Florida keeps up ‘Everything School’ billing with women’s tennis national title
Welcome to another installment of Good Morning, Gators, SEC Country’s daily morning column covering Florida athletics with Florida beat writer Jordan McPherson. Today, we look at Florida’s recent run at national championships, the possible titles still out there for the taking this season and more.
The top-ranked Florida women’s tennis team closed out its season in the biggest way possible, defeating long-time West Coast rival Stanford 4-1 on Tuesday night for the national championship. It ended a 4-year drought for the Gators and gave the team its school-best seventh national title overall in program history, including the fourth for coach Roland Thornqvist.
— Gator Women's Tennis (@GatorsWTN) May 24, 2017
It’s Florida’s first national championship since Scott Stricklin took over as athletics director in November and, possibly more importantly, it keeps Florida’s streak of consecutive years with a national title alive.
The Gators, an athletic program that dubs itself an “Everything school,” have now won at least one national team title in each of the past 8 seasons dating back to 2010 and 11 of the last 12 years dating back to 2006. What’s more is that 8 programs have won titles in these past dozen years. Below is a breakdown of those teams that brought home championships by year
- 2017: Women’s Tennis
- 2016: Men’s outdoor track and field
- 2015: Gymnastics and softball
- 2014: Gymnastics and softball
- 2013: Gymnastics and men’s outdoor track and field
- 2012: Women’s tennis, men’s indoor track and field, men’s outdoor track and field
- 2011: Women’s tennis and men’s indoor track and field
- 2010: Women’s swimming and diving and men’s indoor track and field
- 2009: None
- 2008: Football
- 2007: Men’s basketball
- 2006: Football and men’s basketball
More titles coming this season?
Florida’s potential for national championships this season won’t necessarily stop with the women’s tennis team. The Gators still have 4 active teams that could make or are in the middle of making a deep postseason run.
The most obvious of the bunch is the softball team, which is seeded No. 1 in the NCAA Tournament for the third straight season and will face No. 16 seed Alabama in the best-of-3 Super Regional beginning on Thursday for a spot in the Women’s College World Series. Led by coach Tim Walton, Florida is looking to win its third national title in the last four years.
The Florida baseball team, the co-SEC regular-season champions that are ranked No. 4 in the polls, head into the SEC Tournament with a lot of momentum. The Gators closed the regular season by clinching its final six conference series and seems to be a lock for a national seed in the NCAA Tournament. The baseball team is looking for its first national championship in program history.
And then there’s track and field, one of Florida’s most decorated programs under coach Mike Holloway. The men are ranked No. 2 in the country and are the reigning NCAA outdoor champions. The women are ranked No. 8 nationally and are hoping to make a run with a rather young team.
Speaking of baseball…
- Florida is once again projected to be the No. 4 national seed by both d1baseball.com, which has the Gators hosting Louisiana-Lafayette, UCF and Bethune-Cookman for Regionals.
- Baseball America projects Florida ace Alex Faedo to go to the Chicago White Sox with the 11th overall pick in its latest mock draft. Faedo would be the third college right-handed pitcher off the board.
- The Gators open SEC Tournament play against Auburn at about 9 p.m. ET. The Tigers defeated Ole Miss 5-4 late Tuesday night to move into the double-elimination portion of the bracket.
Women’s golf season ends in match play
After storming back in the final round of stroke play to land in the top-8 of the NCAA championships, the Florida women’s golf team saw its season end in the first round of match play on Tuesday. The Gators, seeded sixth in the 8-team quarterfinal, lost 5-0 to No. 3 seed Arizona State. Even with the exit, it was Florida’s first top-10 finish in women’s golf since 2011.
In addition, senior Maria Torres was named a first-team All-American while senior Kelly Grassel and junior Taylor Tomlinson were honorable mention All-Americans.
What they’re saying on Twitter
Florida football coach Jim McElwain, who was in Dallas on Tuesday as part of his spring speaking tour
— Jim McElwain (@CoachMcElwain) May 23, 2017
Former Gators catcher David Ross, who finished second on “Dancing with the Stars”
— David Ross (@D_Ross3) May 24, 2017
- Our Zach Abolverdi continues with our “Next Generation” series with a feature on incoming freshman Zachary Carter.
- Zach also has big news of the James Robinson front, reporting that the incoming freshman has met the NCAA academic requirements for enrollment.
- Our Ryan Young takes a look at how Florida football will emphasize a hybrid three-linebacker/nickelback defensive scheme this season.
- Former Gators infielder Nolan Fontana made his Major League debut with the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday. Halo Hangout’s Taylor Barney took an in-depth look at Fontana.
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