Gymnastics Tops Another Good Weekend for UF

There is always something athletic going on with gator athletics. Over the weekend, the athletic program of the University of Florida had a lot of success. Softball, tennis, track and field, golf, and gymnastics all took the spotlight. Some teams achieved victory on the field and others gained recognition off of the field.

In their home series against FIU, the No. 3/4 Florida softball team swept the Panthers. The Gator softball team opened the series by winning both games in a doubleheader on Friday and finished the sweep by beating the Panthers 7-1 in the series finale on Saturday.

Sophomore pitcher Hannah Rogers (Lake Wales, Fla.) led the Gators to victory on Saturday. Her stellar performance in the circle allowed her to improve her record to 24-3 for the season. On offense, sophomore Cheyenne Coyle (West Hills, Calif.) hit a double in the fifth inning that brought in the first run of the game for the Orange and Blue. Freshman Jess Damico (Gray Summit, Mo.) hit her first career home run to bring the score to 7-1.

The Gators will make their way back onto the field at 5 p.m. on Tuesday to face their SEC opponent LSU in a doubleheader. The second game is set to start at 7:30 in Gainesville.

When the Gator women's tennis team took the court on Sunday for the SEC Tournament Championship, the Gators faced 7th ranked Georgia. During the championship, Florida's tennis team fought hard for victory as five of the six singles matches went to a third set. In the end, the Gators came out on top by defeating Georgia 4-1. Two Gators that stood out were Joanna Mather and Lauren Embree. Mather was named the MVP of the SEC Tournament and Embree was named a member of the All-Tournament Team.

With the championship win, the Gators now claim three straight SEC Championships. By earning the title, Florida has secured the SEC's automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament. The Gators will learn their destination on Tuesday, May 1st at 5:30 p.m. when the 64-team field will be announced.

On the other hand, the No. 10 Gator men's tennis team was not as successful as the women's team. Florida lost to 13th ranked Ole Miss in the SEC tournament quarterfinals on Friday. All the Gators have to do now is await their fate, which will be decided by the NCAA Tournament selection committee.

Despite the devastating loss, the future is bright for the men's tennis team. On Tuesday, the Gators announced that English national Luke Johnson has signed a letter of intent for Florida. Johnson is the 77th ranked tennis player in the AEGON British Tennis Rankings Open Division. Johnson will add athleticism and skill to the already talented team.

In the mind of Gator men's tennis player Bob van Overbeek, winning is not everything. Overbeek was named to the 2012 SEC Men's Tennis Community Service Team. This is Overbeek's third straight season earning this honor. Overbeek is an active member of Goodwill Gators and spends a lot of his time giving back to the community.

For the Florida track & field team, this weekend was a very productive one. During their last home meet, the top-ranked men and the 7th ranked women combined for 12 victories. Jeff Demps, Tony McQuay, Leonardo Seymore, and Dedric Dukes were ruthless in the 4x100 meter relay. The Gators claimed a collegiate best of 38.67 at Percy Beard Track. For the women, freshman Taylor Burke won her first high jump of the season with a mark of 1.79m/5-10.50. Another athlete who stood out at the event was Cory McGee, who finished first in the women's 800 meters with a time of 2:05.98. Florida's women won the top four spots in the 1500 meters. The next time that Florida's track team competes will be at the 2012 Drake Relays, which will be held at the site of the 2012 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

The No. 23 Gator golf team had some success at the SEC Championship this weekend. Florida's junior golfers Tyler McCumber and T.J. Vogel each finished in third place. The duo did their part to Florida lead Florida to a third place finish in the SEC Championship. The Gators will return to the course for the NCAA Regionals on Friday, May 18.

This weekend the No. 1 UF Gymnastics team traveled to the NCAA Gymnastics Championships. The Gators fell short of their championship goals by placing second in the NCAA Super Six. For the Gators, there were still a lot of positives. Florida freshman Kytra Hunter showed her skill when she became the 2012 NCAA Vault Champion. Her victory allowed Hunter to become the first Gator to win the NCAA all-around title and the only Gator to win two events in a single year. Hunter's victory is extremely impressive as she is just the fifth freshman to claim multiple NCAA titles in the 31-year history of the event.

Although the swimming team did not compete this weekend, they claimed a victory of their own. The University of Florida announced that the Canadian national record holder, Sinead Russell, has signed a letter of intent for the Gators. Russell showcased her athletic ability by making the 2012 London Olympic Squad at the Canadian Olympic Trials in Montreal. Russell will clearly be a great addition to the Gator swimming team.

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