UF’s men place fourth, women finish sixth at NCAA Indoors

Special to Gatorsports.com

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The Gators track and field teams closed their indoor season Saturday with a fourth-place finish on the men’s side, while the women finished sixth at the NCAA Indoor Championships.

Florida’s men collected 34 team points and the women earned 30 inside the Randal Tyson Track Center in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Senior Raymond Ekevwo finished as runner-up in the NCAA after crossing in 6.64 seconds in the 60 meters. In the 200 meters, sophomore Joseph Fahnbulleh finished third with a time of 20.38 seconds. 

Newcomer Ryan Willie closed his freshman indoor campaign as the fourth-fastest runner in the NCAA. Willie clocked a personal-best time of 45.40 seconds in the 400 meters that ranks fifth in school history.

Willie then joined Ian Davis, Denzel Villaman and Chantz Sawyers in the 4x400-meter relays. The squad closed the afternoon for the men with a time of 3:06.31, finishing fifth in the nation and securing the fourth-place finish for the team.

Saturday’s performances on the men’s side gave a strong finish to the meet that began with a national title by senior Thomas Mardal in the weight throw. The Gloppen, Norway native collected the crown Thursday with a 24.46-meter bomb (80 feet, 3.75 inches) that broke his own school record and made him the third-best performer in collegiate history.

On the women’s side, freshman Talitha Diggs finished third in the nation with a time of 51.26 seconds in the 400 meters. 

“The men, they did what our men do," UF coach Mike Holloway 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.

“Overall, the women did a good job, wasn't a great job. 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.”

Oregon put up crazy numbers in the men’s championship, going on to win the team title with 79 points — the second-most points in meet history. 

Arkansas went on to win the women’s team title with 68 points. It’s the Razorbacks' second consecutive team title.