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Friday, September 29, 2023

Gators track and field back in action

Florida’s track and field teams will aim to start their indoor season on the right foot

<p>Florida&#x27;s Joseph Fahnbulleh competes 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 Rick Hurtado</p>

Florida's Joseph Fahnbulleh competes 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 Rick Hurtado

The first meet of Florida’s  2022 track and field season will commence at the Clemson Invitational on Jan. 14 and 15 in South Carolina. The two-day event is the first on Florida’s indoor schedule and will feature the debuts of several prominent transfers and returning Olympians. 

Georgia transfers Anna Hall (multis) and Jasmine Moore (jumps) will make their first appearances for the orange and blue. Hall won the SEC Indoors pentathlon championship last season and later placed runner-up in the same competition during the NCAA championship. 

Moore represented the United States. at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics after claiming both the Indoor and Outdoor SEC championships in the triple jump in 2021. 

Senior Taylor Manson is coming off her Olympic debut where she earned a bronze medal for the U.S. in the 4x400 mixed relay qualifying rounds.

On the men’s side, junior Joseph Fahnbulleh will look to build off an impressive 2021 campaign where he was the NCAA Outdoor champion in the 200-meter sprint. Fahnbulleh suited up for Liberia in Tokyo and placed fifth in the 200-meter. 

The Hopkins, Minnesota, native headlines a very talented crop of Gators sprinters in the 300-meter race,  including Virginia Tech transfer Jacory Patterson. Transfers Collin Sieffert (Minnesota, hurdles), Markus Ballengee (Arkansas, multis) and Champion Allison (Alabama, sprints) are also expected to participate in their first events with the Gators. 

Texas, Georgia and Florida State round out the weekend competition for the Gators and the hosting Tigers. The men will compete in 11 events between Friday and Saturday, while the women will take part in 12. 

This event will emphasize sprinting events, which plays to Florida’s strengths. The 2022 roster features multiple former All-American sprinters, including sophomore Ryan Willie, junior Tyler Davis and Fahnbulleh; in addition to sophomore Talitha Diggs, junior Semira Killebrew and Manson.

The Gators are seeking to improve following a fifth place finish at the SEC Championship and a fourth place finish at the NCAA Championship to conclude the 2021 Indoor Men’s Season.

The women’s squad earned a runner-up spot at last year’s SEC championship on their way to a sixth place finish at the NCAA Championship. Florida ended the 2021 season ranked No. 4 (men’s) and No. 6 (women’s). 

The Gators will once again be led by head coach Mike Holloway, who has been at the helm of the program since 2007. Holloway played a crucial role in last summer’s Tokyo Olympics, presiding over the United States track and field team that took home seven gold medals. 

The Clemson Invitational will kick off tomorrow, Jan. 14, with the first competitions beginning at 2:00 p.m. Saturday’s festivities will start at 11:00 a.m. Both days of the meet will be broadcast on ACCNX.

Ethan Eibe can be found on twitter: @EthanEibe

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Ethan Eibe

Ethan Eibe is a second-year UF sports media major and covers Gators baseball for The Alligator. Outside of his writing, Ethan is a play-by-play broadcaster for UF student radio and has spent two summers announcing professional baseball with the Alpine Cowboys. He is a long-suffering Miami Marlins fan.

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