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Is it enough? UF students ask for more mental health services


By Jack Prator Alligator Staff Writer

Editor’s note: This article contains a reference to suicidal thoughts. Students were granted anonymity for reasons including the sensitivity of the topic and their ongoing interactions with the CWC. “U Matter, We Care” is the slogan adopted by UF’s Counseling & Wellness Center. It feels like an empty gesture to some students who have sought out the center’s services. Students’ experiences vary, with accounts of long wait times, feelings of being brushed off by CWC counselors and a lack of transparency about UF’s available resources. The CWC director said he feels confident in the center’s ability to help students but cites its tight budget as an obstacle — one that it is starting to overcome. Despite a larger staff than previous semesters, shorter wait times and an increase in state funding, CWC appointment numbers have plateaued after a previously steady increase since 2016. The center has conducted 8,891 appointments through the week of Nov. 2 this semester. This is a decrease of 1% from the same 10week mark in Fall 2019, CWC director Ernesto Escoto said. This number of student clients fell from 5,800 students in the 2018-19 year to 5,395 in 2019-20, a decrease of 7%. The COVID-19 pandemic created more obstacles for the center in the Spring. The CWC closed after classes went online in early March. Students said they either continued counseling virtually, were dropped by their counselor or gave up on getting one. The center trained employees in tele-mental health counseling, which relies on connecting virtually with patients, and reopened in a new online format in two and a half weeks.


Escoto said program directors began researching virtual counseling alternatives, setting up technology and training staff to jumpstart their tele-mental health services as soon as UF moved online. The center dipped into its savings to pay for these unforeseen expenses. He expects that remote CWC services are not just a temporary solution to the challenges of the pandemic. “We’re kind of surprised that it actually works,” Escoto said. “It’s been pretty effective in a lot of spaces. And so, there is no reason for us to go back to fully providing everything in person.” He said he expects to see a hybrid option developed, when it is safe to do so in light of the pandemic, with the hope it provides better flexibility for students. After being on the waitlist for two weeks, a 19-year-old UF astrophysics sophomore said she saw a CWC counselor for four months before the pandemic hit. It was then that she said her counselor informed her that she couldn’t see her anymore because campus was shutting down due to increasing COVID-19 cases. “I never heard from her again,” the student said. She didn’t receive any followups from the CWC about telehealth visits, which would begin two and a half weeks after UF moved online. She visited the CWC during Fall 2019. She said she had severe depression and anxiety symptoms that kept her in bed some days. One day, when she had enough energy, she said she met with a CWC counselor for a crisis walkin, where students in need of immediate support can speak with a counselor. “She basically told me ‘Your problems seem way too complex for us to address here,’” the student said. She said she was given the local and national suicide hotline numbers and sent on her way. She later discovered the Instructor Notification process, which informs professors about an emergency a student is dealing with; medical withdrawal, which

Gators quarterbackfinish Kyle with Traskcomma, is doing Story description pg#his due diligence to bring the Heisman Trophy back to UF and become the fourth Florida quarterback with a bronze statue of himself in front of The Swamp, pg. 10


Lauren Witte // Alligator Staff

Jerome, 5, leans on the coin pusher at the Oaks Mall Carnival on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020.


By Avery Lotz Alligator Contributing Writer

Nate Douglas shuffled into his family’s kitchen one morning in 2008 to greet his mother and father. The then-8-year-old said he found them standing still at the

counter. The three didn’t talk but instead communicated through stares. He followed the invisible line from their forlorn gazes to a stack of unopened envelopes in front of them. The tower of paper grew every day, taunting the family of five supported by the salaries of a teacher and a landscaper. The memories of the Great Recession still motivate the now 19-year-old Douglas. They even pushed him to run — and win — elected office. Douglas, an Orlando native and UF economics junior, became Or-

Navigating dating apps in the time of COVID-19

UF freshmen are figuring out how to safely meet friends and potential partners through a screen — and a mask, pg. 2

UF community comes together to support Honduras The Central American country was hit by Hurricane Eta last week. UF students fundraised to support those affected, pg. 4

ange County’s Soil and Water Conservation District 1 supervisor-elect on Nov. 3, defeating two opponents — both of whom are more than a decade his senior. Douglas won 49% of the vote after leading a campaign focused on sustainability and climate change. He’s the youngest person in Orange County history to hold the position and the youngest elected official in Florida. Douglas will serve a four-year-term as a nonpartisan su-


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Weather UF freshmen seek New Today’s to Gainesville, love and friendship through dating apps STUDENTS GO ON DATES AND MAKE NEW CONNECTIONS WITH ONE ANOTHER DURING THE PANDEMIC

By Alan Halaly Alligator Staff Writer

UF freshmen have found themselves craving intimacy amid physical distancing requirements — but swiping right on potential partners has taken on an entirely new meaning in 2020. Medical professionals agree that online dating is a safe alternative during the pandemic to meeting new people at bars, restaurants and other gathering places. With changing COVID-19 guidelines, the number of smartphone dating app users in the U.S. will reach 26.6 million in 2020 — an 18.4% increase from last year. Before going on a date, Lilly Swanson, an 18-yearold UF anthropology freshman, said she tries to gauge whether a potential partner has been following COVID-19 guidelines by bringing it up in initial conversation over text messages. Once she deems they have been cautious, she prefers to go on dates with her Tinder and Bumble matches without masks and not practice social distancing. “I did go on a date once with someone who mentioned that he and his friends go clubbing and aren’t very safe,” Swanson said. “I left the date very quickly after that because it made me uncomfortable.” Many of her friends new to Gainesville have used dating apps to connect with other students to make friends rather than just go on dates, she said. Swanson said she will continue to go on in-person dates. Dating apps often feed into what is known as hookup culture, or brief, uncommitted sexual encounters, according to professors at Michigan State University. However, sexual activity is more risky during the pandemic because it increases the likelihood of COVID-19 transmission. Experts believe potential partners should have a conversation setting boundaries and discussing their COVID-19 status, the same way they would when discussing their sexually transmitted infection status. Alison Garland, an 18-year-old UF biology freshman, has found that dating apps, such as Bumble and Tinder, can be helpful to meet other students as friends. As a freshman who currently doesn’t participate in nightlife or Greek life, she said it’s been a challenge to connect with other students face-to-face. To Garland, the safest option when meeting someone in person is to wear face masks and respect social distancing. She said she’s used these apps to become friends with other students, often switching her profile to Bumble’s “BFF” setting to signal to others that she’s looking for friends rather than romance. Since starting to use it on campus, she said she’s made a friend that she regularly studies with. “It is a lot harder because you don’t meet anyone who can diversify the immediate community around you,” she said. “Dating apps can be helpful to make friends — you never know who you could meet.”

