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Saturday, September 24, 2022

Florida’s throwers continued its strong start to its indoor campaign as Amara Wiggan and Connor Bandel took first place at the Hokie Invitational in the women’s weight throw and the men’s shot put, respectively.

Wiggan was the only Gator competing on the first day in Blacksburg, Virginia, and she dominated the competition. Coming off a similar performance at the Clemson Orange and Purple Elite Invitational two weeks earlier, her 20.06 meter mark this weekend bested all other throwers by more than a meter and a half.

Any one of the senior’s five eligible throws would have clinched the event. That 20.06m score now serves as her personal record in the weight throw. Wiggan will look to position herself among Gator greats going forward, nearing a top-10 ranking among all-time Florida weight throwers. She now stands just 0.1m away from Merlyn Brown’s tenth place record.

Bandel had a career day in Blacksburg as well, winning his second consecutive meet with a 19.45m throw. Following a narrow victory at Clemson, he won decisively at the Hokie Invitational, defeating Virginia Tech’s Tyus Jones by nearly a meter.

Saturday’s event also increased his personal record by another 16 centimeters and established himself among the nation’s elite shot putters. The redshirt junior has risen to 10th among active Division 1 shot putters along with being ranked third all-time at UF.

Lastly, Thea Jensen had a strong weekend in the women’s shot put despite coming in third among attached throwers. The freshman demonstrated her inexperience, having four out of her six throws deemed ineligible. But her 15.22m effort fell just 27 centimeters short of the winning throw among attached participants, demonstrating the Dane’s potential.

The Gators travel to Arkansas next week to participate in the Razorback Invitational and look to build upon an impressive start to the season.

Follow Declan on Twitter @dawalsh_UF and contact him at dwalsh@alligator.org.

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