The Florida Gators stamped their mark in every event but one at the NCAA East Preliminaries May 24-27 in Jacksonville, Florida.
The men’s and women’s track and field teams qualified 22 athletes to the National Collegiate Athletic Association Outdoor Championships. The men’s team advanced nine athletes in eight events and the women’s team advanced 13 athletes in 16 events.
Gators sophomore Malcolm Clemons was the first men’s athlete to secure a spot in Austin, Texas, on the first day of the event. He placed first in the men’s long jump competition with a distance of 7.90 meters.
On day two, Florida’s women's team sent three Gators to the Outdoor Championships.
UF freshman Alida Van Daalen was the first to secure a spot, finishing third overall in shot put with a distance of 17.54 meters. The Dutch athlete has qualified for both NCAA Championships she has been eligible for as a Gator.
Florida redshirt junior Jasmine Moore qualified in long jump. She jumped a distance of 6.43 meters, finishing second overall.
UF junior Claire Bryant finished first overall in the long jump with a distance of 6.58 meters.
On May 26, Florida’s men’s team advanced eight athletes to the Outdoor Championships in seven different events.
The men's 4x100 relay team — juniors Ryan Willie and Robert Gregory, and redshirt seniors Jacory Patterson and Pjai Austin — finished first overall in its event to start the day.
They ran a time of 38.82, outpacing Southeastern Conference champions Louisiana State and the Atlantic Coastal Conference champions Clemson.
Austin and Gregory followed their qualification in the 4x100 by earning spots in the 100m championship. Austin finished third, and Gregory second.
Florida sophomore Emmanuel Bamidele, redshirt junior Jevaughn Powell and Willie finished in the top ten in the 400m. All three UF athletes qualified for the Outdoor Championships.
Redshirt senior Collin Sieffert finished 11th overall and qualified for the championships in the 400m hurdles. It was the first time Seiffert earned a national championship qualification in his collegiate career.
The final individual running event was the 200m. Both Gregory and Patterson qualified for the championships. Gregory placed first with a time of 19.60 and Patterson finished ninth with a time of 20.21.
UF redshirt junior Sean Dixon-Bodie earned first in the men's triple jump with a distance of 16.89 meters. He qualified for both the Indoor and Outdoor Championships this season.
The men’s 4x400 relay team of Powell, Bamidele, Patterson and Willie finished third and qualified with a time of 3:05.70.
"It has been an incredible last two days for the men. I am very proud of them,” Florida head coach Mike Holloway said. “Twelfth is as good as first in this meet and they all came out and did a wonderful job."
On the final day of the East Preliminaries, the women’s team advanced 13 athletes to the outdoor championships in 14 different events.
Van Daalen was the first of the day to secure a spot in Austin. She finished second in discus with a distance of 55.57 meters.
Bryant qualified in high jump, her second event at the meet. She placed eighth with a distance of 1.77 meters. It is the first time in the Texas native's career that she has advanced to the championship in two events.
In the women’s 4x100, redshirt juniors Jayla Hollis, Grace Stark, Laila Owens and redshirt senior Kynnedy Flannel qualified with a 44.27 time. Stark and Flannel qualified in an additional two events. Stark earned ninth overall in the 100 meter and Flannel earned eighth overall in the 200 meter.
Shortly after, redshirt senior Gabrielle Wilkinson qualified for the Outdoor Championships for the first time in her collegiate career in the 1500 meter. She finished twelfth with a time of 4:14.80.
Florida’s junior Talitha Diggs qualified for the sixth time in the women’s 400m and finished first overall with a time of 51.07. Redshirt senior Imogen Barrett qualified in the women’s 800m and finished twelfth with a time of 2:04.97.
Redshirt junior Vanessa Watson advanced in the 400m hurdles to advance to her second consecutive outdoor championship. She placed third overall with a 56.68 time.
In the final individual event of the day, Florida redshirt sophomore Parker Valby placed second in the 5000m and qualified with a time of 15:33.43. In the final field day event, Moore placed fifth in the triple jump.
The last qualifying event of day four’s meet was the women’s 4x400 relay. The Gators team — freshman Ramiah Elliot, Hollis, Diggs and Watson — finished first overall with a time of 3:32.22.
Holloway was pleased with how the women’s team had multiple members qualify for Austin.
“We got someone to Austin in every event but one. The ladies were just phenomenal,” Holloway said. “Very proud of Kynnedy Flannel, a big breakthrough for her at the right time; Talitha Diggs was Talitha Diggs. Gabby, Imogen, the list goes on and on and on.”
The qualified Gators will prepare to compete in the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Austin on June 7-10.
Hailey Hurst is a second-year journalism major with a focus in sports media and a sports reporter for The Alligator. In her free time, she enjoys going to the beach and cheering for Miami sports teams.