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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Florida’s track and field team takes six gold medals at SEC Championships

The women’s team finished third while the men’s team placed fourth

<p>Florida senior Flomena Asekol sprints in the Gators SEC Outdoor Championships on Saturday, May 11, 2024.</p>

Florida senior Flomena Asekol sprints in the Gators SEC Outdoor Championships on Saturday, May 11, 2024.

Florida freshman Parvej Khan ran the men’s 1,500-meter finals like he was driving a race car. He set the pace early, leading his competitors down the track. His legs pumped. His hair flapped. His silver chain bounced. In the second lap, Khan released the gas pedal. Three competitors passed him.

He didn’t flinch.

On the last lap, Khan sped up. The crowd started to clap as he turned the last corner. He sprinted past one. Two. Then three runners. 

Gator fans stood up in the bleachers, pumping their fists. He crossed the finish line, ended his run with a chomp and walked to the podium to receive his medal. About an hour and a half later, Khan won a bronze medal in the men’s 800 meters.

Khan’s first place win was one of Florida’s six first-place finishes during the SEC Championships.

The Gators women’s team ended the three-day event at Percy Beard Track in third with 101 points. Meanwhile, the men’s team finished in fourth place with 100 points.

On the track, the men’s 4x100 relay team earned bronze while the women’s team placed fifth.

In the 4x400 relay, the men’s team kept the momentum going and placed third. 

Gators redshirt senior Flomena Asekol dominated the women’s 1,500-meter finals. Graduate student Grace Stark also took the gold with her performance in the women’s 100-meter hurdles. Stark set a new personal record and claimed the title of No. 1 2024 Division I time with a12.53-second time. 

Senior Elise Thorner earned eight points for her second-place win in the women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase. Alabama freshman Doris Lemngole and Thorner set facility records with their times of 9:28.21 and 9:43.20.

Thorner beat Lemngole in the women’s 5,000-meter meet and earned a gold medal. She finished with a time of 15:07.86.

Junior Wanya McCoy set a new personal record in the men’s 100-meter finals. He earned silver in his second-place run of 10.02. He also earned second in the men’s 200-meter finals with a time of 19.93. With this run, he set a personal best and hit the Olympic qualifying standard.

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The Gators also found success in the field events. In women’s shot put, sophomore Alida Van Daalen and freshman Gracelyn Leiseth’s performances earned Florida eight points.

In the men’s discus throw, senior Kai Chang won a silver medal. On the women’s side, four Florida athletes finished within the top eight. Van Daalen earned the gold medal.

Senior Claire Bryant took the gold in the women’s long jump. Bryant turned to the crowd before her fifth flight, encouraging them to clap as she raced down the runway. She launched herself into the air and landed with a season-best distance of 22-00 3/4.

Sophomore Anthaya Charlton rocked orange, blue and white ribbons in her hair during her six flights. Her top distance of 21-07 1/2 added a silver medal at the end of the second day of competition.

Both women’s scores added 18 points to the women’s total.

In the men’s long jump, three Florida athletes won 14 points. Senior Caleb Foster placed third with a season-best distance of 25-07 1/4. Junior Malcolm Clemons and senior Sean Dixon-Bodie followed Foster with fourth- and sixth-place finishes.

Dixon-Bodie placed second in the men’s triple jump with a distance of 53-05 3/4. In the women’s triple jump, senior Alissa Braxton placed fourth.

Gators graduate student Abraham Sargent added eight points with his comeback performance in the men’s javelin throw. Hovering around the sixth place for most of the competition, Sargent’s last throw traveled 246-05. He finished in second place behind Georgia graduate student Marc Minichello.

In the men’s hammer throw competition, senior William Gross IV reached a distance of 213-06 in his fourth time in the circle. He earned six points and a bronze medal.

Next, Florida will travel to Lexington, Kentucky, for the NCAA preliminaries May 22-25.

Contact Liana Handler at Follow her on Twitter @handlerliana.

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