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Saturday, April 20, 2024

It was deja vu in Tallahassee for the UF track and field teams this weekend.

When all was said and done in the NCAA East Regional on Saturday, the Gators had matched their regional finishes from a year ago with the men placing second and the women placing third.

UF won six events on the day. In all, 14 athletes and all three relays qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Des Moines, Iowa, on June 11-14.

"We had a great weekend overall," said coach Mike Holloway. "I'm very proud of both teams. We stress being a quality team across the board, they went out and got the job done today. To win six events and compete well in a lot of other events, speaks volumes of both of these teams."

The women's team finished with 82 points on the weekend, scoring 60 points on Saturday alone. It was a major improvement from the year before, when the squad tallied just 49 points in their third-place finish.

Lakecia Ealey led the way for the Gators, winning the 100-meter dash just an hour after helping UF defend its title in the women's 4x100-meter relay. Ealey, Abigail David, Dominique McLeggan and Natalie Knight circled the oval in 43.79 seconds, their second-fastest time of the year.

Mariam Kevkhishvhili also claimed the victory in the shot put, recording five of the top six throws in the competition.

But the UF men wouldn't be outdone. They scored 52 points on the final day of competition, giving them 68 points on the weekend to finish behind champion Florida State.

The Gators registered victories in the 4x400-meter relay, as well as from Wes Stockbarger in the discus and Carlos Phillips in the 800-meter run.

Phillips' time of 1:46.70 ranks fourth in UF history and is the third-fastest time run by an American in 2008. The sophomore shaved over a second off of his previous personal record of 1:48.23, which he set in Friday's qualifying.

Chris Rainey, Terrell Wilks, Jeremy Hall and Bernard Middleton finished fourth in the short relay with a time of 39.64, just off their season best.

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