Andrade Shatters Record in Outdoor Debut, Varela Breaks New Ground in Gainesville, Hurricanes Partake in Florida Relays.

Andrade Shatters Record in Outdoor Debut, Varela Breaks New Ground in Gainesville, Hurricanes Partake in Florida Relays.

by James Knable

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The University of Miami throwing and distance athletes competed at the Florida Relays in Gainesville Friday and Saturday.

Décio Andrade, the reigning ACC indoor champion in the men’s weight throw, made his 2023 outdoor season debut in the hammer throw. Earning an incredible distance of 72.89m, the Portugal native now ranks number one in school history in the event. Andrade now holds the indoor record for both the indoor weight throw and outdoor hammer throw.

On top of a new program record, Andrade also placed first in the event against skilled competition. Look for Décio to transition his incredible indoor season energy into outdoor for the hurricanes.

Ayman Zahafi was next up in the men’s 1500m on Friday. This was Zahafi’s first career appearance at the event, and he did it in spectacular fashion. 

Also facing strong competition, Zahafi placed second with a time of 3:46.68, earning himself the number one time in program history when it comes to the men’s outdoor 1500m.

Miami native Natalie Varela stepped onto the track next for the hurricanes, poised to continue her hot start to the outdoor season.

Varela didn’t disappoint and joined Andrade and Zahafi as she took down the women’s 1500m program record with a time of 4:20.04, a new personal best for Varela as well.

On the last event of day one, Austen Cannon fought hard in an event that isn’t usually in his arsenal, the men’s 5000m. With a time of 14:31.80, Cannon walks away with a new personal best and is now number two in the program record books for the event.

Moving on to Saturday events, Hannah Hall was first up for the hurricanes in the women’s shot put. Last week, Hall’s mark of 17.88m placed her at number two in the Miami record books and was number two nationally.

On Saturday, her hunger and determination still showed.

With a mark of 17.89m, on her third attempt, Hall earned herself a new personal best and the second-place spot against some of the nation’s best.

Sticking with the throwing squad, Kristina Rakocevic placed second in the women’s discus with a mark of 49.84m. Selina Dantzler followed right behind Rakocevic with a third-place finish with a distance of 48.12m. 

So Natalie Varela, the one who just broke the 1500m program record on day one, came back wanting more on day two.

In the women’s 800m, Varela earned herself a new personal best of 2:05.05, which also stands as number five in the program records for the event.

Not only was this a great personal race for Varela, but her time also placed her second at the Florida relays.

To close out the event for Miami, Erikka Hill reached a new personal best in women’s shot put with a mark of 16.04m.

Next week, the track and field team will compete at the Miami Alumni Invitational on April 7 and 8 at Cobb Stadium in Coral Gables, Fla.

To stay up to date with the Miami Hurricanes track and field team, make sure to follow @canestrack on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.