Bumble saw a 70% increase in video calls during the week of May 1 compared to the week of March 13, when a U.S. state of emergency was called, a Bumble spokesperson wrote in an email. The company believes the video call feature allows potential partners to spend time getting to know each other through video “pre-dates.” They also released new virtual dating tools to help spark conversations between potential partners by allowing them to choose what type of dates they’re most comfortable with: virtual, socially distanced or socially distanced with a mask, a Bumble spokesperson wrote. Nehemie Cyriaque, an 18-year-old UF environmental science freshman, agrees that face masks and social distancing can be restrictive. While she doesn’t wear a mask on every date, she makes sure to ask how her dates follow health guidelines before agreeing to meet up with them. Cyriaque said the pandemic has made potential partners more accessible and responsive as students crave human connection. She said she goes on dates with people who she may not have been interested in otherwise because of how hard it is to make meaningful connections during the pandemic. “I would straight up call it desperate, yeah,” she quipped. “I don’t feel like I have a normal social part of my life right now, so I turn to dating apps to try and gain an intimate connection with other people.” @AlanHalaly ahalaly@alligator.org


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Douglas’ term is four years NATE DOUGLAS, from pg. 1

pervisor, replacing lawyer and incumbent Michael Barber, who wasn’t seeking reelection. Douglas was leaning on the same kitchen table 12 years after the 2008 financial crisis. He watched the Orange County election results roll in on his laptop while CNN’s presidential election coverage played in the background. When he saw the results coming in on the local news, he said he laughed. “I saw 49%, and I thought there was a mistake,” he said. “So I was just pacing around and waiting for them to update the website —

and that never happened.” Social media was the backbone of Douglas’ campaign, he said. When he decided to run, he only had $1,700 for the election — just enough for signs and T-shirts. His desire to mitigate the fast-growing threat of climate change came before his interest in politics, he added. He’s involved in the Sunrise Movement, an initiative that aims to slow down climate change while creating green jobs. He said he realized there was a place for progressives in politics the day Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a former waitress from New York, won a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. With her nomination, Douglas saw

Courtesy to The Alligator

Nate Douglas, 19, made history Nov. 3 in the Orange County Soil and Water Conservation District 1 supervisor race.


p o t f o o r ay u n c h br


Florida marketing student. He currently serves as the President of the Casselberry Chamber of Commerce, but he wanted to use the skills he learned in the position to revamp Orange County. Veigle said he ran because the soil and water conservation board is in dire need of leadership, with Orange County citizens even nicknaming it the “do-nothing board.” While he’s not concerned about Douglas’ ability to handle the job, he has some reservations about his lack of experience. “This is a tough position to run for because there really aren’t any rules,” he said. “No one really knows what the soil and water conservation supervisor is.” When he first heard he was running against a UF student, Veigle said he thought little about Douglas. Instead, he put his main focus on his other rival, Bobby Agagnina. Agagnina, a high school teacher, was a candidate in the 2018 Seminole County School Board race. According to his website, Agagnina considered himself a fighter for progressive causes. While most politicians don’t have to worry about balancing meetings with midterms, Douglas said he’s up for the challenge. “That’s definitely going to be tough,” he said. “I’m still a college student — I am no stranger to procrastinating in college.” Douglas said he wants people to realize he’s a normal, relatable 19-year-old college student who stresses about economics exams, texts his friends and stays up until the sun creeps to the edge of the horizon. He added that he wants young people to realize that politicians don’t have to be the richest or the smartest person in the room — they just have to be willing to speak up for their communities. “Be bold,” Douglas said. “You’re going to feel like it’s either too much on your plate or you’re too young, but at this age, this is the time to have so much on your plate. So go for it.”

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a normal person could become a politician. His first step to push for a greener Orange County will be to better communicate with city and county commissioners, Douglas said. He also wants to improve community education efforts and update the office’s social media. He added that he wishes to create resolutions and coalitions with environmental activism and community groups, such as Sierra Club, a grassroots climate action organization that endorsed him on Oct. 20. Seminole County’s board, which has been touted as superior to Orange County’s in the past, has focused on forming relationships with community organizations, local schools and researchers for its conservation efforts. Douglas credits his election to his experience in debate at Apopka High School. It also connected him to his mentor, Cathy Brown. Brown, a 56-year-old English teacher, said she was impressed by Douglas from the moment she met him his freshman year of high school. She always believed he would achieve a spot as an elected official, but she said she didn’t imagine his moment would come so soon. “He is very open minded, and he embraces everyone he meets,” Brown said. “He is willing to listen, no matter what.” When Douglas won, he texted her a screenshot of the results, and Brown shared the picture with her peers in the debate community. His success helped her set an example for her current students of young people using their voices. Despite criticism over his age, Douglas said he believes he has vital insight that other politicians tend to ignore. “People who are around my age understand that climate change is something that is going to be impacting us the most,” he said. Tim Veigle, a 41-year-old realtor, ran against Douglas — fighting for a dream he has had since he was a University of Central

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1728 West University Ave



By Kalia Richardson Alligator Staff Writer

Matt Marriott’s energy filled a room. He had a large stature and a beard with its own zip code. But above all, he’s remembered for his sense of humor and talent, photographing above and below the sea. Photographer, Alligator alumnus, Emmywinning cinematographer and father Matt Marriott died suddenly on Oct. 27 at 46 years old. Marriott had a unique gift behind the lens and photography was his lifelong passion, his brother Justin Marriott, 49, wrote in an email. He hopes that young photographers will use their camera to capture the beauty within life as his brother once did. “The legacy of Matt will forever be remembered in his artistic endeavors that his family will always treasure,” he wrote. Marriott attended UF in 2002, after serving four years in the Navy and worked as the photo editor for The Independent Florida Alligator throughout his college career. He graduated with a bachelor’s in journalism in 2006 and went on to work at publications such as the Associated Press and Sports Illustrated, as well as amusement parks like SeaWorld and Busch Gardens. He later formed Matt Marriott Photography in 2013, an independent photography business, and worked with clients like USA Today, Madame Tussauds and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. At home, Marriott was a father to his children, Mila and Van, and a godfather to his brother’s kids. Marriott’s 8-year-old stepdaughter, Mila, doesn’t remember life before Marriott, said his partner, Alli Cox said. “From the second that they met, they were best pals,” Cox said. Mila would schedule waffle and minigolf dates with him regularly, she said. Mila requested he tuck her in bed every night where they’d lay down and talk for hours, she said, asking questions and cracking inside jokes. Raising Van, on the other hand, was new territory, Cox said. Despite the trials and

