Bridgette Owens, Marquis Dendy and Kyra Jefferson highlighted the indoor regular season finale at the Tyson Invitational and the Iowa State Classic for the No. 2 Florida men’s and women’s track and field teams with NCAA-leading performances for each in their respective events.
The senior hurdler Owens, who competed in her first event in more than a month, proved the long hiatus from competition did not produce any rust in her game, as she won the 60-meter hurdle event in an NCAA-leading 8.02 seconds — improving her previous best of 8.10 for the UF all-time record.
Dendy, a senior jumper out of Delaware, improved his season-best mark in the triple jump by over a meter with a 17.23-meter leap in a victorious effort.
Dendy’s performance not only launched him to the top spot in the NCAA, but it also set a new world-best and stands as the ninth-best triple jump in NCAA history, as well as third-best in UF history.
Jefferson set a 2015 world best with a 22.81-second time in the 200-meter sprint — just two-hundredths of a second shy of her program record in the event.
The trio of Owens, Dendy and Jefferson were well-supported by a cast of more than 50 Gator athletes who set a total of 18 PRs in both Fayetteville and Ames, Iowa.
In Fayetteville, where seven of the top-10 men’s teams competed this weekend at the site of March’s NCAA Indoor Championships, jumper Gissell Warner took the women’s triple jump (12.97 meters) on the way to a PR and the fifth-best event score in Florida history.
Junior sprinter Robin Reynolds finished the 200 sprint in 23.16 seconds, setting an indoor PR and locking up the third-best women’s 200 performance to occur in a UF uniform.
In Ames, all seven of the Gators whom participated in both the men’s and women’s 5K set new PRs, including senior Mark Parrish, whose mark improved his already-best time in school history.
The duo of Andres Arroyo and Ryan Schnulle garnered top-5 finishes in the 800-meter invite, as their respective marks of 1:46.78 and 1:47.29 placed their names at No. 2 and No. 4 on the Gators’ all-time list.
In what he called a "circus-like atmosphere" at a press conference last week, coach Mike Holloway—who traveled to Fayetteville with 38 Florida athletes—felt that his team "match(ed) the intensity" of the hotly contested field at both meets.
The Gators will look to bring that intensity to their next meet, as they head to Lexington, Kentucky for the Southeastern Conference Indoor Championships on Feb. 27-28.
Follow Kyle Brutman on Twitter @KBrut13
Bridgette Owens competes during the Tom Jones Memorial Invite on April 19 at the Percy Beard Track. Owens, who clocked a 12.80-second 100-meter hurdles on Saturday, was one of 25 UF athletes to advance to the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Ore.