College

Florida Gators split for final meets of regular season

The Florida Gators Track & Field program will travel to two different meets this weekend as they conclude the 2024 regular season. Stay tuned for the championship part of the season next, which starts next month.

Arik Morton

Alida van Daalen in action for Florida Track and Field
Alida van Daalen in action for Florida Track and Field

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Members of the Florida Gators Track & Field program will participate in both the LSU Invitational and the East Coast Relays this weekend as they conclude the 2024 regular season.

The LSU Invitational is set to take place on Saturday, April 27 while the East Coast Relays, hosted by the University of North Florida, will span both Friday, April 26, and Saturday, April 27.

LAST TIME OUT

In the Gators most recent competition, the majority of student-athletes competed at the Tom Jones Memorial Invitational in Gainesville, Fla. while a subset of distance runners traveled to Azusa, Cal. to participate in the Bryan Clay Invitational.

Parker Valby began the weekend’s competition by capturing the second collegiate record of her career as she shattered the 10,000m record by 28 seconds while competing in California.

Read more: Julien Alfred vs Dina Asher-Smith vs Gabby Thomas in 100m at Texas Invitational

The Tampa, Florida native recorded a time of 30:50.43 which makes her the 13th woman in American history to have broken 31 minutes in the 10,000m.

Her time ranks No. 11 on the American all-time list and is No. 5 in the world in 2024. As customary with setting a collegiate record, Valby placed first in the event, holds the University of Florida school record, and is No. 1 in the NCAA in 2024.

The Gators tallied three other school records over the course of the weekend, the first of which occurred on the same night as Valby’s collegiate record. Elise Throner broke a 12-year-old school record in the 3000m steeplechase.

The previous record, held by Gator Great Genevieve LaCaze, was 9:37.90. Thorner shaved nine seconds off that time with a finish of 9:28.49.

Grace Stark and Alida van Daalen notched program record performances two days later during competition at the Tom Jones Memorial Invitational. Stark rattled off a record-breaking run of 12.56 in the 100m hurdles, breaking her own school record which she set in 2022 at the Tom Jones Memorial Invitational (12.58).

In addition to setting a new top time in Florida history, the Michigan native holds the No. 1 time in the NCAA in 2024.

Van Daalen broke her discus record for the third consecutive week at Tom Jones as she, at the time, improved her personal record mark to 62.58m/205’4” which stood until the Netherlands native kept the streak going at the Oklahoma Throw Series with a toss of 66.31m/217’6”.

This gives van Daalen the 2024 Paris Olympic Standard and currently ranks her sixth in the world in the event.

About The Author

Arik Morton

Communications Assistant (Cross Country, Track & Field) University of Florida Athletic Association C: (973) 507-6189 | O: (352) 375-4683 Ext: 6120 ArikM@gators.ufl.edu | @ajmorton_19 FloridaGators.com

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