Larry Vettel's Women's Sports Weekly

Friday night's Super Six performance was far from the best we will see from Rhonda Faehn's squad this year. But Florida's first night of competition is all I needed to see to be convinced that this is going to be a special year for the "glitter girls." Three uncharacteristic falls on the floor exercise cost the Gators the win in the nation's top early-season meet but it showed the potential for the 2005 team is virtually limitless.

One thing Rhonda Faehn has made a top priority in her time in Gainesville has been to upgrade the skill level of the Florida gymnasts. When the little things make all the difference in judging the routine, the more difficult elements lead to higher scores. When the difference between a national championship and fifth place can be as little as five one-hundredths of a point per routine, the degree of difficulty invariably is the key. It's no coincidence that since Faehn began taking Florida's routines to a new level that the Gators began posting higher scores. In fact, the ten highest scores in school history have all come in Faehn's first two seasons.

The Gator squad has a great balance of youth and experience. Last year's dynamic freshmen, Breanne King, Samantha Lutz, Savannah Evans, Katie Rue and Chantelle Tousek have moved into their sophomore campaigns. Another talented group of newcomers, including Ashley Reed, Tiffany Murry, Tracy Rai, Nicola Willis and Whitney Rosenberg has joined the program to give Florida unbelievable depth and competition for slots in the lineup.

That's the youth. The experience comes from Florida seniors Orley Szmuch, Erinn Dooley and Kimberly Schatz.

I don't spend a lot of time in this space admonishing you to support teams and get out to the competitions. You have your lives and I have mine. But if you have ANY interest in gymnastics… if you have a young girl at home… you owe it to yourself to check out this team.

You can thank me later.

Peck's Charges Continue To Surprise

I figured this would be a tough year for Carolyn Peck and the Florida women's basketball team. I just thought the Gators shortcomings in the paint would be too tough to overcome. Well that's what I get for thinking. If I did it more often I'd be better at it. Florida is off to a 2-0 start in SEC play and while the conference may not be as dominant as it has been for more than a decade, it's still a very tough league.

The league gets tougher with a Thursday night game with top-ranked LSU where the Gators will certainly be overmatched. Florida has lost the last four against the Tigers by an average of almost 25 points per game. Then again, I may not be the best judge of that. The game is on Sunshine Network and offers you the chance to see this team in action. You'll also get a look at LSU freshman Sylvia Fowles, a kid from Miami who is the best high school girls basketball player I have ever seen.

Tamia Williams Has Been The Key

When Danielle Santos went down with a stress fracture, Florida needed someone to step up and provide some scoring. Enter Tamia Williams, a senior from Palm Beach Gardens who, frankly, has been a bit of a disappointment in her Gator career. Williams averaged just over four points a game her first three years. Well, she was worth the wait. Williams is averaging 16 during Florida's five-game winning streak and led UF with a total of 45 points in SEC opening wins over Arkansas and Auburn. Once Florida gets Santos healthy Peck will have a new challenge -- getting more time for Williams and Santos on the floor together.

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