A season opener and a new NCAA record -– typically, those two don’t end up in the same sentence. However, redshirt junior Parker Valby’s performance at the Sharon Colyear-Danville Season Opener Saturday afternoon made those terms synonymous.
As the first woman to run a sub-15 5000m during collegiate competition, Valby finished in 14:56.11– a performance that is 16 seconds faster than the previous indoor collegiate record of 15:12.22, set by Emil Sisson of Providence College in 2015, and seven seconds faster than NC State’s Katelyn Touhy’s outdoor record of 15:03.12 set in 2023.
“It was a phenomenal first meet for the Gators,” said assistant track and field coach Will Palmer. “The women showed up and raced hard across the board.”.
Palmer was especially proud of Valby, he added.
“What a run,” he said. “Her race was the cherry on top of a great day.”
To begin the competition for the Gators at Boston University, redshirt senior Elise Thorner was the first athlete to represent UF on the track. Competing in the women’s mile, Thorner finished with a personal best of 4:37.59, which is the fifth-best indoor mile in school history.
Shortly after, redshirt senior Flomena Asekol added to the list of personal bests, finishing the 3000m in 8:52.57. Although not running a 3000m race since 2020, Asekol managed to achieve a personal record by more than a minute and run the second-best time for UF, 3 seconds behind Valby’s school record.
The last event for the Gators was the 5000m, where history was made. Joining Valby in the race was redshirt senior Allison Wilson, who finished in a personal best of 15:58.14 and the third best time in school history.
Florida’s next competition will be in College Station, Texas, for the McFerrin 12 Degree Invitational on Jan. 12-13.
Contact Isabella Morales at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @isasmorales.