FOUR BITS: track, Tebow, Lewis, Moss

1 » A total of 10 current and former Florida Gators qualified for the 14th IAAF World Outdoor Championships over the weekend by competing in events across the globe. Twenty-one Gators participated at the 2013 USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships from June 19-23 in Des Moines, IA, with six moving on to the next stage of competition. Senior Omar Craddock and reigning Olympic silver medalist Will Claye finished one-two in the men’s triple jump. (Olympic gold medalist and 2012 World Champion Christian Taylor will also compete in Moscow, Russia from Aug. 10-18.)

Olympic relay silver medalist Tony McQuay and freshman Arman Hall finished two-three in the men’s 400 meters, Kerron Clement qualified with a fifth-place finish in the men’s 400-meter hurdles, and junior Cory McGee came in third in the women’s 1,500 meters but must still meet the “B” standard qualifying time before heading off to Moscow. Additionally, Novlene Williams-Mills won the Jamaican title in the women’s 400 meters, junior Eddie Lovett will race the men’s 110-meter hurdles for the Virgin Islands, and senior Ugonna Ndu will compete in the women’s 400-meter hurdles for Nigeria. Ndu can also qualify for the 100-meter hurdles by meeting the “B” standard qualifying time in that event prior to the start of the World Championships.

2 » New England Patriots quarterback Tim Tebow has been keeping a low profile with his new team, just as the front office and coaching staff asked, but he is hoping to make up some of the money he lost after New York waived him with a new investment. Tebow, already a co-owner of a D1 Sports Training facility in Tampa, FL, recently signed on with the fast-growing chain restaurant PDQ as the company’s latest investor. A Tebow-owned PDQ, the company’s eighth location, will open in Jacksonville, FL, later this summer. He also has options to purchase additional stores and may open another location in Jacksonville as well as one or two more in Alachua County. Tebow happened in to a PDQ for lunch one day while taking a break from his charity work in Tampa. He returned to the restaurant that evening for a second meal and immediately asked his management company, XV Enterprises, to learn more about the chain.

Check out two more BITS of Florida Gators news…after the break!
Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: track, Tebow, Lewis, Moss

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15 Gator Bites for Friday, June 21

From time to time, OGGOA will come across a plethora of news and notes that we wish to share – too much to fit into one of our truncated BITS segments. When stories like these fall through the cracks, we catch and wrap them all up with Gator Bites.

» Texas Rangers catcher A.J. Pierzynski, a die-hard Florida Gators fan, does the Gator Chomp after hitting a double off St. Louis Cardinals left-handed pitcher Randy Choate, a former Florida State player, on Friday night. [Special thanks to OGGOA reader Mitchell M. for sending this in.]

» Sports Illustrated soccer columnist Grant Wahl penned a terrific column on former Florida striker Abby Wambach, who passed Mia Hamm and set a new career international goals record on Thursday.

» A total of 21 Gators (10 former and 11 current) are presently in Des Moines, IA, competing in the 2013 USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships and USA Junior Outdoor Track & Field Championships. Athletes participating in the event from June 19-23 have the opportunity to qualify for the 2013 IAAF World Outdoor Championships in Moscow, Russia from Aug. 10-18.

Omar Craddock and Will Claye became the first two Florida representatives to qualify on Thursday when they finished one-two in the men’s triple jump. Craddock took the American title with a mark of 17.15m/56-4.25, while Claye finished second with a 17.04m/55-11 jump. Also advancing to Moscow was Ugonna Ndu, who participated at the All-Nigeria Athletics Championships, winning the 100-meter hurdles in 13.4 seconds. Numerous other Gators advanced in their respective disciplines, and OGGOA will provide updates as each event finishes.

» Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal, still sidelined with a stress fracture in his right fibula, is finally expected to return to the court in just over a week. According to the Washington Post, Beal will likely be cleared by doctors on July 1, three months after his injury was initially diagnosed. The Wizards were originally hoping Beal would be able to participate in the NBA Summer League games, but it is unlikely that the team takes the risk of putting him into action so soon after he returns from injury. It is more likely that Beal will next play meaningful basketball alongside Houston Rockets forward Chandler Parsons during 2013 USA Basketball Men’s National Team Mini-Camp from July 22-25 in Las Vegas, NV.

