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Monday, October 25, 2021

More than 10 Florida athletes qualify for Finals at SEC Indoor Championships

Two freshmen won their respective events’ prelims

<p>Imogen Barrett ran a personal best of 4:38.72 in the one mile race</p>

Imogen Barrett ran a personal best of 4:38.72 in the one mile race

Track is a sport in which the slightest of measurements differentiate between glory and shame. 

The track gods smiled down on sophomore Tyler Davis as he earned the final spot for the finals in the 60m. At the end of the third heat, the eighth slowest time was 6.78. Beat that and you’re into the finals. As Davis crossed the finish line, the clock read 6.78. 

When this happens at a meet, officials have to review the footage to determine who won. After review, it was determined that Davis ran a 6.774, 6/1000th of a second faster than the previous occupant of the final spot. A birth in the finals was secured.

On day two of the SEC Indoor Championship, Florida track and field started in second on the women’s side and third on the men’s. By the end of the day, they had fallen to 6th and 9th respectively. 

Ryan Willie became the first Florida runner to qualify for finals in the 400m. The freshman made his collegiate debut only two weeks ago at the Tyson Invitational. The Baltimore native beat the entire prelim field at 45.76 — the eighth fastest in UF history. 

Before a gun even went off for the 60m, Raymond Ekevwo, who won the event at last year’s championship meet, registered a did not start likely due to an injury from the Tyson Invitational. 

When it was time for the third heat to start, one-time SEC co-Runner of the Week Joseph Fahnbulleh started before the gun went off and registered Florida’s first false start this season. 

Despite the less than stellar circumstances which began the event for the blue and orange, it finished on a strong note. Junior Dedrick Vanover ran a 6.71, a personal best that claimed third overall qualifying spot. 

Davis brought this success into the 200m and won his heat with a time of 20.79, a personal best that tallied as fifth overall. While Fahnbulleh’s mental mistake frustrated him, the sophomore made up for it with the third fastest time in the 200m prelims, 20.47.

After the men’s events concluded, four athletes in five events are on Saturday’s cards. 

The women’s action Saturday began with a stunning one mile race. Junior Imogen Barrett finished third after she  ran a personal best of 4:38.72. The Australia national lost to two runners by less than .6 seconds. 

NCAA leader Grace Stark was slated to run in the 60m hurdles but didn’t start on the line. Both Stark and Ekevwo did not start as a precaution due to tightness, according to sources.

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Talitha Diggs produced another impressive performance Friday. The two-time SEC Freshman Runner of the Week rana personal best of 51.91 and secured first place in the prelims. Senior Taylor Manson will join Diggs after she finished seventh with a season-best time of 52.73.

Sophomore Semira Killebrew qualified for the finals in the 60m with the fifth spot and  ran a 7.25. Sophomore Gabrielle Wilkinson locked up her place in the 800m finals with a time of 2:06.93, the third fastest in qualifiers.

Florida’s proceedings begin Saturday at 2:13  p.m. with the men’s 60m final. The meet will stream on SEC Network+.

Contact Myles Herbert at mherbert@alligator.org and follow him on Twitter @myles_herbert

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