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Monday, October 25, 2021

Florida ends indoor season fourth, sixth at national championship

A young Gator squad finishes in the top half with focus on future

<p>Senior Raymond Ekevwo ran a season-best 6.84 in the 60m Sunday.</p>

Senior Raymond Ekevwo ran a season-best 6.84 in the 60m Sunday.

Coach Mike Holloway will have one song stuck in his head on the plane ride home-: Georgia On My Mind.

A single point put  Florida behind Georgia in both the men’s and women’s competitions. The Gators’ neighboring rivals clinched third in the men’s side and fifth on the women’s.

Heading into the final event, the 4x400, Florida tied for third with Georgia at 30 points. The Gators knew what they needed to do: run a faster time than the Bulldogs to pick up its fifth top-3 finish in the past six championship meets.  

In the second heat, Florida won with 3:06.31. When Georgia came through the finish line, 3:04.84 flashed on the clock. 

But the Gators had bright spots, too. Raymond Ekevwo secured eight points in the 60m with his second place finish. The senior ran a season-best time of 6.54. Freshman Ryan Willie finished his first season with a personal best time in the 400m, 45.40.

The 200m was the only event where two Florida athletes qualified for the finals. Joseph Fahnbulleh and Tyler Davis were both in the first heat, a benefit because athletes push themselves harder around familiar faces. Davis finished fourth in the heat with a time of 21.44. 

Despite winning the heat with a time of 20.38, Fanhbulleh flashed a face of disappointment. It gave McKayla Maroney in terms of winning and being upset-- he knew he should have ran faster. At the end of the third heat, he dropped to third place.

After the men came so close to bronze, the women felt more pressure to come through.

Talitha Diggs cliched much needed first points Saturday in the 400m. The two-time SEC Freshman Runner of the Week finished in third place with a time of 51.26.

In the triple jump, senior Natrcia Hooper recorded a personal best distance of 13.53m. She placed in fifth and added more points to the Gators tally.

To finish out the indoor season, Florida recorded a personal best of 3:30.58 in the 4x400. Taylor Manson gave the Gators a good position after the first leg and ran the fastest time at 51.91. This lead continued over the second and third legs but fell apart as Doneshia Anderson brought the baton in second place.

Oregon won the men’s title with 79 points, and Arkansas won the women’s title with 68.

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

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