1 » Don’t bother asking them to, because it does not look like No. 1 Florida Gators gymnastics (6-0, 3-0 SEC) plans to slow down anytime soon. Drawing nearly 7,000 fans to the Stephen C. O’Connell Center on Friday, Florida took down the previously undefeated No. 6 Alabama Crimson Tide (6-1, 1-1 SEC) 197.55-195.45. Gators freshman Mackenzie Caquatto led the team with two event wins (uneven bars, balance beam) and took the all-around title with a score of 39.575, while senior Maranda Smith captured the vault event and sophomore Marissa King won the floor exercise. Florida will be tested once again on Saturday as they face No. 4 Georgia on the road.
2 » Gators sophomore sprinter Jeff Demps and junior jumper Christian Taylor became the fourth and fifth members of the team, respectively, to automatically qualify for the NCAA Championships after posting strong individual showings over the weekend at the Virginia Tech Elite Meet. Demps recorded a 6.57 in the men’s 60-meter dash, the second-fastest time in the NCAA this season, during his first race of the year. Taylor won the triple jump with a mark of 16.61m/54-6 for the sixth-straight time in his last six competitions. The duo join jumpers junior Will Claye and sophomore Omar Craddock and junior heptathlete Gray Horn as Florida’s current NCAA automatic-qualifiers off the No. 1 men’s track & field team.
Read the rest of this post…after the break!
3 » Forced to postpone one match, No. 2 UF women’s tennis (4-0) continued its strong start to the season with a 7-0 shutout drubbing of the Florida International Panthers on Sunday. The Gators’ clean sweep included straight-set victories in every match. No. 7 sophomore Allie Will, No. 96 freshman Sofie Oyen and sophomore Lauren Embree led the way as their team won its 86th consecutive home match.
4 » Not to be outdone was No. 7 Florida men’s tennis (6-0), which won weekend match-ups against the Central Florida Knights at home and No. 27 Florida State Seminoles in their road opener. The Gators blanked the Knights 7-0 being a strong showing from the No. 11 duo of senior Alexandre Lacroix and junior Nassim Slilam. No. 4 Lacroix, No. 28 sophomore Sekou Bangoura, Jr., No. 52 sophomore Bob van Overbeek and Slilam also won their singles matches on Friday at Linder Stadium at Ring Tennis Complex. Saturday’s showing against the Seminoles was more heavily contested with Florida squeaking out a close 4-3 victory. Lacroix/Slilam lost their doubles match, and Lacroix also uncharacteristically fell in singles competition 7-5, 2-6, 6-4 to No. 42 Vahid Mirzadeh of Florida State. Bangoura and Slilam took down their singles competition (with Slilam’s win clinching the event), but van Overbeek also dropped his match to No. 37 Clint Bowles 7-6(3), 4-6, 6-3.
5 » Coming up short beginning on Thursday was Gators women’s basketball (14-11, 4-7 SEC), which lost a pair of nail-biters at home to the Ole Miss Rebels (10-11, 3-6 SEC) and Vanderbilt Commodores (16-7, 7-3 SEC). Florida was defeated by Ole Miss 61-59 in regulation on Thursday after coming back from a 12-point deficit with 6:12 remaining to tie the score with 1:03 to go; UF would follow that up with a 103-97 double-overtime loss to Vanderbilt. Sophomore forward Jennifer George played great in both losses, posting combined numbers of 31 points and 23 rebounds in the two games.
6 » ESPNU’s Graham Hays took a look at the No. 5/5 Gators softball team in a preview he put together last week. In it he looks at Florida’s potential to win the whole thing in 2011 while raving about the toughness of senior starting pitcher Stephanie Brombacher, who had a fantastic season with a 35-8 record and 2.01 ERA in 2010 even though some questionable footwork caused her to face questions bout illegal pitching down the stretch of the season. The Gators, which lost in the Women’s College World Series last year, begin their season Friday against Marshall in the USF Wilson-DeMarini Tournament in Clearwater, FL.