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Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Florida starts strong at first home meet in over two years

The Gators play host for their second meet of the outdoor season

<p>Senior KeAndre Bates notched the second-longest triple jump in the nation Saturday at the Pepsi Florida Relays.&nbsp;</p>

Senior KeAndre Bates notched the second-longest triple jump in the nation Saturday at the Pepsi Florida Relays. 

Queen’s ‘Another One Bites the Dust’ filled the air as Joseph Fahnbulleh positioned himself for the 200m. The freshman sprinter must have  taken the ‘80s hit to heart when the gun went off. 

He didn’t come out of the blocks the best. But Fahnbulleh opened up his stride and left his opponents in the dust. like Freddy Mercury vocalizes on the back end of the song. 

For the first time since 2019, the Pepsi Florida Relays returned to Percy Beard Track. The Gators ended the meet on day one with multiple first-place finishes.

Thomas Mardal continued his dominant streak in the hammer throw, winning his eighth competition of 2021 with a throw of 75.77m, a personal and school record. 

Florida gained three more first-place finishes in the long jump and shot put. 

Clayton Brown took his first gold of the season. Both him and South Carolina’s Earnie Spears cleared 2.23m but with less failed attempts, Brown took home the gold. 

Connor Bandel maintained Florida’s dominance in the throwing events in the shot put. The Michigan native stepped up to the line and hurled the shot 19.54m.

One of Florida’s talented freshmen also highlighted its bright future. At the top of the runway, Claire Bryant sprinted down the orange lane before she took off in the air and landed in the sand at a distance of 6.68m

The Gators also looked impressive on the track.

In the 1500m, Caden Monk fought his way to a tough third-place finish with a time of 3:45.07. 

The redshirt freshman got the bronze in a tough group that included NCAA runner-up Eliud Kipsang.

On the women’s side, Florida’s runners came in second and fourth. Imogen Barret made her debut in the outdoor season with a second-place finish. After spending the fall in her home country of Australia, the 2019 winner at the SEC Championship was narrowly out sprinted to the finish line after holding the lead for most of the race.

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As the night grew colder, Florida maintained its heat.

Trevor Foley broke into Florida’s top 10 in the 3000m steeplechase with a time of 8:53.27. The redshirt sophomore ran his way to first place while also jumping over the five barriers on the track as well as the water pool. 

Stephie Ormsby secured first in the 5000m in her collegiate debut in the event. Florida started the race with three runners who dominated from the start. Barron and Jessica Pascoe acted as pacers and led from the front, which put their freshman teammate in a good position to take home first before dropping out.

Action continues Saturday with the discus at 10 a.m.

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

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