UF Track & Field: Three NCAA Leads Highlight Gators’ Nine National Top-10 Performances in Columbia

Thomas Mardal made his season debut on Saturday, logging the NCAA-leading mark in the weight throw
Photo By: Tim Casey

Courtesy of University Athletic Association


Gators close their second meet of the season with NCAA-leading performances by Talitha Diggs, Thomas Mardal, and Grace Stark

The Gators posted three NCAA-leading performances and a total of nine national top-10 outings to close the two-day South Carolina Invitational at the Carolina Indoor Track and Field Complex Saturday afternoon.

Sprinter Talitha Diggs, who posted a jaw-dropping performance during her collegiate debut two weeks ago, did it again this weekend. The freshman finished first in the 400 meters with an NCAA-leading time of 52.34 seconds, which ranks sixth in the world and is a new facility record.

Diggs, who is tied for the third-fastest time in school history in the 200 meters, now ranks eighth on UF’s Indoor All-Time Top 10 list in the 400 meters.

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Another top performance came from hurdler Grace Stark. The sophomore, who made her season debut Saturday, crossed in 8.06 seconds in the 60-meter hurdles. Her time is tied for the No. 1 spot on this year’s NCAA Division I Indoor Qualifying list.

Thrower Thomas Mardal also made his season debut in South Carolina with an NCAA-leading mark. The 2020 weight throw SEC champion threw for 23.14 meters (75 feet, 11 inches) in the weight throw, setting a new personal-best mark that ranks second in school history and leads the nation.

Meanwhile back on the track, sprinter Joseph Fahnbulleh earned a spot in UF’s record book with an NCAA top-5 time in the 200 meters and new facility record. The sophomore crossed in 20.60 seconds, securing the third-fastest time in the nation and sixth-fastest time in program history.

The Gators also saw top-10 performances in the 800 meters, the long and triple jumps, and both men’s and women’s 4×400-meter relays.

Redshirt sophomore Gabrielle Wilkinson ran a time of 2:05.71 in the 800 meters, which is the eighth-fastest in the nation and in school history. Meanwhile, redshirt senior Kala Penn recorded a mark of 13.41 meters (44 feet) in the triple jump that ranks seventh in the nation and sixth in UF’s history; while junior PJ Austin secured the ninth-best mark in the NCAA with a long jump 7.67-meter (25 feet, 2 inches) leap.

The Gators finished the afternoon strong with the men’s and women’s 4×400-meter relays.

The men’s squad, formed by Ryan Willie, Ian Davis, Denzel Villaman, and Jacob Miley, secured the No. 4 spot in the nation with a time of 3:06.86. Meanwhile on the women’s side, the relay team headlined by Diggs, Taylor Manson, Sterling Lester, and Doneisha Anderson crossed in 3:35.91 to secure the No. 10 spot on this year’s NCAA Division I Indoor Qualifying list.

In addition to top national performances, several Gators also improved their personal-best times and marks.

Fahnbulleh, adding to his NCAA top-5 performance in the 200 meters, set a new personal record of 6.73 seconds in the 60 meters. Fellow sprinter Dedrick Vanover logged a new personal best of 6.71 seconds, finishing third in that event.

Meanwhile, Miley improved his personal record in the 800 meters with a time of 1:51.85, while jumpers Alexis Brown and Malcolm Clemons set new personal-best marks in the long jump and triple jump, respectively. Brown logged a mark of 6.10 meters (20 feet, 0.25 inches), while Clemons leapt for 15.46 meters (50 feet, 8.75 inches).

A complete list of results for the Gators is below.

The Gators are back in action next Friday when they travel to Fayetteville, Ark. for this year’s Tyson Invitational.


  *   Results (Adkins Results)
  *   Day 1 Recap
  *   Venue: Carolina Indoor Track and Field Complex