tribulations, she only fell further in love with Marriott. “The first time he ever strapped Van into a car seat by himself,” she said, “it was so wrong and it was so cute.” The Florida Keys were his favorite place to go, Cox said, and he visited Tiger Beach in the Bahamas, known for its tiger sharks, twice a year spending a week at sea. On the water, Marriott photographed sea turtles nibbling on jelly fishes and schools of fish darting through coral. He cage dived with great whites and swam a finger’s length from hammerheads, sea turtles and dolphins. Marriott was always a little eccentric and outrageous, Cox said, and took her to Disney on their first date. Throughout their relationship, Cox got certified to scuba dive and over quarantine cooked and photographed 65 meals as the “Covid Cooking Couple.” From Kentucky Derby Pie to shrimp and alligator cheesecake, Cox said her favorite dish was lamb tagine, a lamb stew served in an earthenware pot. “When I’m looking at videos of Matt, that’s the night that I remember,” she said. With Marriott gone, she has had good and bad days but is taking it day by day. “It’ll be a struggle, but the thing is I’m gonna keep going for Matt,” she said. John Freeman, a UF journalism professor, had Marriott as a student in his classes in the early 2000s. He had a go-getter spirit and eagerness to learn new techniques, Freeman said. “I knew he didn’t want to settle down and do small town photojournalism,” Freeman said. “He wanted something bigger out of life.” Throughout his career, Mariott photographed whale sharks the size of school buses, chased restaurants on wheels for Food Network and stood in the sidelines capturing the excitement of March Madness every year for the NCAA. Sarah Anderson, a 36-year-old UF Class of 2005 alumna, was an opinions editor at The Alligator while Marriott was a photo editor. She sat a desk away from him, in an office the size of a dining room secluded from the chaos of the newsroom, she said. The now non-profit consultant vividly remembers Marriott’s Great Dane, Sadie, who would sprawl herself across the full length of the couch and follow him around the office like “two peas in a pod,” she said. Anderson followed Marriott’s work on social media and said he always stayed true to himself and let nothing stand in his way of getting a

good picture. She felt a real loss for the Gator and photography community and is devastated to know he is no longer here. “I always remember he had such a keen photographic eye,” she said. “And a fearlessness about going out and getting the right image to tell the story.” As free trade Miami protestors were shot with rubber bullets and hosed with pepper spray in 2003, Alligator alumni Nick West and Daron Dean were there in gas masks with Marriott capturing the moment. Through those experiences, West said, he made a friend for life. “He’s truly a captivating storyteller,” said West, a 39-year-old UF Class of 2005 alumnus. “I was fortunate to know somebody like that.” Marriott worked as a photo ambassador for The Shark Conservation Fund from at least 2018 to 2020, a philanthropy organization aiming to reduce the overexploitation and extinction of sharks and rays. He spoke at grade schools and universities on the importance of protecting the world’s coral reefs and wildlife when he wasn’t underwater photographing them. “I was blown away,” West said. “Either on land or underwater, he’s very talented, and he can pull amazing images.”

When Hurricane Irma rocked trees, kidnapped road signs and chucked roof tiles from St. Petersburg homes in 2017, Marriott and Dean, a UF journalism adjunct professor, drove through the littered streets for whatever they could capture. Dean was hoping to get photos to publish in Reuters, while Marriott tagged along for the adventure. While driving, a cut power line slung through Marriott’s window. It could’ve killed him, Dean, 41, said, but he dodged it and laughed it off. That was Matt: If it was dangerous, he jumped to cover it, Dean said. “Even if the story didn’t prove to be great or exciting, it was always worth it,” Dean said. “Because we had a blast together.” Marriott got to wake up every day and do what he loved; he was a renaissance man in his eyes, Dean said. For the nearly two decades Dean knew Marriott, Dean said he felt like a brother to him. “We always looked out for each other and watched each other’s backs,” Dean said. “He was someone I was proud to be friends with.” @kaliarichardson krichardson@alligator.org

Shannon Ahern // Alligator Staff


By Jack Prator Alligator Staff Writer

UF students banded together to provide relief to Honduras in the aftermath of Hurricane Eta. UF Eta Relief, a student-led donation drive with four locations including in Gainesville and Tampa, began last week and will be collecting water, toiletries, clothes and more until Nov. 20. The storm made landfall in Honduras on Nov. 4, causing flooding that destroyed rural areas of the country. The Red Cross estimates that 520,279 families and 2,712,772 people were affected by Eta, as of Nov. 11. The Honduras death toll is 58 people.

Hurricane Iota is headed toward Honduras and projected to make landfall as a Category 4 hurricane as of Sunday night. UF canceled classes Thursday as Eta passed over Gainesville, though the storm had little impact on the area. Paulina Trujillo, a 20-year-old UF marketing sophomore, was home in Port St. Lucie the weekend that Hurricane Eta hit her home country of Honduras. She, her two sisters, her friend and her mother collected $300 in monetary donations from friends and neighbors. They also gathered supplies like toiletries, sleeping bags and even medical equipment — a family friend dropped off a box of stethoscopes. “We collected so many things that we had to get a U-Haul to take them to Miami,” Trujillo said. Her father steered the truck down I-95 on Nov. 8 towards SerCargo Express, a Miami shipping

company that is transporting and distributing aid, as Eta shook the 23 boxes of supplies. The success of Trujillo’s drive, organized over a weekend, led her to help mobilize UF students for another relief effort. Those in Gainesville can drop off donations to either Fifield Hall or the Animal Science Department building on UF’s campus before Nov. 20. She and others helping out are fundraising to buy supplies, rather than accepting donations. This allows them to focus on getting essentials like toiletries and bedding to those affected by the storm. As of Sunday, they raised more than $100 and are still collecting donations until Wednesday to buy relief supplies. Trujillo said word spread fast among the UF Latin American student community. Trujillo plans to send the collected donations to David Moreira, a UF nematology master’s student

working at the UF Gulf Coast Research in Education Center. Moriera runs @eta_relief_uf, an Instagram page that acts as the face of UF student relief efforts. His infographics list donation drop off locations in Gainesville and Tampa, as well as updates on the damages in Honduras. UF drop off sites are located at Fifield Hall and the Animal Science Department building, which UF department heads opened up to the alumni association. Moreira lived through Hurricane Mitch, a storm that caused similar destruction to Honduras in 1998. “It’s going to take a little while to recover from all of this, especially because there’s so many poor people in Honduras,” he said. “The pandemic has driven a huge blow in the economy.” The collection drive is running until Nov. 20, when Moreira and his team will begin packing up

supplies into two U-Haul trucks and drive to Fort Lauderdale the next morning. The 30 alumni are pooling $438 of their own money to rent the trucks, which Moreira and a friend have volunteered to drive. Donations are then being shipped by CO. Honducafé, a company that ships bananas to the U.S. from Honduras. The company will empty its cargo of bananas in Fort Lauderdale and hold the container until Nov. 21, when Moreira will meet them to load up the collected relief supplies to be sent to Honduras. Honducafé will also help distribute the donations once they arrive in Honduras. “There’s so many other people that have been affected that we could pitch in to a bigger effort,” Moreira said. @jack_prator jprator@alligator.org

