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TRACK-FIELD

Not 1. Not 2. But 3: Florida men's track and field wins third straight NCAA national title

The Gators continued their national title streak Friday with a dramatic third straight championship in Men's Track and Field.

Noah Ram
Gainesville Sun

Florida found itself in an odd spot Friday night.

The Gators led for much of the 4x400m race in the Men's Track and Field NCAA National Championships in Eugene, Oregon.

As Jenoah McKiver took the baton from Rios Prude Jr., he began to lose ground from Texas A&M and Arkansas. He, and the Gators, eventually finished third in the race.

It was the best third-place finish this season.

That mark gained the six points necessary for UF to win its third consecutive national title in men's track and field at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon.

UF's track and field program has now won 15 national titles and seven outdoors. It's the 12th championship for the men's team, all of which have come under the reign of coach Mike Holloway.

"We built this program with a lot of pride and a lot of passion. When we talk about a standard that we fight to, that's what you saw today," Holloway said. "Every time something went wrong, somebody stepped up and got it done."

The Gators entered the 4x400m five points behind Auburn. It got just enough and finished with 41 points, one ahead of the Tigers 40.

Florida did not have an individual champion on the men's side, but it benefited from its depth. UF finished in the top five in five events and in the top eight in eight events.

Jun 5, 2024; Eugene, OR, USA; Robert Gregory takes the handoff from Malique Smith-Band on the anchor leg of Florida Gators 4 x 100m relay that won its heat in 38.45 during the NCAA Track and Field Championships at Hayward Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY ֱ

The best finish, and the most points, came from Robert Gregory who finished second in the 200m and garnered eight points.

Nearly every mark from UF was a season-best. Like last season, the Orange and Blue saved its best for last.

The Gators were ranked third in the country heading into nationals after a fourth-place finish at SECs, an event UF hosted this season. They overcame the odds, just like last year when UF won after a sixth-place finish at SECs.

Florida became the first program since Texas A&M from 2010-2012 to win three straight national titles. During that span, UF's indoor team won three straight, but it had never done so in outdoor despite back-to-back titles in 2012 and 2013 and 2016 and 2017.

Jun 7, 2024; Eugene, OR, USA; Florida coach men's coach Mike Holloway (right) is congratulated by athletic director Scott Stricklin after the Gators won the team title during the NCAA Track and Field Championships at Hayward Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY ֱ

The Gators have now won national titles in every season since the 2008-09 athletic season. That's 27 in total in 12 different sports. During that span, men's track and field has accounted for 12 of the 27.

Florida has now also won 48 total national titles, and men's outdoor track and field tied women's tennis for the most championships at UF with seven.

Noah Ram covers Gainesville-area high school sports and University of Florida athletics for The Gainesville Sun. Contact him atֱNram@gannett.comֱand follow himֱֱon Twitter.