Athletes deal with weather conditions at Tom Jones Invitational

Ricky Quintana
Special to The Sun
Sha'Carri Richardson (USA) wins the women's 100m in 10.72 during the Miramar Invitational, Saturday, April 10, 2021, in Miramar, Fla. (Kirby Lee via AP)

Storms delayed the start of the field events and left the track wet and sloppy, but conditions didn’t damper performances Friday night on the first day of the Tom Jones Invitational on the UF campus.

Olympic 100 meter and 200 meter gold medal contender Sha’Carri Richardson, a former sprinter at LSU, stole the show Friday night winning the 200-meter dash in 22.11 which was the second fastest time in the world this year and just missed the Percy Beard track record of 22.09 set by Torie Bowie in 2017 at the Tom Jones Invitational. Bowie went on to win the 100 meter World Championship that year.

Richardson’s 10.72 time for the 100 meter at last week’s Miramar Invitational was sixth fastest time in the world all time and Friday’s performance further strengthened her hold as the top sprinter in the world.

“Today was an excellent day. My name is Sha'Carri Richardson and I'm here. My performance ...I've got something to say. Every time I touch the track is going to back it up. You have a nice day," she said.

Gator freshman Talitha Diggs challenged 2021 NCAA Indoor Champion, Abby Steiner, through the curve in the college division of the 200-meter dash and finished second in a time of 23.20. The multi-talented Diggs dropped down to the shorter event to concentrate on some speed.

“It’s definitely important to get some 200s in when you a 400 runner,” she said. “They were rough conditions and I executed pretty well.  I was pleased with it.”

Saturday’s action gets started at noon with Olympic hopefuls and Gainesville born Noah Lyles competing in the 100-meter dash and a celebrated match-up between collegians Matthew Boling of Georgia and the Gators Joseph Fahnbulleh in the 100-meter dash.

Full results can be found at

Gator seniors Clayton Brown won the high jump with a 7 feet 3 inch leap and Connor Bandel won the shot put with a throw of  62 feet 8.75 inches. Bandel won by 5 inches coming from behind to get his farthest throw on his fourth of sixth attempt.

The Gators’ Marshall Dillon, Cade Monk and Trevor Foley finished third, fourth and fifth in the men’s 1500-meter run. Dillion and Monk moved to eighth and 10th on UF’s all-time list with their times of 3:43.63 and 3:44.06.

Gator freshman Claire Bryant finished third in the long jump with a jump of 21 feet 1.5 inches.