UF roundup: Men's and women's track & field teams finish 2nd at SEC Indoor Championships
After battling eventual champion Arkansas, the Florida men's and women's track and field teams both finished second at the 2022 SEC Indoor Championships.
The Florida women, who were runners-up last season, finished with 97 points and held the team lead after 14 events before eventually losing the lead to Arkansas after the Razorbacks scored big points in the 3,000 meters and pole vault.
The women had four individual champions including a sweep of the long jump and triple jump from Jasmine Moore. Moore became the first SEC athlete to accomplish that feat since Florida's Shara Proctor in 2010. After scoring 20 individual points, Moore was also the joint winner with Arkansas' Lauren Gregory of the Commissioner's Trophy for the most individual points by an athlete at the SEC Championships.
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Grace Stark was the fourth individual champion of the weekend for the women after clocking a 7.91 in the finals of the 60-meter hurdles. Joining those two on the podium on Saturday night included Talitha Diggs (3rd in 400m, 4th in 200m), Imogen Barrett (3rd in 800m) and Natricia Hooper (2nd in Triple Jump).
"We had a great weekend. Today was a rollover from yesterday," coach Mike Holloway said Saturday. "We just fought all day long. Jasmine Moore, wow, winning the commissioner's trophy and the long jump and triple jump. I think what you saw out of the women is what you're going to see out of them from this day forward. That's who we are, we're going to fight."
The Florida men used a late surge in the sprint events to climb into second place. The Gators used a hefty effort in the 400 meters behind a personal best from Champion Allison (1st, 45.04) and 2nd and 4th place finishes from Ryan Willie and Jacory Patterson, respectively.
Allison's mark is third in Florida history and second in the NCAA this season. The trio continues to shine in the event, all holding top-nine marks in the NCAA heading into the National Indoor Championships in two weeks.
Dedrick Vanover ran perhaps the tightest race of the entire event, finishing in a tie for first (6.633) with Georgia's Matthew Boling in the 60 meters. The men recorded their highest place at the indoor championships since winning the event in 2019.
No. 15 Florida pounded out a season-high 17 hits to claim the series finale over Georgia State, 12-1, at Florida Ballpark on Sunday afternoon en route to the team's first series sweep of the season.
Colby Halter led the charge at the dish, finishing with a career-high four hits while going 4 for 6 with one home run, three RBIs and two runs scored.
Despite the big day the plate for the Gators (6-2), the Panthers (4-4) scored first in the matinee matchup. After loading the bases, starting pitcher Timmy Manning plunked Josh Smith to force Dalton Pearson home and make it 1-0. That marked the extent of the scoring for Georgia State, as Florida took total control thereafter.
Manning rebounded following the second-inning run, holding the Georgia State offense in check in the third and fourth. That gave the Gators a window to knot up the score, which is precisely what Kendrick Calilao did with a two-out RBI single to left field to plate Josh Rivera in the bottom of the fourth.
In the fifth, Gator fans took in a moment many arrived at Florida Ballpark hoping to see. With a man on third and a 2-0 count, Jud Fabian connected on a deep home run to left-center field for his first of the year, scoring Halter and giving the Gators a 3-1 lead.
In Saturday's contest, the Gators scored 13 runs on 16 hits to clinch the series against Georgia State with a 13-4 victory.
Numerous Gators had career nights at the plate in game two, as Halter (2 for 3), Thompson (3 for 3), Langford (3 for 5) and D. Fabian (2 for 4) all churned out multi-hit performances. Most worthy of note was Langford, who set career highs in hits (three), runs (two) and RBIs (four) while launching his third home run of the season and second in as many days. Halter also scored a career-high four runs and Thompson's three hits tied his career best.
The fourth-ranked Florida softball team dispatched Oakland, 6-1, Saturday evening on day two of The Knights Classic held at the UCF Softball Complex.
The Gators (14-0) fell behind early to the Golden Grizzlies (2-1) as Madison Jones sent the first pitch offered from fifth-year graduate Natalie Lugo (4-0) over the center field wall, but that was it as Lugo proceeded to shut down their offense for the next five innings.
The West Covina, California, native didn't allow a single hit for the rest of the game and struck out a season-high eight batters for her fourth win in five starts.