The Florida track and field teams’ might was on full display after back-to-back days of gator chomps echoing through Hayward Field.
UF’s men’s and women’s teams finished with seven event titles, five school records and 19 podium finishes — all culminating in an NCAA Outdoor Championship for both teams. The titles grew head coach Mike Holloway’s count to 12.
The Gators men’s team, led by sophomore Joseph Fahnbulleh, captured its fifth outdoor title in program history to end its season Friday. UF scored 54 points, including 20 from Fahnbulleh alone, to secure its 10th men’s national championship of the 24 awarded since 2010.
The Hopkins, Minnesota, native became the first UF athlete to win two individual national titles in running events, taking home the 100-meter and 200-meter sprints.
After he anchored Florida’s 4x100 relay team to a second-place finish, Fahnbulleh secured the 100-meter championship via a late surge and a 10.00-second time. Fahnbulleh joins Gators legends Jeff Demps and Bernard Williams as the only Florida sprinters to win the 100 at nationals; he was UF’s first winner since 2010.
Also, senior Dedrick Vanover clocked in at 10.16 seconds, cementing a fifth-place finish in his first collegiate nationals.
Fahnbulleh returned to the track moments later to make history and defend his title in the 200. The sprinter dominated the event for the second consecutive year, earning a personal best and school record of 19.83 seconds. The feat solidified the team title for UF in Eugene.
With the title now in grasp, juniors Champion Allison, Jacory Patterson, and sophomores Ryan Willie and Jacob Miley led Florida’s 4x400 relay team to another championship, the orange and blue’s third of the day.
The men finished in 2:58.88 seconds, just 0.35 seconds short of their own collegiate record of 2:58.53, a mark they set earlier this season. Now, UF holds three of the fastest times in the 4x400.
Less than 24 hours later, the women pushed towards winning their second team national championship in program history.
Sophomore Talitha Diggs clinched the 400-meter crown with a time of 49.99 seconds to start Saturday’s competition.
The Pennsylvania native crossed the finish line victorious with her arms in the air taking in the euphoric moment. She separated herself from the pack on the last straightaway to earn her second national title of the year. The sprinter previously won the indoor 400 sprint.
Moments later, UF punched huge points in the dirt. Jumper Jasmine Moore added a second national title to her resume, leaping to an outdoor title in the triple jump contest, this weekend. The sophomore also claimed gold with her first attempt in the long jump at 6.72m/22-0.75.
Moore became the first woman in NCAA history to go eight-for-eight on titles in a calendar year, sweeping both the national and conference titles.
The duo of junior Sterling Lester and sophomore Anna Hall added to the point total in the heptathlon. Lester achieved a career-best 5,571 points to take fifth place, while Hall became the first UF heptathlon champion with 6,385 points with a 446-point winning margin.
The Highlands Ranch, Colorado, native took another bow at the podium after a runner up finish in the 400-meter hurdle. Hall clocked in at 54.57 seconds to give Florida 18 team points.
Florida maintained a comfortable 10-point lead with 66 total points through 19 events before freshman Parker Valby clinched the championship for the Gators. In the 5,000-meter race, Valby pushed through the finish line at 15:20.10 seconds, finishing second to make the 4x400 relay race a non-factor.
The Gators women’s outdoor crown goes hand-in-hand with their indoor championship in March, a clean sweep matching the 2012 men's team.
After a historic week for Florida, both teams will return to Hayward Field to compete in the USATF Outdoor Championships June 23-26.
Curtis Michaud is a fourth-year student at the University of Florida within the College of Journalism and Communications. He specializes in sports and media and would like to continue to provide authentic, thorough, and engaging sport content for all readers. He is an enterprise reporter and lacrosse and track and field writer for The Alligator.