No. 3 Florida Gators men’s track & field captures 2010 SEC Outdoor Championship

No. 3 Florida Gators men’s track & field won the 2010 Southeastern Conference Outdoor Championship on Sunday, the team’s first since 1987, by scoring 124 total team points at Tom Black Track in Knoxville, TN. The victory marks men’s track & field’s second major title this year – the team won the 2010 NCAA Indoor National Championship (the first in program history) back on March 14.

Florida’s four individual event titles propelled them to the SEC Championship victory. Sophomore sprinter Jeff Demps captured the 100-meter dash, sophomore Gray Horn defended his 2009 SEC Championship in the decathalon, sophomore Christian Taylor took home the triple jump and the four-man team of Taylor, senior R.J. Anderson, senior Calvin Smith and freshman Tony McQuay won the 4×400-meter relay.

Demps became the Gators’ first SEC Champion in the men’s 100-meter dash since 2000, while Taylor carried the same honor in men’s triple jump for the first time since 1976. Horn’s decathalon score of 7,652 was a career-high and second-best in school history. He is the ninth person in conference history to win the title back-to-back and first since 1974. Horn is also the only Florida track & field athlete to win an SEC decathalon title.

Florida’s No. 10 women’s team, which finished second in their respective event to the No. 2 LSU Tigers (which won their third SEC Championship in the last four years), posted a total team score of 107.5 points. Like the men, the women raked in the individual titles and captured five all-together.

Senior distance runner Charlotte Browning defended her 2009 SEC Championship in the 1,500-meter run, senior Mariam Kevkhishvili won the shot put, senior Evelin Dekkers took home the javelin event and senior Shara Proctor was victorious in both the long jump and triple jump.

Browning’s 1,500-meter run time of 4:13.96 was her career-best and the second-fastest time in school history. Even more impressive were the victories by Kevkhishvili in the shot put and Proctor in the triple jump – each woman won the SEC title for her third time in her respective event.

The Gators will now close the season beginning May 27-29 with the NCAA East Preliminary Round, which can earn them a berth in the 2010 NCAA Outdoor Championships.

Photo Credit: University of Florida

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SAAC holds first annual Florida Letterman Awards

The University of Florida’s Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) held the first annual Florida Letterman Awards on Monday at the Phillips Center in Gainesville, FL. Check out the winners of each award…after the break:
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FOUR BITS: Baker, The Bowerman, Tebow, Nike

1 » Former Florida Gators wide receiver Dallas Baker, most recently waived/injured by the NFL‘s Pittsburgh Steelers on Sept. 6, 2009, has signed on with the Jacksonville Sharks of the newly revamped AFL. The Sharks are one of two new franchises being introduced to the league this year, and Baker joins fellow Gators cornerback Dee Webb on the team. The Sharks are 1-0 already this season with a 54-38 victory over the Oklahoma City Yard Dawgz last week.

2 » Each year, the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association hands out The Bowerman award which recognizes the most outstanding collegiate men’s and women’s track & field athlete. Three current Florida student-athletes are on The Bowerman’s watch list as of April 7: women’s senior thrower Mariam Kevkhishvili, men’s freshman sprinter Jeff Demps (new addition) and men’s sophomore jumper Christian Taylor. The Gators also boast women’s senior jumper Shara Proctor and women’s junior/senior distance runner Charlotte Browning as honorable mentions at this time. The award will not be handed out until December.

3 » Sourcing NFL.com draft analyst Gil Brandt, Jerry McDoanld of InsideBayArea.com says the Oakland Raiders have a high level of interest in former Florida quarterback Tim Tebow. According to Brandt’s story, Tebow was asked by the Raiders’ coaching staff to break down a play. He replied, “This is how it’s called with Florida, this is how it’s called with your organization and this is how it’s called with West coast teams.” Brandt went on to say, “I think that when you get a quarterback and he reacts that quickly, you know that the guy is not only pretty smart, but he does have that mental quickness to adjust very fast.”

4 » Apparel and shoe company Nike has officially announced its partnership with Tebow. Click the link below to read the full press release.
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Florida Gators capture first men’s track & field title

No. 1 Florida Gators track and field captured their first national title in program history Saturday night, winning the 2010 NCAA Indoor Championship with 57 total team points. Their performance, coupled with a fourth-place finish for the women’s team, was one of the most successful national meets in program history.

Competing at the Randal Tyson Track Center on the campus of the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, AR, the Gators won by 13 points over the Oregon Ducks and Texas A&M Aggies, who tied for second-place with 44 team points. The national title victory is the 23rd in University of Florida athletics history.

Sophomore running back and freshman sprinter Jeff Demps captured the NCAA men’s 60-meter dash championship, the first in school history. His 6.57 time was one-hundreth of a second shy of his own 6.56 record-setting time that was accomplished during the preliminaries on Friday.

Senior thrower Mariam Kevkhishvili of Georgia took home the NCAA indoor shot put title. She is the second woman in NCAA history to win three-straight titles in this event. Kevkhishvili tossed a school-record 18.59m/61-0 for the win Saturday, shattering her previous personal record of 18.56/60-10.75. One of the most accomplished Florida track and field athletes of all time, she has now won 13 consecutive indoor competitions.

Also bringing home titles for the Gators over the weekend were junior distance runner Charlotte Browning (women’s mile) and men’s sophomore jumper Christian Taylor (men’s triple dump). In all, Florida took home 16 All-America honors at the NCAAs.

Though the indoor season is over for the Gators, the 2010 outdoor track and field season begins in just one week, on Sat., March 20.

Photo Credit: GatorZone.com

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FOUR BITS: Baseball wins, lacrosse falls to No. 5

Bubble Watch » All four teams riding the 2010 NCAA Tournament bubble \in action Tuesday won their respective contests. South Florida (20-11) took down DePaul 58-49, Rhode Island (22-8) defeated Saint Joseph’s 87-76, Dayton (20-11) lit up George Washington 70-60 and Seton Hall (19-11) was victorious over Providence 109-106.

1 » In the first of what will be a 10-game homestand, No. 6/7 Florida Gators baseball (8-2) took down the Illinois State Redbirds (4-6) 8-2 Tuesday night at McKethan Stadium in Gainesville, FL. Freshman starter Hudson Randall (2-0) tossed five innings of one-run ball along with five strikeouts as the Gators carried a 8-1 lead into the top of the eighth inning. Freshman first baseman Austin Maddox went 1-4 with a home run in the sixth, three RBI and two runs; sophomore outfielder Tyler Thompson supported him with a 2-4 performance with two RBI; and freshman OF Kamm Washington was 3-4 with an RBI and three stolen bases.

2 » A team filled with mostly freshman, Florida lacrosse has already had a remarkable inaugural season. Looking to put a feather in its cap Tuesday, the Gators (3-2) took the No. 5 Georgetown Hoyas (2-1) to the wire, falling 13-11 in just under two hours. Freshman goalkeeper Cara Carrington (3-2) got the loss as fellow freshman Caroline Chesterman contributed three goals and five shots in 65 minutes of field time. Each team accounted for 33 shots and 11 ground balls, but Georgetown cleared more shots than Florida – 17/17 to 12/16. The Hoyas outscored the Gators 10-5 in the first period, but UF came roaring back with a 6-3 total in the second period.

Two more BITS on awards given to the Florida Gators…after the jump!
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