The Florida Gators track and field team traveled to Eugene, Oregon this past week to compete in the NCAA Outdoor National Championships.
Things got rolling on Wednesday, as the men qualified all but two entries into the finals on Friday. The women followed on Thursday as they also qualified all but two entries into the finals.
The men got things moving on championship Friday taking home second place in the 4x100m relay. The team of Dedrick Vanover, Tyler Davis, PJ Austin and Joseph Fahnbulleh moved the stick around in 38.52 seconds to get the gators on the board with eight points.
Next came the 100m & 400m races, huge events for Florida. In the 100m, Joseph Fahnbulleh took the win in 10.00 seconds (+0.6). This is a personal best for Fahnbulleh and his first title in the event. Senior Dedrick Vanover came through the line in fifth at 10.16 seconds (+0.6) to add four points to the team score. Fahnbulleh and Vanover, who also ran in the 4x100m relay race, combine for 14 points in this event.
Next came the 400m with Champion Allison and Ryan Willie. Allison, who set a new school record in the semifinal, goes around the track in 44.41 seconds finishing in second while Willie came through in 45.00 seconds to take fifth place. This time for Ryan Willie is a personal best. The duo added 12 more crucial points to the team score for Florida.
The 200m was the penultimate event for the Gators, and reigning NCAA outdoor champion Joseph Fahnbulleh delivered. Fahnbulleh defended his title in the race as he ran a new personal best of 19.83 seconds and taking home another win. After this race, the team title was looking very hopeful for the men out of Gainesville.
The last event for the men was the 4x400m relay race. The gators ran the collegiate record holding squad of Jacory Patterson, Ryan Willie, Jacob Miley and Champion Allison. On the biggest stage, the quartet ran 2:58.88 which is a meet and facility record. Champion Allison anchored and put an exclamation mark on the team title for the gators.
The women took the stage on championship Saturday looking to defend their NCAA indoor title. Florida already had 14 points on the board thanks to Jasmine Moore and Claire Bryant placing first and fifth in the long jump.
The first final for the women on Saturday was the triple jump, an event the Gators have dominated all year. On her third attempt, Jasmine Moore landed at 14.32m (+0.2) which ended up winning her the gold. Natricia Hooper also placed in sixth for Florida with a jump of 13.44m (+0.9). Hooper & Moore combined for 13 points.
The first running event for the women was the 400m. Talitha Diggs, looking to defend her indoor 400m title, took the track and ran the quarter in 49.99 seconds, a personal best and beating everyone else in the field by over a half second.
Next up on the track was the 800m for the women, and the Gators had two competitors in the race. Imogen Barrett took fourth in 2:02.05 and Gabrielle Wilkinson finished in ninth with a time of 2:06.40.
Following the 800, the Gators had two more finalists in the 400mH. Anna Hall ended up in second as she came through the line in 54.76 adding eight more points to the team score. Vanessa Watson finished in seventh adding on two more points.
The heptathlon also concluded shortly after the 400mH. Anna Hall continued her usual domination taking home first place with a score of 6385. Sterling Lester finished her season with a personal best of 5751, placing her in fifth. These two helped the gators clinch at least a tie for the team title.
Next up was the 5000-meter race, and Florida needed just a single point out of freshman Parker Valby, and she did more than that. Valby finished the 12.5 laps around the track in 15:20.10, a big-time personal best and adding eight points to the team score to clinch the women’s team title for the Gators.
This is the first women’s outdoor title in program history. The Florida women end the year with 11 new school records, both indoor and outdoor national titles and an SEC outdoor title.
This was just the seventh sweep of both Men’s and Women’s Outdoor team titles in the same year, and the first since 2015.
Feature Photo Credit: @GatorsTF on Twitter