Florida track and field began its championship season with a second-place finish at the SEC Indoor Championships at Texas A&M University. The Gators’ women and men arrived in College Station, Texas, sporting No. 2 and 10 rankings respectively.
Florida was neck and neck with the University of Arkansas over both days of the competition. The Gators ended up finishing behind the Razorbacks in both final tallies, a 86-77 men’s score and 127.5-97 women’s point total.
Sophomores Anna Hall and Jasmine Moore shined during Friday’s events. Hall broke the school record in the pentathlon and also set new NCAA and World marks for the season.
The Highlands Ranch, Colorado, native earned first place in the high jump and 800-meter while finishing second in the shot put and 60-meter hurdles to finish with 4,618 pentathlon points.
Moore set a new Florida mark with a 6.75-meter long jump, earning her first individual title of the meet. She continued her success the next day by pacing the competition in the triple jump, leaping 14.11 meters. Senior Natricia Hooper took the runner-up spot.
Capping off the women’s performance, sophomore Grace Stark completed the 60-meter hurdles in 7.91 seconds to win the title.
Head coach Mike Holloway was thrilled with the performance of his women’s squad.
“We had a great weekend,” Holloway said. “We just fought all day long. I think what you saw out of the women is what you're going to see out of them from this day forward. That's who we are, we're going to fight."
The Florida men showed out in the 400-meter race, taking three of the four top positions. Senior Champion Allison set a new personal record with a 45.04 first-place finish. Freshman Ryan Willie (45.63) and junior Jacory Patterson (45.97) finished second and fourth.
Senior Dedrick Vanover tied for first in the 60-meter dash, while freshman Cameron Miller impressed with a second-place result in the 200-meter event.
The Dallas, Texas, native’s 20.59 time earned the praise of Holloway.
“This is [Miller’s] first SEC Indoor Championships as a Gator,” Holloway said. “He's had some injuries and to come in here tonight and run 20.59 in the 200 meters, one of the best performances in school history and a big personal best, I was super excited for him."
Florida wrapped up the weekend with a second-best 3:02.61 time in the 4x400 meter relay.
The Gators now turn their attention to the next phase of championship season. The NCAA Indoor Championships are set for next week from March 11-12 in Birmingham, Alabama. The meet will be streamed on ESPN’s digital platforms.
Contact Ethan Eibe at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @EthanEibe.
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.