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Saturday, May 21, 2022

The confetti has fallen. The stands are empty.

There’s not a soul to be seen, minus the workers cleaning up and the media still working in the press box in the upper bowl of Mercedes Benz Stadium.

Football is over, and it is kind of leaving a hole in the hearts of Gators fans everywhere.

The excitement of a 10-3 season -- a year removed from a four-win season, might I add -- and a Peach Bowl win is now put on hold until August, just when that enthusiasm for UF sports has reemerged.

Luckily for you, Florida fans, UF has plenty of amazing sports to support in the spring, some that are poised to do just as well as, if not better than, the football team.

No matter what game and no matter what sport, the alligatorSports staff will be there to provide you with some high-quality coverage of your favorite sports teams.

Here’s a rundown of who to follow for what sport:

Men’s Basketball: Follow online sports editor Alanis Thames, Tyler Nettuno and myself all season long as the Gators attempt to make it back to the NCAA Tournament. The team has been struggling. Last season’s leading scorer, guard Jalen Hudson, has gone cold and can’t find the basket. Freshman Noah Locke continues to establish himself as a threat from beyond the arc.

Baseball: Evan Lepak and Kyle Wood are on the beat and ready to tackle Florida’s grueling schedule, which includes a tough SEC slate, three games against FSU and a home series with Miami. UF will need some of its young pitchers to step up with the loss of Brady Singer, Jackson Kowar and Michael Byrne to the MLB draft. Expect players like Tyler Dyson, Jack Leftwich, Tommy Mace and Jordan Butler to make that jump.

Gymnastics: One of the most popular sports at UF is back, and River Wells is your man for everything Florida gymnastics related. Florida will try to fill the void left behind with the graduation of Alex McMurtry, Kennedy Baker and Rachael Slocum. A young, promising freshman class could help them win their first NCAA title since 2015.

Softball: Assistant sports editor Mark Stine returns to the softball beat, and he’s bringing Brendan Farrell along with him. Pitcher Kelly Barnhill and outfielder Amanda Lorenz are back for one final ride as they look to end their careers with a Women’s College World Series ring.

Women’s Basketball: Sam Campisano and Dylan Rudolph have covered the team since the start of the season in the fall. While the Gators haven’t been consistent through most of their games so far, they can still rely on the veteran leadership of guards Delicia Washington and Funda Nakkasoglu.

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Lacrosse: Bryan Matamoros will be there on Feb. 14 as coach Amanda O’Leary and the Gators take on Maryland in the home opener. The team is looking to bounce back from an NCAA quarterfinals loss to James Madison last season and fill roles left by graduating seniors Shayna Pirreca and Aniya Flanagan.

Women’s Tennis: Florida is looking to return to prominence as a collegiate tennis powerhouse, after a down year following an NCAA championship in 2017. The young team has one junior, one freshman and four sophomores. You can follow Victor Prieto for all your women’s tennis updates.

Golf: Both Bryan and Victor will be teaming up to provide you top-notch coverage of both the men’s and No. 3 women’s teams as they near the NCAA tournament.

If you want to join this star-studded staff of college sports writers, come apply. We are always eager to meet new faces, and we are still looking to fill a few more positions for the semester. Feel free to send me an email at the address below for more information.

Jake Dreilinger is the sports editor of the Alligator. Follow him on Twitter @DreilingerJake and contact him at

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