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 16, 2020 www.alligator.org/the_avenue



By AJ Bafer Avenue Staff Writer

Walking into Flashbacks Recycled Fashions is like stepping through the trendiest time machine. Between the hum of songs like “Two of Hearts” by Stacey Q and “Physical” by Olivia Newton-John, it’s a surprise the surrounding scene isn’t a ’70s-era roller skating rink. Instead, at 220 NW 8th Ave., shoppers are met with row after row of painstakingly labeled garments peeking out of closets and hanging from the ceiling. People can find anything from the basics to a pair of fake-blood stained overalls from a ‘90s Mudvayne show. The store’s oddities are abounding. Surprisingly, as a retail store during a pandemic, so are its customers. It became clear to owner Steve

Nichtberger early in the year that many local students would not return to Gainesville in the near future. He wondered whether the 34-year-old business would struggle. But the 61-year-old said the store has benefited from strangely high traffic. Normally unsurprising around this time of year, the boost occurring in the middle of a pandemic — with closed dressing rooms and a mask requirement — is enough to turn heads. Afflicted with the pandemic blues, people are more apt now to go out and make themselves feel better through “shopping therapy,” he said. For most of the store’s history, a majority of its customers have been students. This year, however, it has seen an influx of people within the greater Gainesville area return to pick up a piece of the past. One of the store’s best components is its distinctness and willingness to break from the mainstream, he said. “I love pushing the edges,” he said. “That’s what my life has

been.” Before starting Flashbacks, he realized it was a model that could create nothing while destroying nothing. The low-impact nature of the store keeps it ahead of the curve — during bad times, there’s always a need for cheap clothes, he said. During good times, “awesome stuff pours in.” For the first time since the store has been open, Nichtberger said there’s interest in every decade because of styles circulating instantaneously through social media. Thrifting went from being just for “punks” and “hippies” to mainstream overnight, he said, and the internet only made secondhand shopping more universal. He said he likes to think he’s held onto a Gainesville business as long as he has because of his own intelligence, but he doesn’t owe it to that. “It’s mostly luck and love,” he said. Tatum Nichtberger, the 30-year-old store manager and Nichtberger’s daughter, said she’s thankful for recent traffic because,

for the first time in the store’s history, they thought they might not make it. The resurgence has been a reassurance. Having spent her time climbing through Flashbacks’ racks as a kid, she started working there in high school. After a break and a few other jobs, she came back about nine years ago. Even though Flashbacks resides at its fifth location — her favorite — Tatum said the store consistently welcomes committed regulars from both in- and out-oftown. Shoppers have told her the store is an escape during the pandemic, she said. Having grown up in it, she appreciates and envies the point-of-view. “I wish I could see this place from an outside perspective,” she said. Elise Trankina, a 20-year-old UF nursing junior, recently returned to the store after the move from its previous location on University Avenue. Even between moving locations — and though she couldn’t quite put her finger on it — she said


Relax and cool down after an eventful week with the Avenue’s “After the Storm” playlist.

it’s the novel, singular vibe of Flashbacks that makes it stand out. “I don’t know exactly what draws me to it,” she said. “I prefer thrift store shopping at a place like this.” @ajbafer abafer@alligator.org



By Heather Bushman

the fourth quarter of 2019 to the first quarter of 2020. This uptick in usage could be attributed to increased interest in playlisting, something Rachel Alexander, a 19-year-old UF music and

Avenue Staff Writer

For many, music pre-pandemic functioned partly as background noise in restaurants and grocery stores or the soundtrack to the daily commute. Now, with in-person classes canceled, businesses limited and the public left mostly house-bound, the role of music in many’s dayto-day routines has shifted. Listening to music has become less of a passive experience and more of an intentional activity. Megan Haley, a 20-year-old UF music sophomore, said with less to do and fewer reasons to leave the house, her music consumption dropped. “Now that I don’t drive as much, I don’t listen to music as much,” she said. Data from Spotify reflects this phenomenon, with a dip in earnings reported at the end of April. The company cited the change in morning habits (namely, the lack of them) as a primary factor for the decrease in activity. Music no longer helped people get ready for the day because people weren’t getting ready for the day at all. But, overall, use of the platform has risen. Spotify charted a 32% increase in users from Keep up with the Avenue on Twitter. Tweet us @TheAlligator.

Aubrey Bocalan // Alligator Staff

Whether picking up old favorites, making new discoveries or halting listening altogether, many music lovers have altered their listening habits during the COVID-19 pandemic and the lifestyle changes that came with it.

natural resource conservation sophomore, developed a penchant for over the COVIDinduced quiet time. “When quarantine started, I was super into making playlists for different moods,” she said. “My favorite was ‘social dizzztancing’ because I was always exhausted back in March and April.” Though music’s place in the day-to-day has deteriorated, some have turned to leisurely listening to fill the extra time on their hands. “During quarantine, I definitely spent more hours listening to music than usual,” said Saachi Konjalwar, an 18-year-old UF business administraion studies freshman. The decrease in social plans provided a prime opportunity to listen to more music, and the specifics of what kind of music people were listening to varied significantly. Listeners seemed to gravitate toward one of two options: expand their tastes with new artists and genres or frequent old favorites. For Alexander, it was the former. “I’ve gotten into some new genres like rap and experimental and have focused on listening to a lot more BIPOC artists and branching out in my tastes,” she said. But for others, like Haley and Konjalwar, the latter was more appealing. Konjalwar said the familiarity of artists like Taylor Swift and the Beatles, whose music was a major presence throughout her childhood, brought a sense of comfort and stability the pandemic had stripped.

Haley, meanwhile, picked up her old poppunk catalog, especially when studying at home. She said it functioned as something to play in the background. But even if the music wasn’t new, both said they experienced an added novelty in their listening endeavors. Konjalwar dove deeper into her favorite artists, digging into the entire discographies of favorites like Joni Mitchell and James Taylor. “I was discovering old music in a different way,” she said. Music has been proven to impact the psyche in various capacities, and many have turned to it to cope with the chaos of the pandemic. Whether it’s metal music for an energy boost in the middle of a slow workday, smooth jazz to calm down after watching the news or a trusted favorite to bring a sense of familiarity, one thing is clear: Music affects mentality. “It’s my personal therapy,” Konjulwar said. COVID-19 has been the source of a whirlwind of change, with new protocols and precautions constantly incorporated into daily routines. But through the turbulence, music remains. “Music – whether playing or listening to it – always helps me ground myself and know that things are temporary,” Alexander said.

