FLORIDA ATHLETICS

Notebook: UF track begins SEC Indoors


Published: Tuesday, February 19, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, February 19, 2013 at 12:17 a.m.

The Florida men's and women's track and field teams are off to Fayetteville, Ark., for the 2013 Southeastern Conference Indoor Championships Friday through Sunday where the No. 2-ranked UF men and No. 6 UF women will try and bring home a conference sweep against a top-flight field.

The Arkansas men are ranked No. 1 and, along with three-time defending NCAA Indoor champion UF and No. 4 Texas A&M, give the SEC three of the top four men's squads.

Meanwhile, LSU and Arkansas stand 1-2 in the women's rankings, with Florida, No. 7 Georgia and No. 8 Texas A&M making five of the top eight teams from the SEC.

“I stand on record as saying that the SEC Championships is the most exciting meet that I ever go to,” UF head coach Mike Holloway said.“I've been to the Olympic games and Olympic trials, and nothing surpasses it because of all the passion. Everybody there has a purpose; everybody there wants to do something special, even the teams that don't really have a chance to win the championship. They bring individuals to the meet and they want to make a statement as well, so it's an incredible competition. We're looking forward to it.”

WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: The Gators gave two of the SEC's top teams all they wanted last week but came up just short twice with a 78-71 road loss to No. 11 Texas A&M Thursday followed by a 62-57 home defeat at the hands of No. 13 Georgia Sunday.

UF (15-11, 4-8) will need to win its four remaining SEC regular-season games to get to the .500 mark in league play for the second straight year, beginning with Thursday night's home game against Vanderbilt (16-9, 6-6) at 7.

Seven of UF's eight SEC losses this season have come by eight points or less.

“One of the things we've struggled with all year that is unfortunately a sign of our youth is just an overall lack of awareness,” head coach Amanda Butler said. “We've just got to regroup and have two great days of practice. Then we've got to do what Florida needs to do, and Vanderbilt has got to have our complete focus.”

GYMNASTICS: No. 1 Florida finishes off its SEC dual-meet schedule this Friday when the Gators (6-1, 5-1) host No. 23 Kentucky (5-3-1, 3-2-1) at 7 p.m. in the O'Connell Center.

UF picked up a 197.30-196.175 road win over No. 9 Georgia before a sellout crowd of 9,971 Saturday.

The win, coupled with UF's victory two years ago in Athens, marked the first time Florida has won consecutive road meets at Georgia since 1974-75 and the fourth straight year UF has defeated the Gym Dogs head-to-head.

“It was a great weekend,” head coach Rhonda Faehn said. “All in all, we definitely had areas that were not up to what we normally would do, but at the same time, it's a long season and we've had so many meets up to this point. Still, they did a very good job, and what I loved most was their overall fight and just their passion in such an environment.”

LACROSSE: It's finally home sweet home for the third-ranked Gators, who stand 3-0 on the season for the first time in history and play No. 18 Stony Brook Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. at Dizney Stadium in their home opener.

“To be on the road for three straight games and come away with three wins, I'm pretty pleased with that,” head coach Amanda O'Leary said.

“Stony Brook is a tremendous team. We had the opportunity to play them last year. They also play a zone defense, so I think we're going to have to prepare for them. They, too, are extremely athletic and they have players of the year in all categories for their conference. This is a team that is ranked in the top 20, so we're looking forward to a good contest but one that's going to be tight, I believe.”

UF also faces UC-Davis Friday at 6:30 p.m. and Albany Sunday at noon to close out its first homestand.

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