In order to make sure Florida Gators-related news stories don't fall through the cracks, once or twice a week The Silver Lining will take on a "news and notes" format to keep you up-to-date with the latest goings on in the world of University of Florida athletics.
Over the weekend, Florida notched the athletic program's 200th Southeastern Conference Championship as No. 3/4 men's golf led after every single round of the event and posted an 848 (+8) to claim a five-stroke victory over second-place Alabama.
Ranking highest at the event overall was Gators redshirt senior golfer Andres Echavarria, who won the 2011 SEC Men's Individual Championship on Sunday with a three-round total of 209 (-1).
A jump start to the weekend was what No. 6 Florida lacrosse accomplished Thursday, defeating the No. 2 Northwestern Wildcats (12-1, 2-1 ALC) 13-11 to win at least a share of the 2011 ALC Championship. The Gators (14-1, 5-0 ALC) clinched the league title outright on Sunday, defeating the No. 17 Vanderbilt Commodores (7-7, 1-4 ALC) 8-7 in a hard-fought match that came down to the final minutes. The ladies finished their conference slate undefeated and will hold the No. 1 overall seed in the upcoming ALC Tournament.
NBA action was the talk of the weekend with only five former Florida players actually seeing the court as the first games of each series were decided. Atlanta forward/center Al Horford posted 16 points and six rebounds in a winning effort, and Chicago C Joakim Noah followed suit with 10 points and 11 boards (eight offensive). Philadelphia C Marreese Speights (four points, two boards) and Miami guard Mike Miller (three minutes) barely played, Dallas F Corey Brewer didn't step foot on the court, and San Antonio power forward Matt Bonner contributed 12 points and three rebounds.
Gymnastics did not want to be left out of all the title-winning fun. Failing to advance to the 2011 NCAA Super Six, the No. 7 Gators sent three to individual competitions on Sunday. Sophomore Marissa King claimed victory in her event, taking home the NCAA Championship in the vault (9.8750) to capture UF's first individual national title in gymnastics since 1998.
Even the Florida men's track team made it a point to be noticed on Saturday, providing the 2011 Tom Jones Memorial Classic with a performance to be remembered including five student-athletes who turned in top-five national times in their respective events. Leading the pack was footballer Jeff Demps, who ran a wind-aided 9.96 seconds in the 100-meter dash (the best time nationally in 2011 thus far). Overall the Gators took home 10 events during the exhibition.
Baseball, though not yet in championship competition, also had a stellar showing over the last three days. No. 4 Florida (28-9, 11-4 SEC) beat the Georgia Bulldogs (19-18, 9-6 SEC) in a three-game road series, falling 7-2 on Saturday but winning 5-4 on Friday and 14-7 on Sunday. Head coach Kevin O'Sullivan earned his 150th career victory with Friday's win and watched as junior Preston Tucker powered his team to victory on Sunday with two homers including a two-run shot and grand slam in back-to-back at bats.
Looking like the best player at his position in the state of Georgia, UF 2012 running back commitment Mike Davis (Stone Mountain, GA) won a Most Valuable Player award for his group at the Nike Football Training Camp in Athens, GA on Friday. Universally praised by coaches and scouts on-site at the event, the 5'11" 195 lbs. Davis continues to reaffirm his commitment to the Gators whenever given an opportunity.
Under intense scrutiny after losing six consecutive games in 10 days, No. 10 Gators softball has since rebounded, winning seven-straight contests in the last 10 days. Florida (37-7, 13-6 SEC) swept a three-game road series against the Auburn Tigers (32-12) Friday-Sunday, outscoring their opponent 35-10 and winning every contest by at least six runs. Though she was not thrown into the fire with a complete outing, ace senior right-handed pitcher Stephanie Brombacher (bicep) returned to the mound for the first time since March 12 to win her 15th game of the season on Saturday. Freshman RHP Hannah Rogers (22-5), who threw complete game efforts on Friday and Sunday, relieved Brombacher for the save on Saturday.
Even though they grabbed at least a share of the 2011 SEC regular season title earlier in the week by taking down the No. 14 Tennessee Volunteers (16-5, 8-1 SEC) 4-0, No. 1 Gators women's tennis (22-1, 11-0 SEC) ensured they won their conference championship outright over the weekend, shutting out the South Carolina Gamecocks (12-9, 4-7 SEC) 7-0 on Saturday to finish the season undefeated in SEC play.