Gators Feeling Charitable

The Florida Gators took more than they received last year as they lay waste to team after team on their way to a national championship. On Friday, they were giving back as they met in The Swamp for one last bit of exercise and competition among themselves to benefit six noteworthy charities. The event was halted early, but was otherwise a complete success.

Senior receiver David Nelson was more like Coach Nelson on this night as he spearheaded the efforts for the entire team. The crowd was announced at 2,500 but seemed more like about 5,000 on hand and was much bigger than last year's inaugural event. All of this, while fighting bad weather.

"It was huge," Nelson said of the event. "I was a little worried about how the guys would react to it because it was a tough offseason camp. When they saw the fans out here and the little honorary captains running around...once they came out and the lights came on, the competitive nature came out of them and they really enjoyed it. It was a great day for us to come out one more time as a team and be able to have fun with each other before we put pads on."

The crowd was evidently double or more than what was in the stands for last year's event.

"I was excited. Considering the circumstances, we didn't know if it would rain or not," Nelson said. "It was better than last year...or main goals was to double what we had last year and try to do better. We hope that the charities got a lot out of it and the people got a lot out of it."

Gators' strength and conditioning coach Mickey Marotti was happy with the offseason and loves the fact his guys are ready to do something like this in front of the fans.

"We finished summer training on a great note and with lots of energy," Marotti said. "This is how we wanted to end our offseason program heading into the fall season. We had a great crowd here tonight and we want to thank all the fans who came out to support the Gators and our mission to raise awareness for our six charities."

The Cystic Fibrosis team led by captain Cade Holliday won the shortened event. It was what seemed a stacked team that included the likes of Tim Tebow, Brandon Spikes, Maurkice Pouncey, Mike Pouncey,and more. However, the teams were drafted after Marotti picked the captains.

2009 Gator Charity Challenge Charities and Team Captains
1. American Cancer Society (white)– Joey Sorrentino (Ocala, Fla.)
2. American Heart Association (red)– Jermaine Cunningham (Stone Mountain, Ga.)
3. Children's Miracle Network (yellow)– Dorian Munroe (Miami, Fla.)
4. March of Dimes (purple)– David Nelson (Wichita Falls, Texas)
5. Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (blue)– Cade Holliday (Gainesville, Fla.)
6. Susan G. Komen for the Cure (pink)– Lorenzo Edwards (Orlando, Fla.)

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