@hgrizzl hbushman@alligator.org

See how the Gators fared in their SEC Tournament match against the Missouri Tigers, pg. 10 Scan to follow the Avenue on Spotify


Student clients decreased 7% since 2018-19 CWC, from pg. 1 allows students to withdraw from classes due to a health emergency; and Disability Resource Center accomodations. The student said she returned to the CWC a month later after beginning the medical drop process for Spring 2020. She found the counselor who she had briefly met with to ask for a letter. She said the counselor realized then how severe her problems were and offered to put her on a waiting list to see someone weekly at the CWC. “Well, you could have done that when I told you I wanted to kill myself,” the student said. CWC director Escoto said he suspects more students were lost in the shuffle when moving to online counseling. He encouraged students who were disconnected from CWC services to call the center and ask to be reconnected. The center operates on fees charged to oncampus students. PaCE and online students can choose to opt in to the fees. Escoto called the center’s health fee funding unpredictable – he doesn’t know what the budget will look like for the next semester until a few weeks into the current one. Drop/add week also makes an impact. Credit hours could be higher at the beginning of the semester and decrease as the semester continues, decreasing the center’s potential budget. Escoto says this funding has not increased per student in the five years he has been director. The proposed 2020-21 budget is projected at about $7.5 million, Escoto said. The center is still waiting to see what UF

decides to do in the Spring before resuming inperson counseling options, he said. UF plans to offer at least as many in-person class sections in the Spring as were offered in Spring 2020. A 20-year-old UF finance junior waited a month to see someone at the CWC. She had been suffering from frequent panic attacks, sometimes many times per day. The student said she was told by a counselor to download a breathing app on her phone. No follow-up appointment was scheduled. The student was told the CWC could not help her, as her treatment would require more than the six counseling sessions it could offer at the time. “There are good resources there,” she said. “I just think that there’s not enough, and sometimes, it doesn’t match the severity of the issue.” She was referred to another mental health professional in Gainesville by the center. In the meantime, she attended group therapy sessions provided by the CWC, which she said was a helpful part-time solution. Escoto said this referral process is a standard operating procedure for the CWC. “There might be some experiences or conditions that we may not have somebody in our team qualified to provide care for,” Escoto said. CWC assistant director Rosa West, who oversees the center’s outreach efforts, is aware of criticism the CWC has received from students. The most recent outreach push was aimed at Reddit, a site that hosts forums for a variety of topics, including one dedicated to UF student life. The center hosted an “Ask Me Anything” on Oct. 19 that focused on improving

the CWC’s relationship with students, West said. She said the event’s announcement was met with backlash, but there were no negative comments during the Q&A session. West said she wanted to inform students of the changes the center has made, especially its reduced wait times and that most poor experiences with the center date back one or two years. “What they may have experienced is not necessarily what our center looks like today,” West said. In response to long wait times, Escoto said only about 6% of the 5,800 students who reached out to the CWC during the 2018-19 year were waitlisted for two weeks on average. “In the context of the academic experience of a student, two weeks feels like a lot of time to wait for an appointment,” he said. Escoto said he has been asked by UF to prepare for a state budget cut between 10% and 20%, about $1.3 million. The center is in the midst of what Escoto calls a “hiring freeze,” which is why these positions remain unfilled. An 18-year-old UF nursing sophomore said she visited the CWC last Spring semester. She told the counselor she experienced anxiety. She said the CWC was unable to provide regular, one-on-one meetings with a counselor. Instead, she was offered sessions with a different case manager each week. After two or three sessions, she said she became frustrated and stopped going back. “They were trying to help me, but it was clear that they didn’t know how to,” she said. Budget allocation for staff salaries has steadily increased. The CWC received an additional $800,000 in state funding over the past three years through the UF Provost Office, which was spent on 12 new counselors. The center added 10 new counselors this

Rosmery Izaguirre // Kate McNamara // Alligator Staff

year for a consultation and assessment referral team, totaling more than 20 new hires in three years, Escoto said. The funding to create this new team was from money carried over from previous years’ budgets. These positions funded by the provost have been guaranteed for the next two years, but Escoto said he hopes to secure more funding from UF to permanently support these salaries. The center’s grant money has disappeared in recent years. Escoto said that after grants expired in the 2015-16 fiscal year, the CWC did not allocate resources – both time and money – to applying for more grants. He said most grants are research-based, but the center provides a service. Searching for grants applicable to the CWC would require a position dedicated to just this cause. Escoto sees this as resources that could be spent counseling students. “It would really work against the mission,” he said. A 21-year-old UF electrical engineering junior scheduled a triage appointment, where a counselor conducts a benchmark session with a new patient in order to create a treatment plan, during Fall 2019 at the CWC. She found herself spacing out, whether it be during school work or talking to friends, and wanted to see whether her symptoms needed treatment. The CWC employee told her that her classes may just be too difficult and referred her to a UF study tip workshop at the Reitz Union. “She basically said, ‘Oh, well it’s highly unlikely that you would have this if you made it to UF,’ as if somebody couldn’t make it to UF if they have mental issues,” the student said. The junior said she feels as if UF, and what she called its negligence of the service, is where the real problems lie. “Even though they say we care about your mental health, or your health in general, half the time it really does not seem that way,” the student said. She said the counselor accused her of looking for a drug prescription. Escoto said the CWC does not prescribe drugs to students, but counselors make referrals to UF Psychiatry services, located in the Student Health Care Center on Radio Road. Dr. Kishan Nallapula, the head of UF telemental health treatment, said if a student is requesting medical treatment, they should see a counselor who is able to refer them to the appropriate resource. “It’s not like just because somebody is asking for medicine that they don’t get it,” he said. A 19-year-old UF psychology and English sophomore also made an appointment at the CWC in Spring 2020, after returning from Winter Break and having trouble readjusting to college. She said there was only one therapist available and the weekly appointment conflicted with her class schedule. She said she was not offered to be put on a waitlist for individual sessions but was offered CWC group therapy and given papers to fill out to find a therapist in Gainesville. She said she felt overwhelmed by this and decided it wasn’t worth it. She found a therapist online during the summer and said it worked out. “I haven’t yet met anyone that has had a good experience with the CWC,” she said. “I don’t trust them both because of the experience I had early this year and because I feel that they have not accomplished their goal of spreading mental health awareness across the UF campus.” @jack_prator jprator@alligator.org

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 16, 2020 www.alligator.org/opinions


