No. 1 Florida Gators men’s track & field made history on Saturday by winning their third-straight national title at the 2012 NCAA Indoor Championships at Jacksons Indoor Track in Nampa, ID.
Florida posted 52 team points for the second-straight year to defeat the remaining top four including Arkansas (47), Arizona (41), Arizona State (31) and LSU (27).
With the victory, UF Mike Holloway became the third head coach in NCAA history to lead his team to at least three-straight men’s track & field titles, joining Arkansas’ John McDonnell and UTEP’s Ted Banks.
Leading the way for the Gators were individual national championship performances by juniors sprinter Jeff Demps and jumper Omar Craddock.
Demps won the 60-meter dash for the third-straight season with a time of 6.56 seconds, 0.04 seconds slower than the 6.52-second time that he achieved in the preliminaries on Friday. Demps’ 6.52-second run was not only a personal best but also a school record and collegiate-leading time. He posted four of the top five collegiate times in 2012 and became the first three-time champion in the event since Pittsburgh’s lee McCray won the 55-meter dash in 1986-88. Demps remains the only Florida athlete to ever win the event.
Craddock captured the triple jump with a personal-best distance of 16.75m/54-11.50, making it four years in a row that an athlete representing the Gators won the event (Christian Taylor, Will Claye).
Senior heptathlete Gray Horn was also in the process of winning an individual national title for Florida when he went down with an injury and was forced to withdraw from the men’s heptathalon. At the time of his withdrawal, Horn was up 18 points on his fellow competitors with two events to go.
Though the indoor season is now over for the Gators, the 2012 outdoor track and field season begins next Saturday with the UCF Black and Gold Challenge on March 17.