Check out 11 more bites of Florida Gators news…after the break!

Continue Reading » 15 Gator Bites for Friday, June 21

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FOUR BITS: Smith, Bowerman, women’s basketball

1 » Florida Gators senior sprinter Calvin Smith advanced to the semifinals of the men’s 400-meter dash at the USA Track & Field Championship at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, IA on Thursday. Smith placed second in his heat and moves on to the next race, which will also include former Florida sprinter, Olympic gold medalist and, four-time World Champion and indoor 400-meter world record holder Kerron Clement.

2 » Three Gators track & field athletes – sophomore sprinter Jeff Demps, senior thrower Mariam Kevkhishvili and sophomore jumper Christian Taylor – have been named as top 10 finalists for The Bowerman, the sport’s highest honor. The men’s and women’s categories, respectively, will be knocked down to three finalists in the next few weeks, and voting from the 100-member panel will commence from there.

3 » Like its male counterpart, the Florida women’s basketball team has agreed to face the Central Florida Knights in 2010; however, instead of a regular season game, the two teams will square-off in the first round of the 2010 Preseason Women’s National Invitation Tournament on Nov. 13. The game time will be scheduled at a later date.

4 » Probably more than any other sport, college basketball coaches are hired based on relationships, working experience and recommendations. Louisville head coach Rick Pitino played an instrumental role in Billy Donovan’s elevation to the top job with Florida, and the Tuscaloosa News reports that he also helped Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Anthony Grant get his new job because of his relationship with Donovan. “When Alabama was getting ready to make a change, a good friend of mine, (UA trustee) John McMahon, called me to see about my interest in the job and I said, ‘John I’m not going to move any more in my life,’” Pitino said. “We talked about certain people and I said, ‘You just mentioned someone that I think is one of the premiere young coaches in basketball. He has all the intangible things that will make a great coach some day.”

Pitino also raved about Grant’s potential. “Look at what Billy Donovan has been able to do,” he said. “Anthony can do the same thing. […] I think he’s going to take Alabama to great heights. It’s going to take a little time here. He’s got guys leaving that shouldn’t leave, and he’s going to get the players in that he’s comfortable coaching and he’s going to take them to the top of the SEC.” Pitino even helped facilitate the move, which you can read more about here.

Photo Credit: CBS via University of Florida

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Demps picks football over USA T&F Championship

Florida Gators junior running back and multiple 2010 NCAA Championship-winning sophomore sprinter Jeff Demps will not compete at the 2010 USA Track & Field Championship in Des Moines, IA from June 23-27.

Instead, Demps will remain in Gainesville, FL, and concentrate on re-conditioning his body with director of strength and conditioning Mickey Marotti for the football season, according to the Orlando Sentinel’s Andrea Adelson.

“Running a 9.96 in the 100 meters (at the NCAA Championship) and doing what he does on the football field and doing what he did in the indoor track season, [Demps] couldn’t have done that if he didn’t keep his body in shape and mind in shape,” Marotti told ESPN this week. “This isn’t a normal track athlete. I don’t want to categorize anybody, but this guy is different now. You tell him to go 100 percent, and that’s the way he’s going to go. He’s definitely been a workout warrior. There’s no way he would have been able to run that 9.96 without being one.”

Even so, Demps (and no doubt the football staff) believes it is now time he focuses on the upcoming football season. His four track titles this year (Outdoors – 100 meters, 4×100 relay; Indoors – 60-meters, team championship) will stand as reminders of what he can accomplish after the season commences.

Though Demps will be sitting out, six Gators will be competing at the USA Track & Field Championship over the weekend. Sophomore Christian Taylor will be vying for the men’s triple jump title, senior sprinters R.J. Anderson and Calvin Smith will compete in the men’s 400-meter dash, freshman Omar Craddock goes for the men’s junior triple jump, freshman Lanie Whittaker will try to win the women’s junior 400-meter dash and freshman Ugonna Ndu will press her luck at the women’s junior 400-meter hurdles.

Photo Credit: Caitlin Healy

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