Roundup: Gators maintain top two spots at SEC Championships


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ATHENS, Ga. — Kacper Stokowski and Marco Guarente posted the second-best times in Florida history in their respective events Friday to help the Florida men’s swimming and diving team stay in first place after four days at the SEC Championships.

Maxime Rooney started the finals with a career-best swim of 1:40.87 to finish the 200 Fly A Final in second place.

Stokowski posted a blistering time of 45.31 and placed second in the 100 Back A Final. His swim was the second-best in program history and was a personal best.

Guarente etched his name in the history book, as he clocked the second-best time in the 100 Breast with a career-best 52.12. Guarente finished the A Final in third place.

Main, Guarente, Stokowski and Kieran Smith combined for the fastest time this season in the 400 Medley Relay. The group collected a time of 3:05.77 and placed fourth.

The final day of the SEC Championships begins with the 200 Back prelims at 10 a.m. ET on Saturday. Florida leads the meet with 868 points, with Missouri in second with 860.5 points.

In the women’s competition, UF finished the day in second place with 788.5 points, with Texas A&M leading with 871.5. Sherridon Dressel recorded the second-fastest swim in Florida history in the 100 Back. Dressel earned bronze with her swim of 51.17.

Diving came up huge for the Gators as all four divers combined for 65 points toward the team score, as two divers made the finals.

Dressel clocked the first NCAA A Cut time for the Gators in the 100 Back when she recorded the second-fastest time in Florida history with a personal-best 50.93 and posted the fastest time in prelims.

SEC Indoor Championships: At Fayetteville, Ark., Florida collected four medals—two apiece by the men’s and women’s teams, which was highlighted by senior Yanis David’s long jump title and junior Grant Holloway’s all-around showing in three events.

David had the title locked up prior to her sixth jump, but she leapt all the way to an NCAA-leading 6.46 meters (21 feet, 2.5 inches) on her final attempt. That jump put her 15 centimeters clear of the field for her first career SEC title. David’s title is the fourth in program history, with the last coming from Olympian Shara Proctor in 2010.

Holloway’s attempt to claim a historic three individual titles ended with a runner-up finish in the long jump, though his night was incredibly impressive. In addition to the silver medal, his highest finish in the event at SEC Indoors, Holloway clocked the sixth-fastest 60-meter hurdles time in collegiate history (7.48 seconds — also a meet record) and the fastest qualifying time in the 60 meters (6.57 seconds). Holloway came just two centimeters shy of gold in the long jump.

Florida’s other two medals came from its distance medley relay teams. The women’s quartet of freshman Gabrielle Wilkinson, sophomore Nikki Stephens, sophomore Abbie Harrelson and freshman Imogen Barrett combined for a runner-up finish.

The men’s DMR team of redshirt junior Jack Guyton, redshirt senior Jabari Hill, junior Justin Pacifico and redshirt junior Magnus Pettersen clocked a season-best time en route to a bronze medal.

On the women’s side, top-five finishes by senior Sharrika Barnett (400 meters), Barrett (mile), and Wilkinson (800 meters) pushed them through to Saturday finals.

Softball: The No. 3 Gators picked up a pair of wins on the first day of the Bubly Invitational with decisions over Illinois State, 7-0, and Florida A&M, 4-0, at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium.

In the first game against the Redbirds (1-11), senior Kelly Barnhill’s (7-0) solid performance in the circle led the Gators (14-0) to a strong start. Barnhill struck out 10 batters and gave up two hits over 5.0 innings. She gave up no runs and walked no batters. Danni Farley threw the final 2.0 innings of the game striking out two and giving up one hit.

The offense did its job against the Redbirds scoring seven runs on 10 hits to give Barnhill enough insurance to win the game.

The nightcap against the Rattlers (1-8) was a different story for the Gators as runs came at a premium for both teams.

Defensively, the Gators were led by another pair of brilliant performances in the circle from Natalie Lugo (5-0) and Elizabeth Hightower. Hightower started the game and went 2.0 innings giving up three hits and striking out one. Lugo, who earned the win, relieved Hightower and struck out nine and allowed three hits while walking one.

Amanda Lorenz put the game away in the sixth inning with a three-run home run over the right field fence that cleared the right field wall and exterior fence of the park.

The Gators continue action at the Bubly Invitational at 11 a.m. Saturday against Illinois State and 1:30 p.m. against Syracuse.

Women’s tennis: Florida earned a 4-2 win over Oklahoma at the Alfred A. Ring Tennis Complex. The Gators fought back after dropping the doubles point, as sophomore Ida Jarlskog clinched the victory on court one with a three-sit winner.

No. 12 Jarlksog, No. 33 McCartney Kessler, Tsveta Dimitrova and Anastasia Kharitonova all picked up wins in singles competition as UF improved to 3-3.

The Gators will play UCF at 5:30 p.m. Sunday at Collegiate Tennis Center at the USTA National Campus in Lake Nona.