Athletes get in work at annual Tom Jones Invitational

Ricky Quintana
Special to The Sun

The predicted poor weather forecast never materialized Saturday and athletes took advantage to produce the best Tom Jones Invitational meet in history at Percy Beard Track.

Gator senior Thomas Mardal got off a huge first throw to up his school record to 249-11. Mardal’s throw was the best in the NCAA this year.

“That’s how it had to be today,” Mardal said of his series of throws. “ I’ve been struggling a little bit with my hip this week. I have some inflammation going on so I knew I was going to have a maximum of three throws so I needed to get one out there.”

Gator redshirt sophomore Gabby Wilkinson finished second in the women’s 800-meter run in a time of 2:01.45 in a down-to-the-wire finish with winner, Amber Tanner of Georgia who ran 2:01.36. The two moved to second and third fastest in NCAA with their times with Wilkinson moving to second fastest in UF history. Redshirt sophomore teammate Imogen Barrett ran 2:03.22 to move into sixth best in UF history and seventh fastest in NCAA.

Former UF star Grant Holloway, running for adidas, ran a world best of 13.17 in the 110-meter hurdle preliminaries. The 2019 world 110-meter champion and NCAA indoor and outdoor champion who is undefeated this year improved on his world best in the final running a 13.07 to win handily over FSU’s Trey Cunningham (13.28). 

“It’s in the books. I’ve been training hard, but I have to just execute in the latter half of the race," Holloway said. "It’s going to come up to me in those big races with big people. I think that is my third fastest time ever. It’s still good, but I have to get better.”

In the final race of the day, the Florida Gator women finished second in the 4 x 400 meter relay in 3:27.50 to move to third fastest in NCAA. Taylor Manson, Sterling Lester, Doneisha Anderson and Talitha Diggs moved to sixth all time in UF history.

Other outstanding performances Saturday:

• In the women’s 100 meter hurdles, Jasmin Camacho-Quinn stunned the field, herself and the crowd as she ran the seventh fastest time in world history to win in a time of 12.32. It was also a national Puerto Rican record.

• FSU sophomore JoVaughn Martin ran 9.94 in the 100 meters. It was the 12th fastest time in collegiate history and beat the times from the pro division won by Justin Gatlin in 9.98.

• Gator senior Clayton Brown finished second in the triple jump with a mark of 53 feet 0.25 inches.

• Gator redshirt junior Dedrick Vanover ran 10.28 to set a personal best.

• Gator freshman Claire Bryant won the high jump with a leap of 5 feet 8.5 inches.

Full results can be found at floridagators.com.