The University of Florida needs mandatory COVID-19 testing


tudents are still partying and spreading COVID-19. We think it’s safe to say many students don’t give a damn about the pandemic or the warning emails sent by our Vice President of Student Affairs. With the push for a limited return of inperson classes next semester, course registration opening and UF even closing down a residence hall to make for more quarantine space, we wanted to address the topic of mandatory testing. UF President Kent Fuchs, in an interview with The Alligator, said he was considering mandatory testing for high risk groups such as students in labs and Greek life. With the increased number of in-person sections next semester, we think it is only reasonable for UF to further step up its testing capabilities. It is a lot easier to get a test than it was at the beginning of the school year. UF Screen, Test & Protect can pat itself on the back for that. However, one issue with the current testing system is that it still depends on people’s goodwill to come in and voluntarily get tested. How are we supposed to be catching asymptomatic cases if people don’t feel a need to schedule a test? What about all those people partying at bars? If those students have the gall to rampage all over the streets of Gainesville in spite of public health guidance, UF administrators should at least respond with the same energy in mandating the partying students get tested. Let us put this in terms Tigert Hall will understand by talking about the various levels of mandatory testing done by public universities ranked better than UF by U.S. News & World Report. At UCLA, weekly testing is required for “all students living in university housing or participating in on-site or hybrid classes, as well as for faculty, staff or teaching assistants involved in teaching on site.” That’s what the

No. 1 public university in the country is doing. Next is UC Berkeley, where students in residence halls are required to be tested twice a week. At the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, mandatory testing was utilized as a response to clusters in residence halls. At the University of Virginia, all students were required to take a test in order to return to campus and there is now mandatory testing to catch asymptomatic cases. The University of California, Santa Barbara, has weekly required testing for those “living in campus housing, working on campus or attending in-person instruction.” Every school ranked higher than UF has had some sort of mandatory testing at one point or another, with the notable exception of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, which was nationally humiliated for its failure to control the virus. UNC will have mandatory testing as it also returns to in-person classes in the Spring. Let us not forget that 20% of our national ranking is calculated from the opinions of our peers. Compared to our peers, UF is not adequately taking care of its students, faculty, staff and the surrounding community — and given the embarrassing COVID-19 outbreak within our football team, how are our peer institutions supposed to think highly of us? Experts theorize that 10% of infected people are responsible for 80% of new infections. UF needs to further step up its testing game: We need some sort of mandatory testing. Asymptomatic cases are slipping by right under our noses. We need to do better.

Op-Ed Limericks

The Spring HyFlex Plan Limericks There’s a teaching tech known as HyFlex And it’s what UF plans to do next. If this tech is used well, Things can go really swell. If used poorly, instruction is hexed. Why watch students’ backs filmed from a room When you’d see all their faces on Zoom? Like the teacher, they’re masked — So the questions they ask Will sound muffled. Discussion is doomed. Can remote students feel they’re included When HyFlex makes them further secluded? Do we read chat on Zoom? Talk to those in the room? Might the Spring HyFlex Plan be deluded? Marsha Bryant is a UF English professor.

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solution on page 9 Release Release Date: Date: Monday, Tuesday,November November16, 10,2020 2020

Los Angeles Times Daily Crossword Puzzle Edited by Rich Norris and Joyce Nichols Lewis

ACROSS ACROSS 11 Wedding party Church seating escort 4 The boy who 6 Witch’s cried wolf, e.g. 8 incantation Hint of hunger 11 Image suffix 12 Señorafile Perón 14 13 Garden-guarding Soften the effect spirit of, as words 15 14 Free-for-all Pen name 16 Poetic “before” 16 Carrier to Cork 17 “Fingers crossed!” and Shannon 19 Golf starting point 18 Cattle Release 20 identifier 19 Streamlined, 21 Puts dressingas in,a sports car as a turkey 20 Painter Miner’s or find 23 21 sculptor Kitchen protector with strings 24 American 22 addition She played to Ika in “Quest for Fire” Chinese cuisine 25 Face Tieredcover Eastern 26 temple 27 Hawaii’s __ 28 Mauna “Definitely” 28 over 29 Watch “Really?” 29 33 Shakespearean Chomped 36 rumpus Graduating 30 Sad on the group Seine? 37 Letters before a 32 Migratory pen namesalmon 34 38 Vessel Back ofcarrying a hit 45 soldiers record 36 Directs (to), 40 Rocky crest as a 41 specialist Best Actor 39 Fibbed nominee for “The 40 __ moment: Crying Game” revelation 43 Slippery, as a 43 Yemeni port winter road 44 Bumped into 45 Hoity-toity Colossus island 45 sort 46 Steph Ignore,Curry with “to” 46 52 hoops Chinese, for specialty example 49 Draw idly 53 Baton Rouge sch. 51 College grounds 54 Lighthearted Snake secretion 52 58 banter Italian sauce with pine53-Down nuts 53 See 59 Earth-friendly Period preceding 54 retailer ... and a Reagan’s hint to the circled presidency 61 letters Tavern mug 57 62 Consumed Killed time 58 Stay awaykid from 63 Boomer’s 59 Offends 64 Change the for anose ten 60 on!” 65 “Spot Prescribed 61 Dots on a map medication 62 Doctrinal amount belief 66 Mattel product DOWN 1 “ThisDOWN tastes awful!” “Split” veggies 21 Smiled with 2 disdain Daredevil Robbie’s dad 3 Fictional captain 3 Hornblower Suffix with hard or soft chef 4 “Bam!”

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By Mark Jerry Edelstein By McClain ©2020 Tribune Tribune Content Content Agency, ©2020 Agency, LLC LLC

11/10/20 11/09/2020 11/16/20

11/10/20 11/16/20


January 27, 2020

King Features Weekly Service


by Fifi

1. MEASUREMENTS: How many Rodriguez inches are in a mile? 2. ASTRONOMY: What does the acronym SETI mean to the scientific community? 3. LANGUAGE: What doestablethe Lat1. MEASUREMENTS: How many in prefix “sub-” spoons are in 1/2 cup?mean in English? 4. U.S. PRESIDENTS: Who was the only president to serve two sitcom noncon2. TELEVISION: Which 1990s terms? featuredsecutive the theme song "I'll Be20th-cenThere 5. LITERATURE: Which for You"?tury movie star penned the autobiography “Me: Stories of My Life”? 3. GEOGRAPHY: Where is the of 6. HISTORY: What was city the first National Monument proclaimed in the Timbuktu located? United States? GEOGRAPHY: is the 4. GAMES:7. How much moneyWhere does each island of Luzon located? Monopoly player get at the start of the 8. MOVIES: Which sci-fi movie has classic game? the tagline, “Reality is a thing of the past”? 5. SCIENCE: How much of the Earth's 9. GENERAL KNOWLEDGE: What the namewith of the United States’ first surface iswascovered water? nuclear-powered submarine? 6. MOVIES: Which What 2004are the animated 10. GAMES: four railroad properties Monopoly? Edna movie featured thein character Answers Mode? 1. 63,360 inches 7. U.S. STATES: is the capital of 2. SearchWhat for extraterrestrial intelligence Michigan? 3. Below or insufficient 4. Grover Cleveland 8. COMICS: Which comic character's 5. Katharine Hepburn favorite exclamation is 1906 "Good grief!"? 6. Devils Tower, 7. The Philippines 9. PSYCHOLOGY: What fear is repre8. “The Matrix” sented in 9.the cynophobia? Thephobia USS Nautilus 10. Pennsylvania, Short Line, Read10. ANATOMY: What is the condition of ing and B&O


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Lost & Found

Finders Keepers? If you find something, you can place a FREE FOUND AD in our lost & found section. Be kind to someone who’s lost what you’ve found. Call 373-FIND.

