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Thursday, April 18, 2024

Florida track and field finish second at SEC Indoor Championships

Florida ended the meet with 17 SEC medal finishes between both teams

<p><span id="docs-internal-guid-4f636636-7fff-f320-61f2-505199fc546c"><span>UF track and field coach Mike Holloway led the men’s team to the indoor national championship and the women’s team to a top-10 ranking.</span></span></p>

UF track and field coach Mike Holloway led the men’s team to the indoor national championship and the women’s team to a top-10 ranking.

Going into the final 100 meters, senior Flomena Asekol wanted nothing more than to hold onto her slim lead in the SEC women’s 1-mile final. With Arkansas junior Tiana Lostracco breathing down her neck, Asekol willed herself forward, increasing the gap between her and the rest of her competitors. As she turned the final corner, the result became clear: she would be the SEC Champion. With a time of 4 minutes, 38.35 seconds, Asekol secured the gold for the Gators.

Both the men’s and women’s track and field teams continued their strong performances on Day 2 of the SEC Indoor Championship in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Both teams ended in second place, finishing behind the Arkansas Razorbacks. With 13 athletes competing in events finals, the Gators had a full day.

Florida senior Oliver Thorner opened the day in the final events of the heptathlon: the 60-meter hurdles, the pole vault, and the 1,000-meter. Thorner hit a personal-best time of 8.37 seconds in the 60 but it was only good enough for seventh place in the event. 

He moved onto the pole vault, in which he recorded a season-best distance of 4.50 meters and secured sixth place. However, his best performance of the day came in the 1,000. Thorner finished first overall, earning 970 points towards his heptathlon total score. He finished fourth overall in the event itself, behind three Razorbacks. 

The Gators managed to find more success in the track events. In the men's 1-mile, freshman Parvej Khan continued his dominance and secured the SEC Individual Championship with a time of 4:00.18. 

Sophomore Wanya McCoy earned another medal for the Gators in the men's 60, finishing second behind Auburn freshman Kanyinsola Ajayi with a time of 6.63. Florida senior Robert Gregory finished seventh in the event. 

McCoy was not done yet. He fought his way into first in the men’s 200 to set a collegiate lead and personal-best time of 20.29, securing the gold. Gregory improved his earlier performance, earning a season-best time of 20.31 on his way to a silver medal. 

Senior Jevaughn Powell won another silver for the Gators in the men’s 400 with a time of 45.61. He finished behind Georgia sophomore Christopher Morales Williams, who set a meet-record time of 44.49.

The medals kept coming for Florida in the men’s 800 as junior Sam Austin finished third to secure the bronze with a time of 1:48:00. 

In the women’s 60-meter hurdles, UF won gold with senior Grace Stark finishing first. She recorded a season-best time of 7.90. 

But the most impressive performance of the day for Florida came in the women’s 3,000-meter final. Junior Parker Valby set both a meet and facility record of 8:42.29 on her way to the gold. She recorded her personal best time of the year. 

The track events ended with the 4x400 relays. The women’s team failed to finish and did not record a time for the event. The men finished fourth with a time of 3:03.87, but after a disqualification, they were awarded third place and the bronze.  

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Florida also medaled in two out of the six field events of the day. In the women’s shot put, sophomore Alida Van Daalen threw a season-best 18.59 meters on her way to the silver medal. Senior Sean Dixon-Bowie also earned a silver in the men’s triple jump with a season-best distance of 16.22 meters.

Both the men’s and women’s teams ultimately finished second behind Arkansas. The women finished with an overall score of 80 points, 51 behind the Razorbacks. The men finished with a total score of 106 points, 57 short of Arkansas.

The Gators will continue their season at the NCAA Indoor Championships in Boston, Massachusetts, on March 8. The meet can be streamed on ESPN Plus.

Contact Hannah Getman at hgetman@alligator.org. Follow her on Twitter @hannahgetman.

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