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UF Track & Field: Bryant’s Record-Setting Leap Highlights Day 2 at Nationals

Courtesy of University Athletic Association

BY RICK HURTADO

Claire Bryant closed her freshman indoor campaign with a new school record and a second-place finish at NCAAs

Freshman Claire Bryant gave UF’s women a boost of eight points during the second day of competition at indoor nationals with a new school record and a second-place finish in the long jump Friday evening inside the Randal Tyson Track Center in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Bryant opened up for the Gators with marks of 6.33 and 6.54 meters before improving to a personal-best 6.64 meters. In her last attempt of the evening, the first-year jumper closed her freshman indoor campaign with a 6.70-meter (21 feet, 11.75 inches) leap to break UF’s 11-year-old record.

Her finish helped the Gators close the evening tied for fourth place with 14 points as they’ll head into Saturday for the third and final day of this year’s NCAA Indoor Championships.

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Meanwhile on the track, Florida’s DMR squad, formed by Gabrielle Wilkinson, Lauryn Ghee, Abbie Harrelson, and Imogen Barrett, contributed two points to the Gators’ tally with a seventh-place finish. The quartet logged a time of 11:05.36 in the last event of the evening.

Florida’s women will return to the track Saturday, boasting a total of five spots in the final rounds of competition, including the 400 and 800 meters.

Newcomer Talitha Diggs will compete in the 400 meters after securing a final-round berth Friday with a time of 51.91 seconds. Meanwhile Wilkinson, who crossed in 2:04.59, will return for a chance to secure a national title in the 800 meters.

On the men’s side, all four Gators competing Friday in the semifinals moved on to the final rounds.

Senior Raymond Ekevwo qualified with a time of 6.64 seconds in the 60 meters, while newcomer Ryan Willie advanced to the 400 meter finals after finishing fifth and recording a time of 45.72 seconds.

In the 200 meters, No. 2 seed Joseph Fahnbulleh qualified after crossing in 20.53 seconds, while fellow sophomore Tyler Davis recorded a new personal-best time of 20.72 to earn a spot in Saturday’s finals.

Junior PJ Austin and freshman Malcolm Clemons represented the Gators in the long jump. Austin completed the day with a mark of 7.39 meters (24 feet, 3 inches), placing 13th, while Clemons finished 15th after leaping 7.15 meters (23 feet, 5.50 inches).

Florida’s men are currently tied for seventh with 10 team points and will enter the last day of competition with a total of seven finals berths.

The indoor national championships will wrap up Saturday from Fayetteville with a live broadcast beginning at 1:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. ET on ESPN3.