SIX BITS: track, swimming, gymnastics, tennis

1 » Capturing five events while taking home two NCAA automatic-qualifying marks, No. 2 Florida Gators track and field had a great weekend at the Texas A&M Challenge. Junior heptathlete Gray Horn and junior transfer jumper Will Claye each registered the qualifiers, with Horn registering a personal best 5,747 and Claye posting a season-leading 16.86m/55-3.25 in the triple jump. The duo joins sophomore jumper Omar Craddock, who has already registered his own automatic qualifying time.

2 » No. 5/8 Florida men’s/women’s swimming and diving swept the No. 7/10 Tennessee Volunteers on Senior Day at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center on Saturday. The men won 198-101, while the women were victorious 180-120. According to the University of Florida, “The 97-point victory for the UF men is the most lopsided win over UT in school history, while being the most points scored by the Gator men and the largest margin of victory in a one-day dual meet since a 208-88 conquest over Florida Atlantic on Jan. 26, 2001. The 198 points were the most in a one-day SEC dual meet since outscoring South Carolina 248-68 on Oct. 27, 2000, which was also the last time the men…had a 90-plus point margin of victory in SEC competition.”

Both teams also faced the Indian River State College Pioneers on Sunday and were victorious 165-120 and 157-106, respectively.

3 » Facing the No. 13 N.C. State Wolfpack (1-2) and No. 23 Penn State Nittany Lions (1-4, 0-2 Big Ten), No. 1 Florida gymnastics (5-0, 2-0 SEC) won the fifth annual Gators Link to Pink meet on Friday. The Gators posted 197.50 points compared to 195.3 for the Nittany Lions and 194.075 for the Wolfpack. Florida won all five events with freshman Alaina Johnson capturing four (vault, uneven bars, floor exercise, all-around) and sophomore Ashanée Dickerson bringing home one (balance beam).

4 » No. 2 Florida women’s tennis (2-0) swept a pair of matches over the weekend, defeating the Central Florida Knights (1-1) 7-0 and the College of Charleston Cougars (0-1) 6-0 at Linder Stadium at Ring Tennis Complex in Gainesville, FL. The No. 1 duo of sophomore Allie Will and freshman Sofie Oyen won its doubles match during both contests. Also victorious in both of their singles matches were No. 7 Will, No. 22 freshman Olivia Janowicz and No. 96 Oyen. No. 28 freshman Alex Cercone won on Friday, and No. 30 junior Joanna Mather did not finish her contest on Saturday.

5 » No. 7 Gators men’s tennis (4-0) was equally successful with back-to-back wins over the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos 4-0 and N.C. State 6-1 in Gainesville. The No. 11 duo of senior Alexandre Lacroix and junior Nassim Slilam won its doubles match in both events. No. 4 Lacroix and Slilam each captured singles wins on Friday and Saturday. No. 52 sophomore Bob Van Overbeek also won singles matches both days, while No. 28 sophomore Sekou Bangoura, Jr. won his opportunity on Saturday.

6 » After starting the season strong, Florida women’s basketball (13-9, 3-5 SEC) dropped three-straight contests in mid-January but ended that losing streak with a 70-64 home victory over the Alabama Crimson Tide (11-10, 0-8 SEC) on Thursday. Freshman guard Jaterra Bonds and sophomore forward Jennifer George each scored a team-high 12 points in the victory.

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Gators volleyball advances to NCAA second round

Recording their highest hitting percentage in an NCAA Tournament match in school history (.476), the 16 overall seed No. 14/15 Florida Gators (24-5) defeated the College of Charleston Cougars (18-13) 3-0 (25-21, 25-17, 25-18) in first round action at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center on Thursday. Five Florida players hit .400 or better in the match, and the team as a whole out-blocked College of Charleston 6.0-3.0. The Gators have advanced to the second round where they will face the Florida International Golden Panthers (32-3) on Friday at 7 p.m. in the O’Dome. FIU is the Sun Belt Conference regular-season champion.