"pes planus" more commonly called? © 2020 King Features Synd., Inc.

solution below

(c) 2020 King Features Synd., Inc.

answers below

¿hablas español?



J UMB L E by David L. Hoyt 1






4 5





1. 5. 6. 7.

Traffic ____ Governed ____ circle Horrified CLUE

1. 2. 3. 4.



ANSWER Without a doubt R LY E S U DENGLGI Type of horse Appendixes AEDNDAD RETBUI ____, Lebanon CLUE: This country’s national sport is water polo.

BONUS How to play

Complete the crossword puzzle by looking at the clues and unscrambling the answers. When the puzzle is complete, unscramble the circled letters to solve the BONUS. 2020 Tribune Content Agency, LLC

& Hoyt Designs. All Rights Reserved.

ANSWERS: 1A-Signal 5A-Ruled 6A-Inner 7A-Aghast 1D-Surely 2D-Gelding 3D-Addenda 4D-Beirut B-Hungary

Send comments to TCA - 160 N. Stetson, Chicago, Illinois 60601 or DLHoyt@HoytInteractiveMedia.com

solution below

www.alligator.org/classifieds | (352) 373-FIND | classified@alligator.org

: PUZZLE SOLUTIONS Mega Maze solution

Trivia Test answers

Sudoku solution

ScrabbleGrams solution

10. Flat feet

5. About 71%

9. Fear of dogs

4. $1,500

8. Charlie Brown in "Peanuts"

3. Mali in west Africa

7. Lansing

2. "Friends"

6. "The Incredibles"

1. Eight

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 16, 2020 www.alligator.org/sports


Joe, Shmoe: Move over Burrow, there’s a new Heisman in town By Payton Titus Sports Writer

There are three bronze statues outside Ben Hill Griffin Stadium near the skybox entrance: one for each Heisman Trophy winner at the University of Florida. Three statues made to scale yet somehow larger than life. This Mount Rushmore of Gators football was erected with private donor money in 2011 and has been beguiling recruits ever since. After a long and arduous nine years for Florida fans, it’s looking like another quarterback could be joining Steve Spurrier, Danny

Wuerffel and Tim Tebow after all. Kyle Trask, a non-starter from Manvel, Texas, population 11,535, has been dazzling crowds bigger than his hometown at the Division I level for more than a year. After filling in for Florida’s then-starter Feleipe Franks when he broke his ankle against Kentucky in 2019, Trask secured the starting job and commanded the national spotlight. His performances against all SEC opponents this season have only turned up the brightness. Trask’s name, already in lights, glows more fervently than before with every program and conference record he claims.

Courtesy to The Alligator

Gators quarterback Kyle Trask winds up to throw the football during Florida’s game versus Arkansas at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on Nov. 14. After Saturday night’s performance, many media members and Gators fans see Trask as the frontrunner for the 2020 Heisman Trophy award.

Last week against Georgia, Trask became the first SEC quarterback to throw at least four touchdowns in five consecutive games. This week against Arkansas, Trask threw for six touchdowns, five of which came in the first half. He broke Heisman finalist Tua Tagovailoa’s conference record for touchdown passes through the season’s first six games. With a schedule that included non-conference opponents like Duke, Southern Miss and New Mexico State, Tagovailoa had 27 touchdown passes. Trask has notched 28 against exclusively SEC competition. That number puts him in good Gators company as well. Saturday night’s performance saw Trask join Wuerffel and Tebow as the only UF quarterbacks to have multiple seasons with 25 touchdown passes. The only Heisman-winning quarterback in the last 30 years that Trask is chasing in this statistic is Lamar Jackson, who threw and ran for 30 touchdowns in the first six games of his 2016 campaign with the Louisville Cardinals. “I don’t know if he’s the frontrunner; I don’t get to vote, so,” coach Dan Mullen told the media about Trask’s place in the Heisman Trophy standings. “You can say, I think you have a vote, so if you want to say that, that’s awesome. “We’ve been around this before. I think he’s a mature kid. The numbers stand.” In that same vein, Trask (2,171 passing yards) only trails former BYU quarterback Ty Detmer (2,513) in passing yards through six games among Heisman-winning quarterbacks since 1990. Trask even surpassed former LSU quarterback and first overall pick Joe Burrow, who had 2,157 at this point last season. The Gators’ remaining opponents include Vanderbilt, Kentucky, Tennessee and LSU. The Commodores are 0-6. The Wildcats are just shy of .500 (3-4), with their only wins from Vanderbilt, Tennessee and Mississippi State. The Volunteers are 2-4 and have lost

their last three games. And finally, the reigning national champion Tigers are a measly 2-3. It feels safe to say there’s nothing but smooth sailing left for the Gators until their presumptive SEC Championship game matchup with No. 1 Alabama. These next four games could serve as a fine opportunity for Trask to pad his Heisman resume come the award’s finalists announcement on Dec. 24. When the final whistle blows and the sun sets on the Gators’ regular season, it might be time for Trask to break out the powder blue suit, jot down a victory speech and fire up his computer to accept the 2020 Heisman Trophy award virtually. But Anthony Richardson, one of Florida’s backup quarterbacks, doesn’t see the point in waiting until then. “Aye I’m not supposed to be on my phone,” Richardson tweeted at halftime on Saturday. “But somebody tell them to give Kyle (Trask) the Heisman Trophy already!” Trask, on the other hand, sang the same old tune Saturday night after the game. He’s worried about tallying W’s, not collecting bronze souvenirs. When asked if he heard the crowd chanting “Trask for Heisman” under the glow of the stadium lights, Trask replied “Uhh, yeah I heard it, obviously. But, you know like I said, we're just focused on winning games here.” While he might not be paying the numbers or the accolades any mind, the rest of college football, its fans and the media are. His productivity under center dumbfounds them. The stats speak for themselves, and they say Trask is well on his way to lighting up celebratory cigars with the likes of Joe “Burreaux” and the rest of the Heisman house.

