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Chomping at Bits: Florida track top-10s at NCAA Outdoors; Kieran Smith makes Olympics

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Florida’s athletic season came to a close over the weekend out in Eugene.

2021 NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Outdoor Track & Field Championship Photo by Justin Tafoya/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

Chomping at Bits (still) comes stocked with the best Florida Gators links and news we can find, and maybe some other stuff. It will (hopefully) run from Tuesdays to Thursdays in the 9 a.m. Eastern hour this fall.

Florida men take fourth, women seventh at NCAA Outdoors: Florida’s men got 10 points each from hammer throw champion Thomas Mardal and 200 meters champion Joseph Fahnbulleh and came within 0.5 points of sharing third with North Carolina A&T, while the women scored in five events, tied Texas for seventh, and were only three points behind a two-way tie for fourth. And these were “off” years for Florida’s track teams, which lacked star power like that provided by likely Olympic star Grant Holloway. (Rick Hurtado, Florida Gators: Men | Women)

As an aside: I watched a bit of the men’s competition on Friday, and if you haven’t seen Oregon’s newly revamped Hayward Field, you are going to have your breath stolen if you tune in for the U.S. Olympic trials that begin later this week, as it’s a truly jaw-dropping venue. $200 million still goes a long way.

Florida’s Kieran Smith makes U.S. Olympic swim team: Smith is just the first of what should be a handful of Gators who make the cut for a trip to Tokyo, and got his spot by winning the 400 free last night at Olympic trials in Omaha. His time also portends possible podium contention in a couple of months. (Bridgette Underwood, Florida Gators)

Florida athletics records $54.5 million shortfall for 2020-21: This is being reported as a “shortfall” and not a “loss” for reasons I don’t understand, but, uh, to no one’s surprise, running an athletics department during a pandemic that significantly limits revenue isn’t a profitable endeavor. To Florida’s credit, this seems to be final confirmation that the University Athletic Association made it through last year without layoffs, something it — and Gators fans — should be quite proud of. (Mark Long, Associated Press)

How Mike White’s newest assistants could help Florida’s offense: Typically excellent stuff from Eric here. (Eric Fawcett, Gator Country)

Florida baseball’s roster begins offseason churn: I would expect a lot of attrition from this team, which probably had too many contributors for too few roles as it was and stands to lose quite a few MLB Draft-eligible stars, including center fielder Jud Fabian and pitchers Tommy Mace and Jack Leftwich. If the biggest loss due to transfer remains Jordan Butler, however, I think things are in fairly good shape. (Graham Hall, The Gainesville Sun)

A note on Chomping at Bits: Yeah, I still like this format, even if I haven’t used it since last September — and yeah, I and Alligator Army still exist, though this spring has been kind of hellish for my posting because of continued health frustrations. I’m thinking this will be a Monday-Wednesday-Friday endeavor until fall practice begins, and I am sincerely hoping to resume daily weekday posting for good from this week forward.

But I will also note the final italicized paragraph of this post is there for a reason, and remind you that I really do need your help more than I even want it at this point.

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