday-Saturday). In off-season action, the Florida volleyball team will host Professional Volleyball League team Florida WAVE at 3 p.m. Saturday.
On both Thursday and Friday, event parking is available in the OíConnell Center Garage, the Levin Law School and Fraternity Row on a first-come, first-serve basis.
On Saturday, fans are strongly encouraged to use the parking
shuttle to reach their destination.
Shuttle service from the commuter lot on Gale Lemerand Drive begins Saturday at 9 a.m. The buses will stop at the corner of Gale Lemerand Drive and Stadium Road near the south gate at the Lemerand Center adjacent to McKethan Stadium. The buses will also stop at the corner of Gale Lemerand Drive and Stadium Road near Gate 2 of the OíConnell Center for access to the gymnastics meet on Saturday. Fans heading to the Pepsi Florida Relays will be dropped off at the corner of Stadium Road and Woodlawn Drive by the Pressly Stadium.
The shuttles will run for 30 minutes following the conclusion of the event which is completed last. A map of the shuttle service can be found here.