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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Swimming finishes second at SEC Championships

Competing for four days in the Gabrielsen Natatorium at the University of Georgia, the No. 6 Florida Gators men’s and No. 7 women’s swimming and diving teams each finished in second place at the 2010 Southeastern Conference Championships. On the men’s side, the Auburn Tigers took first place by only 19 points (784-765), while the Georgia Bulldogs finished ahead of the Florida women by a larger margin (824.5-698).

Men’s coach Gregg Troy and women’s coach Donnie Craine led the Gators’ efforts all season long, bringing home recognition for themselves while assisting numerous student-athletes in reaching accolades of their own. The men’s and women’s teams combined for 14 SEC Championship titles (six and eight, respectively), two SEC records and six school records. Florida also earned 18 NCAA automatic qualifying marks/times.

2010 Florida SEC Awards
SEC Men’s Swimming Coach of the Year – Gregg Troy
SEC Women’s Diving Coach of the Year – Donnie Craine
SEC Men’s Swimmer of the Year – Conor Dwyer
SEC Women’s Swimmer of the Year – Gemma Spofforth
SEC Women’s Diver of the Year – Kara Salamone
Commissioner’s Trophy, High Point Award (Men’s) – Conor Dwyer, Shaune Fraser
Commissioner’s Trophy, High Point Award (Women’s) – Gemma Spofforth

Check out Florida’s numerous new SEC titles, SEC records, school records, NCAA qualifiers and more after the break!
Continue Reading » Swimming finishes second at SEC Championships

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FOUR BITS: Softball sets record, lacrosse debuts

1 » No. 3/9 Florida Gators softball (5-1) shutout the Campbell Camels (1-4-1) 7-0 Friday night on the back of a school-record six home runs. Leading their team to victory, junior first baseman Megan Bush had lead-off home runs in back-to-back plate appearances, and junior starter Stephanie Brombacher (4-1) blanked Campbell over five innings while compiling a season-high 11 strikeouts. Six of Florida’s seven runs came on solo homers from five different Gators including Bush (4th, 6th), sophomore outfielder Michelle Moultrie (4th), junior catcher Tiffany DeFelice (6th), freshman C Kelsey Horton (6th) and junior outfielder Kelsey Bruder (7th).

Florida softball (6-1) continued its dominance Friday with a 12-4 win over the Kansas Jayhawks (2-5) in the Gators’ second game of the night. Junior second baseman Aja Paculba went 4-4 with a career-high five RBI. In all, seven UF players accounted for 14 hits and freshman pitcher Erin Schuppert (1-0) earned her first career win in four innings of relief with seven strikeouts while allowing only two runs. Freshman Ensley Gammel started for the Gators.

2 » Florida’s newest sport, women’s lacrosse, is set to debut Saturday against the Jacksonville Dolphins (0-2) at 6 p.m. in the brand new Donald R. Dizney Stadium for the first regular season game in school history. Head coach Amanda O’Leary has done a terrific job preparing the Gators, including recruiting the No. 1–ranked signing class in the nation according to Inside Lacrosse Magazine. The team, which fell 17-8 in its first exhibition match against the U.S. National Development team before rallying to a 7-7 tie at Rutgers and a 10-8 win over Princeton, is made up of two seniors, one junior, two sophomores and 24 freshmen. Admission is free for all home games, so be sure to go out and support this up-and-coming team in its first season!
- Athletic director Jeremy Foley is proud of the school’s newest sport.
- The Florida lacrosse team was years in the making.
- Everything you need to know about how lacrosse is played.

Gators swimming & diving and gymnastics also impressed on Friday…
Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: Softball sets record, lacrosse debuts

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TWO BITS: Four more SEC titles, women fall to UK

Opening BIT » Congratulations to forward/center Al Horford of the Atlanta Hawks for a career-high 31 points in his 200th NBA game on Wednesday! “In the fourth quarter, I looked up at the scoreboard and I was pretty excited about it,” Horford said. “Obviously, I’m more concerned about winning. But when you’re able to do something like that individually, it always feels good.”

