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Saturday, April 13, 2024

Two Gators book tickets to Eugene after first day of NCAA East Preliminary

Thomas Mardal and Connor Bandel qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Championships

Florida track and field coach Mike Holloway addresses his team.
Florida track and field coach Mike Holloway addresses his team.

Some people book tickets across the country through websites or at an airport. Florida’s Thomas Mardal threw a hammer.

Mardal earned his way to the national championship in Eugene, Oregon, after he unleashed a 71.29 meter (233-10) throw in the men’s hammer throw. The No.1 seed was the only competitor to exceed the 70 meter mark for the second straight meet with the second-closest launch coming in at 68.89 meters (226-0).

Connor Bandel will make the trip to the West Coast as well. The redshirt senior thrust the shot put 19.52 meters (64 ½) away to land the fourth-best qualifying time and earn his way to nationals. He entered the meet as the No. 12 seed. 

Florida looks to capitalize off the men’s day one qualifiers for the women’s events Thursday. Five Gator runners head to Friday’s quarterfinals and two are slated spots to the NCAA Outdoor Championships. 

Dedrick Vanover and Joseph Fahnbulleh advanced to Friday’s quarterfinals in the men’s 100 meter. Vanover shot off the starting line like a bullet to land him a 10.19 time, and Fahnbulleh ended just 0.07 seconds behind with a 10.26. 

This dynamic duo will also race in the men’s 200 along with Tyler Davis. Fahnbulleh dashed the fastest in the event and finished at 20.22, with Vanover (20.76) and Davis (20.86) all within seven-tenths of a second to finish 12th and 18th, respectively. 

Ryan Willie advanced to the quarterfinals in the men’s 400 with a 45.82 time. He began as the seventh seed. 

Denzel Villaman scaled barriers in the men’s 400 hurdles to finish at 51.17. The No. 5 seed entered the meet with a 50.21 time. 

Women’s qualifying events for the NCAA Outdoor Championships begins Thursday. There are 17 entries for Gator women in this meet. Coverage is scheduled to begin at 1:15 p.m. on UNF's SWOOPLife Live network

Contact Kaitlyn Wadulack at and follow her on Twitter at @kwadulack

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