Sun. Jun 4th, 2023

As 2022 involves an in depth, we will’t assist however look again on the yr that was in Florida Gators athletics.

There have been actually highs and lows all year long. New coaches (Billy Napier and Todd Golden) took over the soccer and basketball applications and went via all of the rising pains one would possibly count on throughout a transition interval, however Gators Wire is specializing in the nice that occurred in 2022 earlier than the calendar turns over.

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The baseball crew made it to regionals, the ladies’s gymnastics crew completed as runner-ups within the NCAA Championships, the tennis program took residence a person title, and monitor and discipline dominated all yr.

It’s all the time nice to be a Florida Gator, and 2022 was no exception. Certain, not each program reached the fan base’s lofty requirements, however there was lots to rejoice over the yr.

As 2023 begins, let’s look again on the greatest moments for the athletic division over the past calendar yr.

Feb. 19: Florida knocks off No. 2 Auburn in entrance of a promote out crowd


Florida takes down No. 2 Auburn at residence!!

— ESPN (@espn) February 19, 2022

Florida basketball has entered a brand new period below Todd Golden, however top-of-the-line moments of 2022 got here whereas Mike White was nonetheless on the helm of this system. The Gators staved off No. 2 Auburn in a hard-fought battle that saved NCAA Event hopes alive on the time, and so they did so in entrance of a sold-out crowd.

The Rowdies all the time come to video games with 110% vitality, however it’s a unique vibe when the O’Dome is offered out. Auburn discovered that the laborious method and Florida earned its signature win of the season.

March 5: Keyontae Johnson takes the ground one final time in Gainesville

#Gators F Keyontae Johnson begins, will get the opening tip-off, hugs everybody, kisses the ground, and exits 😭

— Graham Corridor (@GrahamHall_) March 5, 2022

Generally, basketball is greater than only a sport, and Florida’s senior night time proved that. Over a yr after collapsing on the court docket in opposition to Florida State, ahead Keyontae Johnson took the court docket for the Gators one last time. He’d served as a de facto assistant coach for all the 2021-22 season, and the crew made certain to provide him one final second in entrance of the Florida trustworthy.

The Gators gained an honorary tip off and gave the ball on to Johnson. He took within the second earlier than handing the ball to the ref, thanking gamers from groups on the court docket and kissing the hardwood. Johnson is now with Kansas State and enjoying as soon as once more, however his time in Orange and Blue won’t ever be forgotten. What a phenomenal ending to his troublesome run in Gainesville.

Might 17: Sterlin Thompson walks off in opposition to FSU

STERLIN THOMPSON WALK-OFF HOMER TO BEAT THE NOLES! 🐊@GatorsBB has gained 19 of its final 23 vs. Florida State 😤

— SEC Community (@SECNetwork) Might 18, 2022

It doesn’t get a lot better than beating your in-state rival with a walk-off residence run, and that’s precisely what Sterlin Thompson did in Might for the Florida Gators baseball crew. UF and FSU had already break up the primary two video games of the collection and Thompson delivered the ultimate blow within the ninth inning with two outs to safe a second win for the Gators. Discuss drama.

It comes as no shock that Thompson was later chosen thirty first general within the 2022 MLB draft, and there’s fairly good motive to consider he’ll ship lots extra residence runs within the skinny air of Colorado all through his skilled profession.

Might 28: Ben Shelton wins NCAA males’s singles championship

This is that championship level from Ben 🤩#GoGators 🐊🎾

— Gators Males’s Tennis (@GatorsMTN) Might 28, 2022

Florida tennis doesn’t get as a lot love because it ought to, however Ben Shelton deserves his roses after a historic yr for the Gators. He grew to become simply the fourth participant at school historical past to take residence the singles crown, considerably redeeming this system’s loss within the crew championships every week prior.

Shelton turned professional after the conclusion of the season and can proceed to make Gator Nation proud for years to return.

June 5: Carsten Finnvold pitches a nine-inning gem in reduction

Response to the ultimate out of Carsten Finnvold’s gem in opposition to the Sooners

— Jake Hitt (@jake_hitt06) June 6, 2022

The place had been you the day the legend of Carsten Finnvold was born?

