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Sunday, June 13, 2021

Gators boast 18 total entries to nationals after fourth day of NCAA East Preliminary

Florida women earned six more entries on the final day of competition

Florida's Talitha Diggs runs during the third day at the NCAA Indoor Championships on Saturday, March 13, 2021 at Randal Tyson Track Center in Fayetteville, Ark. / UAA Communications photo by NCAA Images
Florida's Talitha Diggs runs during the third day at the NCAA Indoor Championships on Saturday, March 13, 2021 at Randal Tyson Track Center in Fayetteville, Ark. / UAA Communications photo by NCAA Images

Florida’s track and field program obtained 18 total entries to the NCAA Outdoor Championships after the Gator women secured six more on the fourth day of the NCAA East Preliminary. 

Natricia Hooper joins her fellow field teammates Arianne Duarte-Morais and Claire Bryant in Eugene, Oregon, for the championships. The Guyana native will compete in the women’s triple jump after she flew 13.72 meters (45-¼), the second-best mark of the day. Duarte-Morais and Bryant punched tickets to nationals Thursday

Grace Stark clinched the fourth qualifying spot in the 100-meter hurdles. The SEC Outdoors 100 hurdles silver medalist sped to a 12.88 time, the fourth-fastest finish in school history. 

Gabrielle Wilkinson crushed her first-round time in the women’s 800 quarterfinal. The redshirt sophomore cut 2.99 seconds off her previous low when she paced a 2:02.04 time. 

It’s double trouble in the women’s 400, as both Talitha Diggs and Taylor Manson sit in the top five qualifiers. Diggs ran a blazing pace and was just one hundredth of a second from the top spot with a 51.04 time, and Manson berthed the fourth-best qualifying time with a 51.38. Both times are personal-bests for the runners, with Diggs shaving .19 seconds off her No. 2 seed time and Manson scraping .13 seconds off her No. 4 seed time. 

The Gators 4x400 relay didn’t disappoint. The top-ranked team of Manson, Sterling Lester, Doneisha Anderson and Diggs burst out with a 3:27.51 top qualifying time, .72 seconds faster than the second qualifier, Alabama. 

The Gator men earned 10 entries after Wednesday and Friday, while the women collected two Thursday.

Next up for Florida will be the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene from June 9 to June 12. 

Contact Kaitlyn Wadulack at kwadulack@alligator.org and follow her on Twitter at @kwadulack

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