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Saturday, April 13, 2024
Redshirt junior Caden Monk competes in day one of the Pepsi Florida Relays, March 31.
Redshirt junior Caden Monk competes in day one of the Pepsi Florida Relays, March 31.

In the pivotal anchor leg of the quad 400-meter relay, redshirt junior Jevaughn Powell took charge after his teammates – senior Reheem Hayles, sophomore Wanya McCoy and junior Ashton Schwartzman – who had successfully navigated the first three legs.

But it was up to Powell to make a statement with the relay.

With unwavering focus, he locked in on the task at hand. In the final 200 meters, Powell summoned every ounce of endurance within him and took a deep breath to surge past his competitor. 

In seconds, he crossed the finish line and tallied the Gators’ men’s 400 quad relay team the top time in the nation for 2024. 

The Florida Gators competed in the two-day Razorback Invitational from Friday to Saturday in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The Gators sent 54 athletes to compete in the meet. 

The Razorback Invitational meet hosted 16 collegiate teams in Fayetteville,  including Florida, Arkansas, Auburn, Georgia, Kentucky and LSU. The Invitational also hosted national teams from Australia, the United States, Nigeria, Panama, Jamaica and Great Britain. 

Day 1 of the meet began with the men’s heptathlon. The Gators competed with only one athlete, senior Oliver Thorner, who finished in eighth place with 3,051 points. 

Seven of 12 field events competed on the first day. The women’s weight throw was won by 27-year-old Janeah Stewart on the U.S. team as she had the farthest throw clocked in at 23.90 meters. Florida freshman Imani Washington landed in 14th place with a throw of 17.33 meters. 

The women’s long jump was won by 24-year-old Tara Davis-Woodhall on the U.S. team with a jump of 6.76 meters. UF senior Claire Bryant claimed second place with a jump of 6.56 meters.  Gator junior Anthaya Charlton landed in seventh place with a 6.30-meter jump. 

Nine running events took place on Day 1.

The Gators secured first place in the men’s 200 run with a 20.40-second run by junior Robert Gregory. Sophomore Wanya McCoy followed in second place with a 20.46-second run.

The men’s one-mile run was won by Hamish Hart of the Australian team with a time of 4 minutes, 8.92 seconds.Florida juniors Jonathan Pitchford and Michael Fiore cracked the top 10 with runs of 4:11.08 and 4:11.47.

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A time of 9:51.51 by Iowa State sophomore Kaylee Tobaben was enough to secure first place in the women’s 3,000 run. The Gators locked up two top-five spots with sophomore Rylee Pustilnik running a 9:53.48 to secure fourth. Florida freshman Breanna Stuart ran a 9:53.31 to place fifth. 

The men’s 3,000 run was won by Ole Miss sophomore Aiden Britt who ran an 8:03.80. Florida freshman Adam Magoulas secured ninth place with a time of 8:15.83. 

The first day of the meet concluded with the women’s distance medley relay. First place was taken by the Oregon team with a time of 10:47.50. Florida came in third, running a combined 10:52.06. 

The Gators kicked off Day 2 of the invitational with a dominating presence. 

In the men's heptathlon, Thorner achieved his third personal record with a clocked 8.42 seconds. His run tallied a notable improvement of 0.15 seconds from his previous best of 8.57 seconds. Thorner ranked in seventh place with a total of 3,930 points. 

Sophomore Kevar Williams completed the men’s 60-meter qualifying round in seven seconds flat. Senior Ryan McCloskey followed with a strong performance of 7.12 seconds in the same round.

In the women's 60-meter hurdle preliminaries, redshirt junior Jayla Hollis demonstrated her agility to finish in 8.34 seconds. Her time earned her the 11th spot among the 26 participating athletes.

Redshirt junior Joey Stravato continued to raise the bar when he set another personal record in the 60-meter hurdle. He competed with an 8.02-second run to improve his time by 0.14 seconds from the McFerrin-12 Degree Invitational. 

In the women's mile invitation, senior Flomena Asekol secured a sixth-place finish with a performance of 4:37.80. Asekol's run earned her the fourth collegian title to showcase her strength in middle-distance running.

