Parker Valby of Florida poses after winning the women's 10,000m in a meet record 31:46.09 during the NCAA Track and Field Championships at Hayward Field in Oregon on Thursday. [ Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports]

Florida’s Valby Voted SEC Female Athlete Of Year

Selecting Florida’s Parker Valby as the SEC Female Athlete of the Year had to have been an easy vote by the league’s athletics directors. All they had to do was look at her resume for the 2023-24 season.

Valby is the first female runner in NCAA history to win five national individual distance titles in a single season – all in at least meet record times. She started her 2023-24 national title streak by being first to win the NCAA Cross Country title in a sub-19 minute time. At the Indoor Championships, she reset her 5,000m collegiate record to 14:52.79 to win by almost 17 seconds. Less than 24 hours later, Valby set a meet record of 8:41.50 to win the 3,000m title.

During the outdoor season, Valby shaved 28 seconds off the previous collegiate record to win the Bryan Clay Invitational at 30:50.43 on April 12. At the NCAA Outdoor Championships, she set the meet record to win the 10,000m. Valby defended her 5,000m title with a collegiate-best time (14:52.18). All of her NCAA titles were won by at least a five-second margin.

Valby was named the USTFCCCA 2023 cross country, 2024 Indoor and Outdoor National Athlete of the Year, while also becoming just the fifth to win both the cross country and track & field Honda Awards in a single academic year. Valby is the 2023 USTFCCCA Women’s Cross Country National Scholar Athlete of the Year and a SEC Academic Honor Roll member. Valby graduated cum laude with her bachelor’s degree in Sports Management in May.

She is also the SEC Runner of the Year in cross country, indoor and outdoor track and is among the three finalists for 2024 The Bowerman Award.

“Incredibly proud of Parker and all that she has accomplished this year,” UF coach Mike Holloway said. “She has got to be considered the best female distance runner in NCAA history.”

At the U.S. Olympic Trials last month, Valby finished second in the 10,000m to earn a spot in the Paris Games.

LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels was named the SEC Male Athlete of the Year on Tuesday.

 

 

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