After berthing 19 entries into the NCAA East Preliminary meet, the Gators’ men’s track and field team will compete 10 times at nationals, including Thomas Mardal and Connor Bandel’s qualifiers from the first day of the meet.
Two Gators are double booked for the NCAA Outdoor Championships: Clayton Brown and Joseph Fahnbulleh.
Brown will compete in the men’s high jump and men’s triple jump in Eugene, Oregon. The senior stretched 2.16 meters (7-1) in the men’s high jump to land the 12th qualifying spot and vaulted 15.94 meters (52-3¾) in the men’s triple jump to qualify 11th.
Fahnbulleh will blast off in the men’s 100 and 200 meter at nationals. The redshirt freshman crushed his seed marks in both events. The No. 7 seed in the 100 legged out a 10.01 second time, a .07 second improvement on his seed time. He coasted to a 19.94 in the 200, cutting .11 seconds off his No. 2 seed spot.
Tyler Davis joins Fahnbulleh in the men’s 200. The Huntsville, Alabama, native secured a lane in the championship after he sprinted a 20.54 time, a huge decrease from his 20.95 seed time.
Ryan Willie aced the men’s 400 with a 45.56 time, the seventh-best qualifying mark. The freshman sits a fraction under a second behind the top time.
Denzel Villaman charged through the men’s 400 hurdles. The No. 5 seed crossed the finish line at 50.75, the ninth-best time.
Athletes defied darkness during the second heat of the men’s 4x400 relay. Fans whipped out their phones and lit up Hodges Stadium after the lights suddenly went out, allowing the runners to complete their relays.
The Gator crew of Willie, Chantz Sawyers, Villaman and Kunle Fasasi managed to seal an automatic qualification with a 3:05.27 time in heat one, marking the 14th consecutive time the Gators earned a spot in the relays at NCAA Outdoors.
The women’s finals continue Saturday. Coverage is scheduled to begin at 12:45 p.m. on UNF's SWOOPLife Live network.
Contact Kaitlyn Wadulack at email@example.com and follow her on Twitter at @kwadulack