The Gators will compete in the SEC Outdoor Championships starting Thursday in Bryan-College Station, Texas.
Florida will face tough competition during the three-day meet. LSU dominated throughout the regular season as the No. 1 ranked team on both the men’s and women’s sides, according to USTFCCCA. The SEC rules the NCAA D1 Women’s Outdoor Track and Field, with LSU, Arkansas, Texas A&M, Georgia and Alabama all in the top 10, as well as Florida. While this meet was canceled in 2020, LSU won the 2019 SEC men’s outdoor title, and Arkansas won the SEC women’s outdoor title.
UF’s No. 8 men’s track team and No.10 women’s track team both hold six SEC outdoor titles. Florida dominated at this championship in 2018, as both Gator squads swept the competition and left with both SEC outdoor titles, the first time in program history.
Florida came up short in 2019, when the men’s team finished second and the women’s team finished fifth, but a few former individual champions return to this week's meet.
On the men’s side, Thomas Mardal looks to repeat his 2019 performance. The senior from Norway was the 2019 hammer throw SEC champion. He leads the nation in the event with a mark of 76.18 meters, a school-record he accomplished in April’s Tom Jones Invitational.
Two champions return for the women’s team: Imogen Barrett and Jessica Pascoe. Barrett became the 2019 SEC champion in the 1,500-meter with a time of 4 minutes, 17.29 seconds. Pascoe emerged as the 2019 SEC champion in the 10,000 after she finished at 34:08.41.
Joseph Fahnbulleh and Gabrielle Wilkinson are two Gators to keep an eye on this weekend. Fahnbulleh ranks third in the world for the 200 outdoors. He continues to rise in the rankings and is expected to reign as one of the top runners. Wilkinson is climbing the ranks in distance, and she now owns the fifth-fastest time in the nation in the 800.
Thursday will have mostly preliminary races and field events in preparation for the finals on Saturday. Coverage on Thursday is scheduled to begin at 6:40 p.m. on SECN +.
Contact Kaitlyn Wadulack at email@example.com and follow her on Twitter at @kwadulack