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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FOUR BITS: Tebow’s illness, Bress comparisons

1 » One story surrounding the 2010 Under Armour Senior Bowl was former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow’s lingering illness. Believed to be a strep throat early in the week, Tebow was actually suffering from a viral infection of his esophagus. Pam Tebow, Tim’s mother, said his sickness was “much worse than strep throat” and caused eating to be too painful for him throughout the week. Tebow met with a doctor all week and lost more than 10 pounds over the course of the week.

2 » While many sports writers have spent the last week criticizing Tebow, Sports Illustrated’s Stewart Mandel took a look at the situation from another angle. Former Purdue Boilermakers head coach Joe Tiller, who coached Drew Brees, Curtis Painter and Kyle Orton (among others), laughed at all of Tebow’s doubters. “I can remember NFL critics saying the same thing when Drew was a senior,” Tiller told Mandel. “‘He’s in that Purdue offense all the time. He lines up in the shotgun all the time, and our guys line up under center. It’s not like college football has a monopoly on the shotgun formation. Now that I’m out of coaching, I’ve watched more NFL football this year than I have the last 10 years combined. There’s hardly any team in the league that doesn’t have their quarterback in the shotgun anymore. […] The entire league is doing what Drew Brees was criticized for coming out of college. […] Actually, I think a guy coming out in the shotgun is better equipped than a guy coming out of center.”

3 » Fifty-one University of Florida student athletes were named to the 2009-10 Southeastern Conference Academic Honor Roll for the fall semester. Football led the way with 23 honorees, followed by soccer (18) and volleyball (10). Prominent names on the list include Tebow, sophomore RB Jeff Demps, junior punter Chas Henry, senior kicker Jonathan Phillips and junior kicker Caleb Sturgis.

4 » Florida track and field was responsible eight provisional-qualifying marks/times, three event wins and two NCAA automatic-qualifying marks/times during the Texas A&M Challenge in College Station, TX, on Saturday. The second half of the event was highlighted by thrower Mariam Kevkhishvili and jumper Shara Proctor, who earned the NCAA automatic-qualifying bids. For more information on the Gators’ performances over the weekend, click here (day one) or here (day two).

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