UF roundup: Swimmer Savanna Faulconer wins SEC accolade

Noah Ram
Special to The Sun
Savanna Faulconer

The closing of the UF athletic season usually means one thing:

End-of-season conference and national awards.

Florida swimmer Savanna Faulconer received one of the SEC’s most prestigious trophies last month as she won the H. Boyd McWhorter Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

Only four Gators have taken home the award — Janice Kerr (1990), Matt Bonner (2003) and Sarah Lowe (2006).

A committee of Faculty Athletics Representatives from SEC universities chose Faulconer along with Jon Bishop, a member of Texas A&M’s men’s track and field team.

Faulconer, who was named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll all four years at Florida, collected a $20,000 post-graduate scholarship as she plans to attend medical school with dreams of becoming a pathologist.

The senior majored in microbiology and cell science with a minor in educational sciences and pathogenesis and graduated Cum Laude last month with a 3.93 GPA.

In the pool, Faulconer finished in the top 16 nationally in the 400 IM and earned All-American honors. She was UF’s team captain in 2020 and finished second in the SEC Championships.


Four Gators were pegged IWLCA All-Americans on Tuesday. Senior Shannon Kavanagh made First Team All-American, redshirt freshman Sarah Reznick and fifth-year Cara Trombetta bagged Second-Team honors and senior Grace Haus obtained Third-Team distinctions.

Kavanagh is an All-American for the second time in her career (second team in 2019). The midfielder tops UF all-time in draw controls (353) and ranks third in goals (217) and points (295) and fourth in assists (78).

Reznick excelled in her first year in goal, leading the nation in save percentage (.567) and goals against average (6.42). Trombetta, meanwhile, served as a defensive force for the Gators and sits at the top of the program leaderboard in caused turnovers (149).

Haus clinched second in the AAC in goals per game (3.00).

Men’s and women’s tennis

The laurels kept flying in this week for the national championship winning Florida men’s tennis team. On Monday, UF’s two captains — junior Sam Riffice and senior Duarte Vale — were recognized as 2021 ITA All-Americans.

Riffice became the first player since Alfredo Perez in 2018 to develop into a four-time All-American. He secured the tribute in 2019 and 2020 and was the NCAA Singles Champion this season.

Vale became a third-time All-American (2018 and 2020) after ending 2021 with a 26-7 record in singles play. Riffice went 32-7 in singles.

On the women’s side, two veteran Gators pocked All-American honors. Graduate student McCartney Kessler seized a spot on the singles and doubles team. Senior Marlee Zein received the doubles nod.

Kessler maintained an 18-3 overall record, including a 14-2 mark in dual-match play. In doubles, Kessler and Zein climbed from No. 32 at the beginning of the season to No. 7 by season's end thanks to a 16-8 overall record.


Florida suffered a disheartening end to its 2021 season by falling in the Super Regionals to rival Georgia. Despite that, three Gators were still named NFCA All-Americans.

After hitting 15 home runs in 2021, third baseman Charla Echols picked up a unanimous first-team selection. She only struck out three times in 154 at-bats and topped the squad in multi-hit games (18) and multi-RBI games (15).

Pitcher Elizabeth Hightower and second baseman Hannah Adams took in third-team selections.

Adams produced three walk-off hits for UF this season and scored the game-winning run 18 times. Hightower performed as the staff’s ace, with a no-hitter vs. USF in the Gainesville Regional championship game.

Florida has now promoted 24 All-Americans in program history.

Women's basketball

 Florida will compete in the 2021 Preseason WNIT Classic, a three-day, round-robin tournament from Nov. 12-15 in Raleigh, N.C. and will take on Towson, NC State and Wofford.

The Preseason WNIT Classic features two four-team pods and a three-game guarantee, with NC State and Kansas State as hosts. Each site plays a round-robin format, and the final game of the event will have Kansas State playing at NC State on Nov. 19. No champions will be crowned; each pod will have its own all-tournament team.