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Saturday, December 02, 2023

Gators track and field exceeds expectations despite tough competition

Florida produced 27 new personal bests and took home three event titles from Razorback Invitational

Florida's Talitha Diggs runs 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 NCAA Images
Florida's Talitha Diggs runs 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 NCAA Images

Florida was met with intense competition at the Razorback Invitational in Fayetteville, Arkansas, this weekend, coming off the high of its first meet. 

The Florida Gators continued to improve their times and distances as they fought for a spot on the podium. They broke 27 personal records and earned three event titles.

Florida redshirt senior Sterling Lester placed third in the first multis competition of the season Friday. She was in fourth place after the 60-meter hurdles but dropped to 11th place by the second to last event — the long jump.

Lester earned her spot on the podium in the last race of the pentathlon when she took first in the 800-meter. She finished more than five seconds ahead of the second-place runner.

Florida freshman Logan Montgomery placed eleventh in shot put with a personal best of 17.40 meters. Redshirt sophomore Calvin Bostic took 17th place with his indoor personal best of 16.44 meters.

Senior Gator Jasmine Moore finished first in long jump with a distance of 6.64 meters. This was the second meet in a row Florida took home the title in this event. Junior Claire Bryant placed third.

Florida junior Robert Gregory snagged second in the men’s 200-meter, followed by UF redshirt senior Jacory Patterson.

Junior Gator Talitha Diggs claimed second place in the women’s 200-meter with a time of 22.65 seconds. This marked a new indoor personal best for Diggs and landed only 0.02 seconds behind the school record. Florida redshirt senior Kynnedy Flannel followed closely and earned third with a time of 23.18 seconds.

In his Gators debut, redshirt senior Corvell Todd finished fourth in the men's high jump with a height of 2.12 meters.

Florida’s distance medley relay team — made up of redshirt senior Imogen Barrett, senior Vanessa Watson, redshirt senior Gabrielle Wilkinson and redshirt sophomore Parker Valby — set a new school record, to close out day one at the Razorback Invite. 

The records continued into Saturday. 

UF redshirt sophomore Jayla Hollis placed third in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.19 seconds. 

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Flannel earned third place in the women’s 60-meter, just 0.03 seconds behind the first-place runner.

Redshirt senior Gator Pjai Austin placed first in the men’s 60-meter with a personal best of 6.58 seconds. 

Florida redshirt junior Caden Monk and redshirt sophomores Vasileia Spyrou and Jordan Shapiro all exceeded their personal records in the mile.

UF redshirt sophomore Sean Dixon-Bodie took third in the triple jump with a distance of 16.01 meters. Senior Gator Michael Holloway II’s personal record of 15.10 meters placed him in sixth.

Barrett earned third in the women’s 800m with a time of 2:03.94.

As the day came to a close, the women’s 4x400 team — consisting of redshirt sophomore Laila Owens, senior Vanessa Watson, Hollis and Diggs — earned second place. It broke the school record with a time of 3:27.58.

The men’s 4x400 team — made up of Gregory, Patterson, sophomore Emmanuel Bamidele and junior Ryan Willie — took first for the second meet in a row with a collegiate-leading time of 3:04.11. 

The Gators will compete in both the Tyson Invitational in Fayetteville, Arkansas, and the David Henry Valentine Invitational in Boston, Massachusetts,  Feb. 10 and 11.

Contact Namari Lock at Follow her on Twitter @Namari_L.

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Namari Lock

Namari Lock is a third-year journalism student and production staff member for The Alligator. She has previously worked as multimedia editor, opinions editor, graphic designer and as a general assignment reporter for the Metro desk. In her last semester at UF, Namari is making her Alligator Sports debut as track and field reporter.

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