1 » Coming through with two titles, one Southeastern Conference record and one school record on the first day of competition, Florida Gators swimming and diving completed its second of four days of competition in the 2010 SEC Championships by taking home three more individual conference titles as well as a relay title. Junior Conor Dwyer and seniors Shaune Fraser and Gemma Spofforth all won individual SEC Championships, while the Gators women’s 200 free relay team defended its title. Florida now has six SEC titles in the first two days of the meet. The Gators men’s and women’s teams each led their respective fields going into Thursday’s events; however, both fell to second by the time the day was over. UF also achieved numerous NCAA qualifying times throughout the day. Day three of the SEC Championships begins Friday at 10 a.m. from the Gabrielsen Natatorium at the University of Georgia.
Men: Auburn (291 points), Florida (282), Georgia (205)
Women: Georgia (300 points), Florida (266), Auburn (248)

2 » While the men’s team bounced back with a win Thursday against Auburn after suffering consecutive losses, Florida women’s basketball (13-13, 6-7 SEC) fell to their third-straight ranked opponent on the road against the No. 16 Kentucky Wildcats (22-4, 10-3 SEC) in the Memorial Coliseum. A three-pointer by senior guard Lonnika Thompson with 9:04 remaining in the game brought the Gators within two points of the Wildcats (47-45), but Florida would allow Kentucky to outscore them 30-6 in the remaining time to pull off a 77-51 victory. Dooming the Gators were 23 turnovers and poor defense – the Wildcats shot 66.7 percent from the floor. Florida will try to bounce back against another ranked opponent, the No. 20 Georgia Bulldogs, who they host in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center on Sun., Feb. 21 at 5 p.m. The game will air on ESPN2.

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TWO BITS: SEC titles for swimming, softball wins

1 » Florida Gators swimming and diving completed its first of four days of competition in the 2010 Southeastern Conference Championships by taking home two SEC titles, one SEC record, one school record and two NCAA automatic-qualifying marks. The Gators, who are tied for first place in both the men’s and women’s team competitions through the first day, hope to build on their already outstanding performances. Senior diver Kara Salamone earned UF’s first diving title since 2001 on the one-meter springboard, while the men’s 800-yard free relay team brought home the second title of the evening with a 6:15.91 time – the fastest in the country this season. Composed of freshman Sebastien Rousseau, junior Conor Dwyer and senior/junior brothers Shaune and Brett Fraser, the men’s team also set the SEC and Florida records with their NCAA automatic-qualifying mark. Day two of the SEC Championships begins Thursday at 10 a.m. from the Gabrielsen Natatorium at the University of Georgia.

2 » Also victorious Wednesday was the No. 3/5 Gators softball team (4-1), who took down the Jacksonville Dolphins (4-1) 6-1 in its home opener at Katie Pressly Seashole Stadium in Gainesville, FL. Junior pitcher Stephanie Brombacher (4-1) earned the win on a two-hit, nine-strikeout performance which began with her striking out the side in the first inning. Offensively, junior catcher Tiffany DeFelice powered Florida with two home runs and three RBI while going 3-for-3 from behind the plate.

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TWO BITS: Tebow’s ad, McCartney’s decision

1 » Along with his mechanics and future as an NFL quarterback, former Florida Gators star Tim Tebow and his decision-making have come into question over recent weeks in regard to his Focus on the Family advertisement which will run during Super Bowl XLIV. Sally Jenkins, a sports columnist with the Washington Post, believes the problem is not with the message of Tebow’s ad but rather those criticizing it. Jenkins, who Is pro-choice, writes: “As statements at Super Bowls go, I prefer the idea of Tebow’s pro-life ad to, say, Jim McMahon dropping his pants. […] We’re always harping on athletes to be more responsible and engaged in the issues of their day, and less concerned with just cashing checks. It therefore seems more than a little hypocritical to insist on it only if it means criticizing sneaker companies, and to stifle them when they take a stance that might make us uncomfortable.”

