The Florida Gators Men’s and Women’s Track and Field wrapped up their indoor campaign this past weekend. Both teams placed in the top 10, upholding a Gator standard that has been in place for over a decade at the NCAA Indoor Championships. The Men’s team took home fourth place with a total of 34 points. On the women’s side, they secured a sixth place finish, earning 30 points.
This was 17th time in history the Gators finished among the top 4 teams at NCAA nationals. With this is mind, UF now has the second-most indoor top-4 finishes in the nation. Only one other team, Arkansas, the host of this year’s Indoor Championship, holds more top-4 finishes with 29. Giving the Gators an eight point boost, Senior Raymond Ekevwo finished as runner up in the NCAA after crossing in 6.64 seconds in the 60 meters. Ekevwo notched the best finish on the track for the Gators through the three days of competition. Joseph Fahnbulleh followed suit in the 200 meters where he finished. The sophomore clocked a time of 20.38 seconds.
The Gators also brought home an individual title in the field in the weight throw event. Senior Thomas Mardal crushed his own school record and placed him among the top three performances in the event in collegiate history. Mardal launched 24.46- meter bomb that secured his national title.
Head Coach Mike Holloway was pleased with his team’s performance, especially to the small numbers of competitors in the orange and blue.
“The men, they did what our men do,” he said. “They showed up, they trust and they believed. For a small group of guys to come in here and fight and get fourth place in the country is a great accomplishment. Obviously, we always want to be the best and sometimes you do your best and you don’t win. This was one of those weekends, but we’ll be back to fight again.”
On the women’s side, the team combined to collect 30 points across the board. Freshman Talitha Diggs led the charge for the Gator. She finished third in the nation in the 400 meters with a time of 51.26. Florida also added three team points from distance runner Gabrielle Wilkinson in the 800 meters. The redshirt sophomore collected a sixth place finish with a time of 2:03.32.
The Gator women will look to make improvements as they open indoor season in a few weeks. Head Coach Mike Holloway shared a similar sentiment.
“Overall, the women did a good job, wasn’t a great job,” he said. “But again, I’m the coach and I need to go back and fix that and I’ll find a way to get it done.”
Florida Track and Field will head outdoors for the second half of the season. A quick turn around will have the Gators opening the outdoor season at FSU Relays on March 26 in Tallahassee.