Florida Gators women's track and field team wins first national championship in 30 years
The Florida Gators women’s track and field team claimed its first national title in 30 years — and second overall — following an impressive performance over the weekend at the NCAA Indoor National Championships.
Led by jump specialist Jasmine Moore, the Gators took home five individual event titles, just the second time that’s happened in the history of the NCAA Women’s Indoor Championships.
The victory is extra meaningful for Florida head coach Mike Holloway, who has won nine national titles in men’s track and field (5 indoor, 4 outdoor) but had yet to accomplish that feat on the women’s side.
“It’s an incredible feeling. Obviously, it’s something we’ve been striving to and we’ve come up short a few times, but again, I don’t think it’s really sunk in yet,” he said. “It’s important for me, it’s important for the program as a whole, and it shows the young ladies that it can be done."
Holloway is just the 10th head coach in Division I track and field history to win 10 team titles.
“We have a wonderful support system here at the University of Florida,” Holloway said of his success. “They give us all the tools we need to be successful and I capitalize on those things.”
Moore got things started Friday in the long jump, leaping 6.57 meters to win Florida’s first individual title in the event. The jump tied that of Texas Tech’s Monae Nichols, however, Moore was awarded the win thanks to her second best jump, which narrowly bested Nichols by two-hundredths of a meter.
Gators' Anna Hall makes history
Anna Hall also made history, winning Florida’s first individual title in the pentathlon. Hall ran a personal-best 8.25 seconds in the 60-meter hurdles on her way to a score of 4586. Duke’s Erin March placed second with a score of 4383.
Moore, the SEC Indoor Women’s Athlete of the Year, continued her impressive performance on Saturday, breaking her own collegiate record in the triple jump with a mark of 14.57 meters.
“She was raised for these kinds of moments and she embraces them well,” Holloway said of Moore.
Moore is the first woman in NCAA Indoor history to win conference and national titles in both the long jump and triple jump in the same season.
“I was really proud of myself, just to compete well at SECs and do well in both, and just have enough confidence to do the same at nationals,” Moore said. “It just shows all the work that I put in in the fall was definitely paying off. It’s just really exciting.”
Talitha Diggs wins NCAA title in 400 meters
Talitha Diggs ran a personal best of 50.98 seconds — the second fastest time in school history — to win the 400 meters for her first NCAA championship.
Grace Stark won the final individual title for the Gators, matching the collegiate record of 7.70 seconds in the 60-meter hurdles.
Others who scored points for the Gators include Claire Bryant in the long jump, Stark and Semira Killebrew in the 60 meters, and Natricia Hooper with a second-place finish in the triple jump.
“As the leader of the program it’s satisfying to win a national championship, but the satisfying part for me is watching the young ladies — the tears that come to their eyes, the joy in their hearts. That was the best part of it for me,” Holloway said.
Moore echoed those thoughts.
“To have everyone on the team experience that (winning a national title) for the first time is just extremely special and I’m just so proud of everyone for showing up and just competing and doing their best," she said.
NCAA Women's Track and Field Indoor National Championships
1. Florida (68)
2. Texas (56)
3. Kentucky (44)
4. Arkansas (40)
5. LSU (29.5)