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Sunday, August 14, 2022

Gators track and field takes on first outdoor meets of 2022

Florida competed in Texas and Raleigh Relays last week

<p>Clayton Brown vaults himself over the bar in the high jump during the Pepsi Florida Relays on Friday, April 2, 2021 at Percy Beard Track at James G. Pressly Stadium in Gainesville. The Gators participated in their first outdoor meet of the season last week. / UAA Communications photo by Courtney Culbreath</p>

Clayton Brown vaults himself over the bar in the high jump during the Pepsi Florida Relays on Friday, April 2, 2021 at Percy Beard Track at James G. Pressly Stadium in Gainesville. The Gators participated in their first outdoor meet of the season last week. / UAA Communications photo by Courtney Culbreath

The second phase of the collegiate track and field season is underway.

After the Florida women’s track team captured its first indoor national championship in three decades, the Gators look to carry over the positive vibes to the outdoor campaign’s first meets at the University of Texas and North Carolina State. 

The majority of Florida’s athletes headed to Austin, Texas, to compete in sprints, multis, jumps and throws while the distance crew spent the week in Raleigh, North Carolina. 

UF sophomore Anna Hall had no trouble transitioning from the indoor pentathlon to the outdoor heptathlon. The Georgia transfer broke the school record with 6,412 points in the event across the first two days in Texas. 

Hall completed the first four events Wednesday to open the meet for Florida, finishing first in the high jump and 200-meters, and second in the 100-meter hurdles and shot put. 

The Highlands Ranch, Colorado, native kept the pace the following day, leaping 6.23 meters to capture the long jump and finishing the 800-meter run in just over two minutes. Hall threw her javelin with grace to place sixth and secure the heptathlon win for Florida. 

Redshirt senior Natricia Hooper nailed the triple jump to take the event title, and senior Edward Sheilkoff took the top spot in the discus throw with a 56.98-meter effort to wrap up the third day of competition.

Florida’s relay teams shined during Saturday’s finale. 

The quartet of senior Dedrick Vanover, sophomore Tyler Davis, junior PJ Austin and sophomore Joseph Fahnbulleh dominated the preliminary and final rounds of the 4x100 relay. Their 38.47 final time was good for fourth in Gators history. The feat ranks up top on NCAA and world leaderboards this season.

Fahnbulleh also helped lead the 4x400 squad to victory in Austin. Freshman Ryan Willie, junior Jacory Patterson and sophomore Jacob Miley all did their part to complete the race in 3:02.20, the second-fastest collegiate time this season.

The Gators saw a few notable outdoor debuts from transfers Collin Sieffert (Minnesota), junior Miles Green (Virginia Tech) and freshman Zach Godbold.

Over in Raleigh, the Florida distance runners packed on some serious mileage with nine men entering the 1,500 and 5,000-meter tests, and five women competing in the 1,500, 3,000 and 10,000-meter races.

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Sophomore Caden Monk and freshman Joe Wester ran inside the top-100 in the 1,500-meter event. 

Redshirt sophomore Gianna Forte was the lone Gators representative in the 10,000-meter race and finished in 37 minutes, 7.03 seconds. Sophomore Vasileia Spyrou was the only Gator to finish the 3,000-meters in the Top-50, crossing the finish line in 16:37.83.

Florida hosts its first meet of the season later this week as the Pepsi Florida Relays kick off at James G. Pressly Stadium Thursday and runs through Saturday. The meet will be streamed live on ESPN’s digital platforms. 

Contact Ethan Eibe at eeibe@alligator.org. Follow him on Twitter @EthanEibe.




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