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SIX BITS: Strong is No. 1, vote for Tebow, Alabama players, Jones vs. Haden, volleyball in NCAAs

1 » Over the past few days, OGGOA has reported that Florida Gators defensive coordinator Charlie Strong is the leading candidate to replace Steve Kragthorpe as head coach of the Louisville Cardinals. Yesterday, it was reported that Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich planned to wait until after the 2009 SEC Championship game to contact Strong after asking Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley for permission. Jurich expanded on his stance to the Courier-Journal Tuesday evening. “I want to get the program rolling, I want to get after it, but I gave my word to several people that I didn’t want to be a disruption to their program,” he said. “A lot of guys are still playing for a lot of important things. I’m the last person I want to get in the way.”

2 » Senior quarterback Tim Tebow has been named as one of three finalist for the 2009 Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award, which is given annually to the top quarterback in college football. The other two finalists are Texas Longhorns QB Colt McCoy and Houston Cougars QB Case Keenum. Fans are given 5 percent of the vote and can cast their ballot for Tebow to win the award every day until Dec. 6 by visiting http://www.VoteOBrien.org.

Check out four more very informative Florida Gators BITS after the jump…
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: Strong is No. 1, vote for Tebow, Alabama players, Jones vs. Haden, volleyball in NCAAs

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SIX BITS: SEC Championship week, injuries, Moore’s redshirt, volleyball, women’s b-ball

1 » While the No. 1 Florida Gators will technically be the visiting team on Saturday in the 2009 SEC Championship game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, GA, they have opened as a five-point betting favorite against the No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide. During their current nation-leading, school-record 22-game winning streak, the Gators have defeated 21 opponents by a double digit margin.

2 » Proponents of a playoff system for the National Championship should be pleased that Saturday’s match-up of No. 1 vs. No. 2 is a de facto play-in for entry into the BCS National Championship game in Pasadena, CA. This is the second consecutive year that the top two seeds will face each other in the SEC Championship. In 2008, Alabama was No. 1 while Florida was No. 2. It would be a tough task to find two teams as similar as the Gators and Crimson Tide, even if one tried.

3 » Alabama head coach Nick Saban expects running back Mark Ingram to be “fine” for Saturday’s game against Florida. Ingram, considered by many to be the front-runner for the Heisman Trophy, left Friday’s game against the Auburn Tigers with a hip pointer and did not return. For the Gators, junior linebacker A.J. Jones (MCL) will miss the game while redshirt junior transfer running back Emmanuel Moody (ankle) and sophomore cornerback Janoris Jenkins (hip) are probable, according to statements from head coach Urban Meyer.

4 » Senior transfer wide receiver Carl Moore has been granted a medical redshirt and will return to the Gators for the 2010 season. A JUCO transfer in 2008, Moore struggled in his first season with Florida and had chronic back issues leading up to and during 2009. Moore’s size and trustworthy hands make him a valueable asset to the Gators’ receiving crops. Still waiting for an official word on his requested medical redshirt is junior cornerback Moses Jenkins, who suffered a serious concussion against the Kentucky Wildcats and has yet to return to action.

5 » The No. 15/15 Florida volleyball team (23-5, 16-4 SEC) received the No. 16 overall seed in the 2009 NCAA Tournament field of 64. The Gators will host the College of Charleston Cougars (18-12) on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center. The winner will play the victor of the Florida International Golden Panthers vs. Miami Hurricanes match in second-round action on Friday at 7 p.m.

6 » Gators women’s basketball (3-3) hit a season-high 12 three-pointers on their way to a 71-60 victory over the Golden Panthers (2-4) on Sunday. Sophomore guard Jordan Jones scored a season-high 25-points while shooting .500 (5-of-10) from beyond the arc and 9-of-16 overall. Next up is the Florida A&M Rattlers as part of a doubleheader with men’s basketball beginning Tuesday at 4:30 p.m.

Extra Bit » ESPNU Road Trip: FSU-Florida Gameday

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