Parting Thoughts From Florida Relays 2024: Quincy Wilson Drops A 45.19, Gainesville Elite Runs 37.67 For 4x100m

By Paul Hof-Mahoney

April 1, 2024

The Pepsi Florida Relays is always one of the best meets of the early outdoor track and field season because it brings together elite performances at the high school, collegiate and professional levels. The 2024 edition this weekend was no different.

Here are some of the highlights:

Wilson opens outdoor season with a jaw-dropping 45.19

Last summer, Quincy Wilson put the country on notice when he ran 45.87 at the USATF U20 Championships. This time put him just inside the top 25 fastest U18 athletes ever over 400m as a 15-year-old.

This indoor season, he put the WORLD on notice by setting unofficial world U18 bests in the indoor 400m and 500m at 45.76 and 1:01.27, respectively. In his first two months of being 16 years old.

He’s now opened his outdoor season with the second-fastest time ever by a sophomore, the eighth-fastest time ever by a high schooler (tied with eventual World Champion Michael Norman), and a time that places him 10th in the world right now, regardless of age group. One more time for emphasis: He turned 16 in January.

This run, somehow, becomes even more impressive when you consider the fact that Wilson wasn’t even slated to run the open 400m at this meet until just the day before. In Wilson’s words, “I was only supposed to run some relays… and my plans were changed last minute but I just came out and gave my best.” His best on Friday morning just so happened to be one of the very best in high school history.

Ford carries over indoor dominance with a pair of collegiate leads

In her first taste of outdoor action on the collegiate scene, Ford continued to tear up the track better than anyone else in the country, posting the best 200m mark in the NCAA so far at 22.37. Just like the indoor season, though, Ford came back on Saturday for relay action, anchoring the Gamecocks to a collegiate lead in 43.34 for the 4x100m and the third-fastest time in the NCAA in the 4x400m at 3:28.57.

Van Daalen breaks through 60m barrier twice to reset own school discus record

In her first year in the NCAA, Alida Van Daalen of Florida came tantalizingly close to the first 60m throw of her career, recording marks of 59.96m in a 3rd-place finish at NCAA outdoors and 59.93 in a runner-up finish at the Dutch National Championships.

2024 is already a different story, as she wasted no time in breaking her own school record and the 60m barrier in the process with a throw of 61.84m Friday afternoon. This nearly 2m PB gives Van Daalen, who is also one of the best shot putters in the country, the collegiate lead by more than 80cm.

Van Daalen is seeing immediate benefits from a technical change she made this offseason, saying “I was really looking for rhythm in that, and to have that in the first meet, I’m really pleased about it.”

Lippett sets national #2 mark in a nearly meter-and-a-half win

Winter Haven senior Jaden Lippett seems to be incredibly comfortable on what will be his home track next season. The Florida commit took the win in the boys triple jump with a mark of 15.70m, placing him second in the U.S. behind only Karson Gordon of Episcopal, who jumped out to 16.19m at Texas Relays only a few hours after Lippett. The runner-up in Saturday morning’s competition came in at 14.43m, well over a meter behind Lippett, whose 3 legal marks were all beyond 15m.

Lippett would have placed sixth in the men’s competition, a field that included three professionals in Kaiwan Culmer, Christian Taylor and Donald Scott. Scott’s winning mark of 17.00m made him the first man in the world to break 17m outdoors in 2024 – an accomplishment that was also achieved by Jamaicans O’Brien Wasome and Jordan Scott later in the day in Austin.

Already one of the best jumpers in the country, it will be interesting to see what Lippett and coach Nic Petersen will be able to do when he gets to Gainesville this fall.

Gainesville Elite establish world lead in the 4x100 at 37.67

Grant Holloway to PJai Austin to Erriyon Knighton to Joseph Fahnbulleh. That was the order for, according to World Athletics’ all-time list, the fastest men’s 4x100m relay to take place before May in history. Now this race may not find its way into the record books, as Fahnbulleh represents Liberia internationally while the other 3 athletes are American, but that does nothing to diminish how impressive a clocking like this is at this point in the season.

Saturday’s race was the outdoor season opener for Holloway, Austin and Knighton, and a performance of this level so early in the season bodes well for their Olympic goals, both individually and in terms of being selected for the relay teams in Paris.

Speaking of the relay teams in Paris, it’s no secret the selection of Noah Lyles to the U.S. 4x400m team at the World Indoor Championships final in Glasgow ruffled some feathers in the USATF community. When asked about how a performance like this puts Holloway, Austin and Knighton in a good position when the Olympics roll around, Holloway spoke for the group and, very diplomatically, said

"We’ll leave the politics out of it. We just stay ready so we don’t gotta get ready"

Bullis girls take down 20-year-old national 4x400m record

It had been 7,238 days since Long Beach Poly ran 3:35.49 in the 4x400m, establishing one of the longest-lasting national records on the books. Records are made to be broken, however, and that’s just what the team from the Bullis School did Saturday afternoon.

Payton Payne, Sydney Sutton, Kennedy Brown and Morgan Rothwell put together, to put it simply, the greatest 1600m relay we have ever seen at the high school level. While the legs from Payne and Sutton were obviously nothing to scoff at, it was the final 2 legs from Brown and Rothwell that really fueled their time of 3:35.23.

When the baton got to Rothwell for the anchor leg, she was actually trailing the team from Montverde, but quickly built a lead that she never relinquished. Behind Bullis, Miami Northwestern overtook Montverde on the final leg and finished in 3:36.12 to move to fifth on the all-time high school list.

More early-season top track and field action will take place at James G. Pressly Stadium in two weeks with the Tom Jones Invitational.

Paul Hof-Mahoney

Paul is currently a student at the University of Florida (Go Gators) and is incredibly excited to be making his way into the track and field scene. He loves getting the opportunity to showcase the fascinating storylines that build up year-over-year across all events (but especially the throws).