EUGENE, Oregon —— The list of accomplishments from this year’s Florida women’s track and field team could go on forever. And it’s still far from over after making history on Saturday night in Eugene.
For the first time in program history, the Gators captured the NCAA women’s outdoor championship, holding off the pre-championships favorite Texas with a scoring advantage of 74 to 64 in the final team title race.
“It was a lot of pride watching them doing what we do,” winning head coach Mike Holloway said. “Everybody just bought in [and] we kept fighting. And wow! we are national champions.”
Florida completes NCAA Indoor Outdoor Championships sweep
Florida, which entered the weekend ranked No. 2 in the country, used scoring across seven different events to win the first outdoor title for the women and the third overall on the women’s side.
This marks the first NCAA Indoor/Outdoor sweep on the women’s side in the program’s history. Florida’s men in 2012 were previously the only other Gator teams to accomplish that feat.
Paired with the Men’s NCAA Outdoor Championship from Friday, Florida collected both team titles on the weekend, the first program to accomplish that feat since Oregon in 2015.
Out of the four contested NCAA Track and Field Championship meets during the 2022 calendar year, Florida won three of them.
The Gators became just the third different program (LSU, 1989 and Oregon, 2014 and 2015) to win three team titles in one season.
Florida received points in the 400 meters (10), 800 meters (5), 5000 meters (8), 400 Hurdles (10), Long Jump (14), Triple Jump (13), and Heptathlon (14).
Talitha Diggs provided an early spark for the Gators, taking down her own school record en route to the NCAA Outdoor Championship in the 400 meters.
She became just the fifth collegian ever to run under 50 seconds, crossing the line in 49.99 to complete the indoor/outdoor sweep of the 400 meters.
Diggs joins her aunt, Hazel Clark (1998, 800 meters), as the only two women in program history to win NCAA titles in the same running event over indoor and outdoor seasons during the same calendar year.
Charlotte Browning (2010, Mile/1500m) and Becki Wells (1997, Mile/1500m) also won individual running events indoors and outdoors but those events were contested over separate distances.
Diggs’ title was the second NCAA Outdoor event title over 400 meters (Anita Howard, 1992) in program history.
Imogen Barrett (4th) and Gabrielle Wilkinson (9th) followed up in the 800 meters with a pair of All-American performances.
Barrett’s fourth-place finish tallied five points in the team race for the Gators.
Super Anna Hall for the Gators
Amidst the second day of the Heptathlon, Anna Hall stepped away to compete in the finals of the 400-meter hurdles.
On the tail of six events over 24 hours, Hall ran 54.76 to take 2nd Place and score eight points for the Gators. Vanessa Watson finished 7th in 56.83 to earn First Team All-American status and add two points to the Florida tally.
Hall’s busy weekend concluded some 20 minutes later with the final event of the Heptathlon, the 800 meters.
With a sizeable lead in hand, Hall ran the final event in 2:21.23 to secure a 446-point victory (6385 points) in the Heptathlon.
In the course of 20 minutes, Hall added 18 points to the Florida total.
She became the first Heptathlon champion in Florida history, sweeping both the Indoor Pentathlon and Outdoor Heptathlon this year.
Sterling Lester had an outstanding weekend in the Heptathlon as well. After running the 800 meters in 2:12.63, she finished in 5th place with a personal best of 5751 points.
Jasmine Moore was also a standout performer for Florida
Jasmine Moore made history in her own right on Saturday night. After leaping out to 14.03m/46-0.5 on her second attempt, Moore all but secured her National Title in the Triple Jump.
She improved to 14.32m/46-11.75 on her third attempt, the eventual winning mark on her fourth national title of the season.
Moore became the first woman in history to go 8-for-8 on titles in the horizontal jumps (four conference, four national) in the same calendar year.
She also became the first woman to sweep the Long Jump/Triple Jump both indoors and outdoors since Cal’s Sheila Hudson in 1990.
Natricia Hooper closed out her collegiate career in 6th Place (13.44m/44-1.25), earning First Team All-American honors. Alissa Braxton was 18th at 12.83m/42-1.25.
Following the conclusion of the Heptathlon and Triple Jump, Florida held a 10-point lead over Texas, meaning Parker Valby just needed one point in the 5000 meters to secure the title.
In the end, she ran brilliantly on her way to getting a vital eight points.
Valby went head-to-head with NC State’s Katelyn Tuohy, eventually relinquishing the lead with 800 meters to go to finish as the NCAA Runner Up in the 5000 meters.
Her time of 15:20.10 was a near nine-second personal best and gave the Gators the necessary points to clinch the title before the 4×400 relay.
The team of Taylor Manson, Doneisha Anderson, Cait Tate and Talitha Diggs finished 9th in the 4×400 relay, earning Second Team All-American honors.
Making up for lost indoor points
18 points from Florida’s NCAA Indoor Championship team were lost due to injury prior to the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
Lester, Valby, Hooper, Watson, Claire Bryant and Barrett added 26 key points to the Florida cause to pair with the 48 provided by Moore, Hall and Diggs.
The NCAA Outdoor Championship caps off arguably the best season in the history of the Florida women’s track and field team.
Over the Indoor and Outdoor seasons, the Gators captured both national titles and the SEC Outdoor Championship.
Florida also broke the Indoor Triple Jump Collegiate Record and the Indoor 60-Meter Hurdles Collegiate Record.
This team also rewrote 11 school records.
Following this weekend, the Florida women have now won 51 National Event Titles, including AIAW titles, in the 50 years of the program.
This was the seventh sweep of the Men’s and Women’s NCAA Outdoor Championships in the same year (2022 Florida; 2015 Oregon; 2011, 2010, 2009 Texas A&M; 1990, 1989 LSU).
Women’s Outdoor Track & Field is the seventh Gator program to claim its first NCAA team title in the last 13 seasons (baseball, gymnastics, softball, men’s tennis, men’s indoor track & field, men’s outdoor track & field, women’s outdoor track & field).
Florida points scorers at NCAA Outdoor Championships 2022
- 400m: Talitha Diggs: 1st (10)
- 800m: Imogen Barrett: 4th (5)
- 5000m: Parker Valby: 2nd (8)
- 400mH: Anna Hall: 2nd (8)
- 400mH: Vanessa Watson: 7th (2)
- Triple Jump: Jasmine Moore: 1st (10)
- Triple Jump: Natricia Hooper: 6th (3)
- Heptathlon: Anna Hall: 1st (10)
- Heptathlon: Sterling Lester: 5th (4)
Women’s Team Title Race (Final)
- Florida (74)
- Texas (64)
- Kentucky (50)
- LSU (39)
- Texas A&M (39)