2 » Four-star wide receiver recruit Ivan McCartney (Miramar, FL) has yet to declare where he intends to play college football in 2010. For a while, he has been down to the Gators, Miami Hurricanes and West Virginia Mountaineers. Though four-star defensive end commit Lynden Trail (Miami, FL) has tried to convince him to join Florida’s class, McCartney is believed to be heading elsewhere. However, he did give this sterling quote about his experience with the Gators to the Miami Herald: “There’s something about Florida I don’t feel for the other schools, a very strong, loving feeling. The atmosphere is wild. The campus is outrageous. They have swagger, too. And it’s an awesome place, no matter who is coaching there.”

Extra Bit » Good stuff from The Gainesville Sun on Florida senior swimmers and two-time Olympians Omar Pinzon and Shaune Fraser, who are looking to leave a mark.

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Florida begins rivalry week up 2-0 on FSU

Florida Gators swimming & diving got the first crack at the Florida State Seminoles on Tuesday in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center, topping them 169-131 while being led by seniors Shaune Fraser and Omar Pinzon and junior Conor Dwyer. Basketball’s victory just a few hours later in the same building was more of a beat down, as junior forward Alex Tyus and his teammates routed their rivals 68-52.

Tyus, with a solid 13-point and eight-rebound performance, led the Gators (4-0) to their first win over the Seminoles (3-1) in the last four meetings. Matching Tyus with 13 points were freshman guard Kenny Boynton and sophomore point guard Erving Walker, both of whom were able to contribute in spite of poor shooting performances. Junior F Chandler Parsons followed Tyus’ team-high eight rebounds with seven of his own, also adding three assists, two steals and eight points to the box score. Senior F Dan Werner was on the court a team-high 33 minutes, going 2-for-2 from beyond the arc (his only two shots) to finish with six points, three rebounds, four assists and two steals.

Florida dominated the first half, perhaps their best performance in over a year, pressuring Florida State on defense, standing strong in the paint and hitting the boards hard. The Seminoles turned the ball over 16 times in the first 20 minutes, trailing 39-19 going into the locker rooms. Started the second half on a 19-2 run, they quickly brought the Gators lead down to four. It was not until a charge drawn by Werner roused the crowd and sparked the resurgence of the defense that Florida would overcome the attack, scoring 12 straight points to go back up 55-38. The Gators would maintain a double-digit lead through the rest of the game.

Florida takes on the No. 2 Michigan State Spartans on Friday at 8 p.m. in Atlantic City, NJ, as part of the Legends Classic. The game will air on Sun Sports and marks the highest ranked opponent the Gators have faced since the 2006-07 season. The Gators will look for the three-match sweep of the Seminoles when the football team takes them on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. in The Swamp.

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Olympic swimmer Beisel will attend Florida

Now 17, Elizabeth Beisel has already competed in one Olympic Games – 2008 in Beijing, China. She finished in fourth in the 200-meter individual medley and fifth in the 200-meter backstroke. While she trains hard and attempts to earn her way back to the 2012 Games in London, England, Beisel has decided to attend the University of Florida in the fall.

A native of Rhode Island, Beisel informed Florida Gators swimming and diving coach Gregg Troy last Saturday that she would be wearing the Orange & Blue in the coming school year. Most recently, she won two individual titles at the U.S. National Swimming Championships in June and a bronze medal in the 200-yard backstroke in August at the World Championships in Rome, Italy.

In other Gators swimming news… All-American Shaune Fraser was named the National Collegiate Swimmer of the Week for the second time so far this season. Fraser helped Florida (3-0, 1-0 SEC) win its third dual meet of the 2009-10 season (defeating the Georgia Bulldogs 139-104), earning first place individually in both the 200 fly and 200 IM, while contributing to the UF 400-yard medley relay with his butterfly stroke.

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