Senior Elise Thorner delivered a strong performance to tie for ninth place with a time of 4:38.64. Her noteworthy run positioned her in a tie for the 17th collegian spot in the event, With her heavy endurance, sophomore Lucinda Rourke claimed the 25th ranking with a time of 4:54.59. 

A last-minute kick in the final 200 meters of the men’s mile invitational promised freshman Parvej Khan the second-fastest indoor mile record in UF history. He ranked in third place with a 3:59.20-minute time.

Redshirt Joe Wester came in 24th place in the mile invitational with a 4:15.12-minute record. 

With her heavy endurance, redshirt senior Grace Stark punched a ticket to the women's 60-meter finals. Stark posted a time of 7.26 seconds to earn her a finals-qualifying fifth-place ranking in the preliminary round. Junior Jasmine Montgomery followed Stark in ninth place with a 7.31-second time. 

Senior Robert Gregory recorded a time of 6.75 seconds in the men’s 60-meter preliminary round.

Thorner kept his momentum up in the men’s heptathlon pole vault event with a 4.40-meter leap. He placed eighth with 731 points. The performance totaled his points to 4,661 to keep him in seventh place overall. 

Freshman Gracelyn Leiseth posted a personal record in the women’s shot put event with a 16.15-meter throw to finish in sixth place. Sophomore Imani Washington finished in 17th place with a throw of 14.16 meters. 

In the men's 400-meter, redshirt senior Jevaughn Powell earned third place with a 46.28-second time. 

Senior Reheem Hayles set an indoor personal record with a sixth-place 46.69-second finish. Junior Ashton Schwartzman followed him with a seventh-place finish. He clocked a 46.79-second run.

To cap off the event, freshman Rios Prude Jr. placed 18th with a 47.67-second time, and redshirt senior Jacob Miley ranked 26th with a 48.28-second run.

Stark breezed through the women’s 60-meter to place third. She topped her qualifying time by 0.05 seconds.

Personal records dominated the afternoon events. 

In the women's triple jump, freshman India Alix leaped 12.09 meters, and freshman Kendall Brown jumped 11.22 meters – both athletes set personal records. 

Sophomore Lucinda Rourke and redshirt sophomore Jess Edwards both tallied indoor and overall personal records in the women's 800 meter. Rourke ran a 2:07.27-minute time for 13th place, and Edwards ran a 2:07.90-minute time for 19th place. Edwards earned the 18th collegian title.

Junior Sam Austin shined in the men's 800 with a 1:46.80-minute time and earned the first collegian spot. Freshmen Miguel Pantojas (1:48.80), Galvin Nelson (1:51.22), Edward Kepran (1:51.44), Noah Musselwhite (1:53.29), redshirt sophomore Michael Fiore (1:52.52) and senior Jenoah McKiver (1:52.45) all set personal records in the event.

Redshirt junior Allison Wilson and sophomore Caroline Bauer finished eighth and 22nd in the women's 3,000. Wilson ran a 9:23.12-minute time to set a personal record, and Bauer ran a 9:56.60-minute time.

In the men’s shot put, senior Kai Chang recorded a toss of 17.78 meters to post his second personal record of the season. Redshirt junior Calvin Bostic knocked a mark of 15.38 meters.

Redshirt senior Michael Holloway II completed the men's triple jump with a 14.27-meter leap.

The quad 400-meter relay team of redshirt junior Laila Owens, sophomore Ramiah Elliott, sophomore Kayla Davis and Hollis claimed a seventh-place finish with a time of 3:32.43.

The Gators will return to Fayetteville, Arkansas, for the Tyson Invitational from Feb. 9-10.

Contact Emma DiNicola and Krisha Sanghavi at edinicola@alligator.org and ksanghavi@alligator.org. Follow them on Twitter at @emdinicolaUF and @krishasang. 




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Krisha Sanghavi

Krisha Sanghavi is a third-year public relations and economics major. In her free time, she loves cheering on Miami sports teams and spending time with her friends.


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