UF Track & Field: Tom Jones Invite Day 1: Duarte-Morais Shines during Collegiate Debut
Courtesy of University Athletic Association
BY RICK HURTADO
Florida’s distance corps contributed a bundle of top performances during Day 1 in Gainesville
Redshirt sophomore Arianne Duarte-Morais made her collegiate debut Friday, posting one of the best javelin throw marks in the nation and in school history as the Gators opened day one of this year’s Tom Jones Memorial Invitational at Percy Beard Track inside James G. Pressly Stadium.
The Oslo, Norway native competed for the first time in four years, logging a personal-best mark of 55.13 meters (180 feet, 10 inches) that ranks fifth on this year’s NCAA Division I Outdoor Qualifying list and sixth on UF’s All-Time Top 10 list.
However, Duarte-Morais’ outstanding performance out on the field was only the beginning to a bundle of top performances by the Gators.
On the track, Florida’s distance corps posted times that rank high in school history, as redshirt senior Marshall Dillon and redshirt freshman Caden Monk posted the eighth- and 10th-fastest times in school history in the 1,500 meters.
Dillon posted a personal-record time of 3:43.63 to finish third in the race, while Monk crossed in 3:44.06. Joining them in the competition were Trevor Foley (3:44.55) and Nick Deal (3:50.94), who both posted new personal bests.
Florida’s sprinting events were highlighted by newcomer Talitha Diggs, who finished second in the 200 meters with a time of 23.20 [+0.4] seconds, the 10th-fastest time in program history. The freshman was followed by Taylor Manson, who posted a new personal-record time of 23.43 [+1.0] seconds.
Other notable performances included new personal records by Emily Culley (4:23.56) and Stephy Ormsby (4:25.87) in the 1,500 meters, Jalen Chance (7.58 meters / 24 feet, 10.50 inches) in the long jump, and Edward Shelikoff, who posted a mark of 55.32 meters (181 feet, 6 inches), in the discuss throw.
The Gators are back in action Saturday with competition resuming at noon ET.
The Florida track and field program celebrated three Gators seniors during the opening day of this year’s Tom Jones memorial invitational. NCAA Champions Raymond Ekevwo and Thomas Mardal, along with NCAA qualifier and two-time silver medalist Abbie Harrelson, were honored by head coach Mike Holloway.
The festivities will continue Saturday as several other seniors will be recognized, including those whose Senior Day celebration was not possible in 2020 due the COVID-19 pandemic.