Florida needed to dig deep simply to discipline a starter in its fourth regional sport of the weekend, and Timmy Manning was pulled earlier than he might even document an out. Kevin O’Sullivan turned to Finnvold in a desperation transfer after the freshman had proven promise within the SEC Event, and the previous American Heritage-Del Ray lefty put collectively an all-time pitching efficiency within the Orange and Blue.

Finnvold pitched the remainder of the sport, securing the ultimate 27 outs for the Gators whereas giving up simply two runs within the sixth inning and permitting 5 hits on the day. He proved that it doesn’t take blow-away stuff to get the job executed on the mound and struck out 4 together with his elite breaking pitches. Florida’s season would finish the following day, however that takes nothing away from Finnvold’s masterful efficiency.

June 6: Wyatt Langford ties program residence run document with No. 26

Homerun King 👑

Wyatt Langford ties Matt LaPorta for many residence runs in a single season in Gators historical past! #GoGators

— Florida Gators Baseball (@GatorsBB) June 7, 2022

Watching Wyatt Langford swing the bat is like watching a grasp craftsman at work, and Florida followers had been handled to a record-setting season by the catcher-turned-outfielder in 2022. In the beginning of the yr, there have been questions on whether or not he’d maintain on to the left discipline spot, however nobody was doubting his capabilities by the tip of the season.

Langford hit residence run No. 26 to tie Matt LaPorta’s faculty document on the ultimate sport of the season and is now thought-about one of many prime collegiate prospects for subsequent yr’s MLB draft. Followers will get another yr of Langford in Gainesville, however he’s already etched his title into the college’s historical past books.

June 8-11: Florida takes residence Males’s and Girls’s Outside Monitor and Area Championships

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports activities

Successful is all the time good, and boy, did Florida’s monitor and discipline program do some profitable this yr. In June, head coach Mike Holloway led each the boys’s and girls’s groups to out of doors championships, and we will’t neglect in regards to the girls’s indoor championship in March both.

Holloway has turned Florida into one of many prime faculties within the nation on the monitor and should come as no shock that the college prolonged his contract for an additional 10 years in August.

Sept. 3: The Billy Napier period begins off with a bang

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports activities

Billy Napier’s first yr within the Swamp wasn’t all good, however followers will all the time bear in mind the euphoric sensation that swept throughout Gator Nation after knocking off No. 7 Utah to start the 2022 season. The previous Group of 5 head coach handed his first check with flying colours and Anthony Richardson appeared like a official Heisman candidate, jump-passing for a two-point conversion when all hope appeared misplaced.

After all, issues would change over the rest of the season, however for a short second, Florida soccer was again. Amari Burney secured the win with a last-minute interception, and the occasion was on in Hogtown. Hopefully, there are extra moments like this in 2023.

Nov. 4-12: Florida wallops Texas A&M and South Carolina

Matt Pendleton/Gainesville Solar

Maybe the most effective stretch of the Gators’ soccer season got here in November after the crew fell to No. 1 Georgia, 42-20. After a good first half in opposition to the Texas A&M Aggies in Week 10, Florida’s protection clamped down within the second half and didn’t enable a single level for the remainder of the sport.

That dominance continued in opposition to South Carolina in Week 11 when Florida prolonged its streak of preserving opponents out of the tip zone to 6 straight quarters. Sadly, the crew fell aside after that, dropping to Vanderbilt and Florida State to shut out the yr, however it was a wonderful two weeks of defensive dominance whereas issues lasted.

Nov. 10: Gators flip 5-star QB Jaden Rashada from Miami

Matt Pendleton/Gainesville Solar

When Florida misplaced out to Miami within the recruiting race for Jaden Rashada, Gator Nation was dejected, to say the least. For practically 5 months, the West Coast quarterback stayed dedicated to the Hurricanes, and Miami followers by no means missed an opportunity to rub the recruiting win within the face of Gators followers. That’s till Rashada flipped to Florida on Nov. 10 and have become the face of the Gators’ recruiting class.

Recruiting victories are all the time candy, however this one felt totally different. Billy Napier received his man and, maybe extra importantly, Miami misplaced their sign caller of the long run. It is going to take a couple of years to see simply how properly the flip ages, however it’s laborious to argue simply how large of a second it was for the brand new employees.

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