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UF Track & Field: Wilkinson Wins Gold, Gators Collect Seven Medals to Close SEC Outdoors

Courtesy of University Athletic Association

BY RICK HURTADO

UF’s men finished fourth in the SEC, while the women earned a sixth-place spot

Redshirt sophomore Gabrielle Wilkinson was crowned SEC champion in the 1,500 meters during the third and final day of the 2021 SEC Outdoor Track and Field Championships, helping the women’s team to a sixth-place finish (62 points) in Bryan-College Station, Texas. Meanwhile, the men finished fourth with a total of 74 points.

Wilkinson rallied during the last stretch of the race, moving all the way from third place to take the lead and clinch her first SEC gold medal with a time of 4:15.28.

Wilkinson’s SEC title is the second consecutive 1,500 meters conference crown for the Gators, as Imogen Barrett won it in 2019. UF is the first program to have consecutive teammates wins in the 1,500 meters since Arkansas in 2000, 2001, and 2002, and the first to win back-to-back gold medals in that event since Tennessee (Sara Bowman) in 2008 and 2009.

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Wilkinson’s gold medal adds to thrower Thomas Mardal’s SEC crown, which he clinched during the first day of competition.

Including Wilkinson and Mardal’s SEC titles, the Gators collected 11 top-3 finishes throughout the championship meet.

Redshirt freshman Grace Stark finished second Saturday in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 12.74 [+3.6] seconds to earn the first medal of the day after Wilkinson’s championship-winning gold.

Meanwhile on the men’s side, Joseph Fahnbulleh clocked a time of 20.05 [+1.7] in the 200 meters to win a silver medal. A new personal record for Fahnbulleh, that time ranks fourth in UF history and second in the NCAA this year.

Fellow sprinter Dedrick Vanover also earned a medal of his own. The Gainesville native logged the fifth-fastest time in Division I, crossing in 10.03 [+3.2] seconds to earn bronze in the 100 meters.

Freshman Talitha Diggs collected a bronze medal in the 400 meters with a time of 51.27 seconds, the fifth-fastest time in program history. Diggs was followed by redshirt junior Taylor Manson, who finished fifth after crossing in 51.51 seconds for a new personal record that ranks 10th on UF’s Outdoor All-Time Top 10 list.

In the jumps, Natricia Hooper earned a bronze medal in the triple jump with a mark of 13.93 meters (45 feet, 8.25 inches) [+5.1]. Hooper moved the No. 2 spot UF’s Outdoor All-Time Top 10 list with a wind legal jump of 13.92 meters [+1.9] and joined fellow jumpers Claire Bryant (Long Jump, Silver), and Clayton Brown (High Jump, Bronze), in earning top-3 finishes at SECs.

Florida’s 4×400-meter relays squad, formed by Taylor Manson, Sterling Lester, Doneisha Anderson, and Talitha Diggs, finished the weekend for the Gators on high note, logging a time of 3:28.33 to earn a silver medal.

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