The Florida track and field team will head to the Palmetto State to compete in the Carolina Challenge in Columbia, South Carolina, Saturday.
The meet will be the Gators’ first competition since the COVID-19 pandemic halted the 2020 season right before the NCAA Championship.
Competition will be stiff. Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, Mississippi State and South Carolina, all SEC schools, are vying to start their seasons off on the right foot. Campbell, FAU, Georgia Tech, North Carolina A&T, Southern Wesleyan and Savannah State will also be in attendance.
A total of 28 Florida athletes will compete in 17 events at the meet.
Activities are set to begin at 11 a.m. with the men’s weight throw as well as the men’s and women’s long jump.
The male long jumpers have two athletes making their debut for UF Saturday. PJ Austin, an Arizona transfer, and freshman Malcolm Clemons will make their debut in the long jump. Michaell Holloway II, son of head coach Mike Holloway, will complete the trifecta of long jumpers in his sixth meet since debuting last year.
In total, 11 athletes will make their indoor track debut for Florida.
Despite the steep amount of new faces wearing orange and blue, UF will also have multiple top-10 record holders making the trip. 800m runner Gabrielle Wilkinson and long jumper Kala Penn accompany sprinters Semira Killebrew and Taylor Manson on the women’s side. Jonathan Miller, a Nebraska transfer who’s currently ninth on UF’s record book in the high jump, will jump in what will be the start of his second year at UF.
Four events have preliminary races, such as the 60m hurdles, where athletes have to win the first heat to run in the final race.
The meet will come to a close at 6:30 p.m. with the Men’s 4x400m relay. Florida has an A and B team competing in the final event of the day.
Despite having multiple distance events, Florida will lay off on having any runners in those events. Redshirt-freshman Chloe Hyde and freshman Jordan Shapiro will compete in the women’s mile and sophomore Hugh Brittenham and redshirt-senior Marshall Dillon will be running in the men’s mile.
Florida will not have any runners in the 400m, 3000m, 5000m, 4x300 or distance medley relay races.
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