@petitus25 ptitus@alligator.org


Florida bounced from SEC Tournament after loss to Missouri By Bryan Matamoros Sports Writer

Florida’s Susi Espinoza gave her team a fighting chance against Missouri in the second round of the SEC Tournament on Sunday. In a must-win game, the redshirt senior keeper recorded a season-high seven saves, but the Gators offense wasn’t up to par. Thirteenth-seeded UF was eliminated from the conference tournament after falling 2-1 to the fifth-seeded Tigers at the Orange Beach Sportsplex in Alabama. The Gators played into the wind in the first half, which affected their possession in the game’s early stages. Instead of playing balls over the top, Florida resorted to short passes on the ground to penetrate Missouri’s 3-4-3 shape. Mizzou countered with a high press that flustered UF coming out of the back. In the 17th minute, the Tigers took advantage.

With none of her teammates checking in for a pass, Florida defender Taylor Baksay tried forcing the ball through the middle of the park. Missouri’s Bella Alessi was there to steal possession, though, and she charged right at the Gators until finding midfielder Macy Trujillo at the edge of the box. Trujillo’s awkward first touch almost let her down, but the senior remained composed in front of UF’s net to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead. Florida answered back just four minutes later when forward Alivia Gonzalez threaded the ball into Cassidy Lindley, who made a surging run past Mizzou’s back line. Lindley squandered a one-on-one opportunity in Florida’s 6-5 overtime victory against Kentucky but didn’t let a similar chance go to waste this time around. The junior forward dribbled around Tigers keeper Isabella Alessio and tapped the ball home for the equalizer.

Gators golf alumnus Billy Horschel shot 1-under-par overall last week at The Masters to tie for 38th and make the cut.

Although the game was tied at 1-1 going into the break, Missouri held the upper hand offensively through the opening 45 minutes. The Tigers registered 13 shots in the first half, with five of those hitting the target. Florida, meanwhile, shot just four times, and only two of those were on frame. It was more of the same in the second half, as Missouri peppered Espinoza’s net, searching for the game-winning goal. Mizzou finally broke through in the 72nd minute when Alessi stuck out her foot to steer the ball under Espinoza’s flailing limbs. The Gators pushed players forward in hopes of forcing overtime for the secondstraight game. However, Florida’s 26th Courtesy to The Alligator season came to an anticlimactic end with Sunday night’s defeat to the Tigers. Goalkeeper Susi Espinoza dives for a save in the opening

game of the SEC Tournament on Friday. After winning 6-5

@bryan_2712 in overtime on Nov. 13, the Gators tournament hopes bmatamoros@alligator.org were dashed Sunday night when they lost to Missouri.

Gators open as 31-point favorite over Vanderbilt Florida leads its all-time series with the Commodores 41-10-2. Circa Sports has the Gators winning by 31 points in Nashville, Tennessee, on Nov. 21.

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Gators prove offense is

more than just “Kyle to Kyle” By Brendan Farrell Sports Writer

“Kyle to Kyle” has been the talk of the town in Gainesville ever since tight end Kyle Pitts’ breakout year in 2019 with Kyle Trask under center. However, with Pitts out for the foreseeable future with a concussion and nose surgery, there were questions about what the Gators’ offense would look like, especially after only scoring six points against Georgia in the second half last week. Consider those questions answered. Trask tossed six touchdown passes for the second time this season, and 10 different players combined for 27 catches for 385 yards in No. 6 Florida’s 63-35 win over Arkansas. “We’ve known this ever since fall camp about how many different weapons we have,” Trask said. “Even when we had Pitts in there, a lot of people like to double team and try to shut him down and leave other guys one-on-one. But this week, everybody did a great job stepping up, beating their matchups, and making plays on the ball.” Sophomore Keon Zipperer filled in at tight end for Pitts, and he performed admirably. Zipperer hauled in three passes for 47 yards and two touchdowns. “You’re down Kyle Pitts, great playmaker, but (Kemore) Gamble and Zipperer step up and have really good games,” coach Dan Mullen said. “The wideouts did a really nice job and Kyle Trask did a really good job distributing the ball, not getting panicky, taking what they were going to give us all night.” Senior wideout Trevon Grimes led all Florida receivers with a season-high 109 yards and a couple of touchdowns. Saturday was the first time Grimes eclipsed the 100-

yard mark since totaling 118 against FSU in 2018. It was a good night for UF’s younger receivers as well. Redshirt sophomores Justin Shorter and Jacob Copeland each caught a touchdown pass. Freshman Xzavier Henderson caught his first touchdown as a Gator and had 62 receiving yards. Florida’s ability to distribute the ball to a wide range of targets wasn’t unique to Saturday, either. The Gators have 12 players who have caught at least five passes this season, and eight of them have at least 100 receiving yards. That group includes four wideouts, two running backs and two tight ends. In other words, Florida has a multitude of ways to beat opposing defenses. Mullen and offensive coordinator Brian Johnson have a seemingly endless number of different skill sets at their disposal to create mismatches. Even without Pitts, the Gators still have Shorter (6-foot-5) and Grimes (6-foot-4) who can be big targets for Trask and win jump balls. Senior Kadarius Toney has a teamhigh 36 catches and is lethal in the open field. They have a pair of running backs in redshirt junior Malik Davis (267 yards) and redshirt freshman Nay’Quan Wright (134) who can be dangerous in the passing game when matched against linebackers. “Credit to Florida,” Arkansas defensive coordinator Barry Odom, who was Arkansas’ acting head coach after coach Sam Pittman tested positive for COVID-19, said. “They’re really, really explosive and an experienced team, and they probably deserve every accolade and ranking that they’ve gotten.” @Bfarrell727 bfarrell@alligator.org


Current and former UF swimmers made a splash in the 2020 U.S. Open By Sara Kate Dyson Sports Writer

The Gators shined at the U.S. Open, racking up eight medals by the end of the three-day meet. Eighteen current and five former Gators swimmers traveled to Sarasota, Florida, to compete in the 2020 Toyota U.S. Open on Thursday. Due to concerns regarding COVID-19 and travel, this year’s U.S. Open looked different than usual. Rather than holding the competition in one location, the meet was broken up into nine different regions around the country. The Gators dominated in the Sarasota region. Thursday brought the first day of competition, which only featured the 800-meter freestyle event. The Gators took the top-three spots in the regional competition while four swimmers notched Olympic Trial cut times. Robert Finke took the win, while Kieran Smith and Alfonso Mestre followed closely in second and third. Both Smith, who finished second, and Mestre, who finished third, set personal records in the event. On Friday, the Gators picked up six regional wins out of eight events. Smith earned the top time in both the 200- and 400-meter free. Finke picked up another win in the 400-meter individual medley, and Clark Beach got his first event win in the 100-meter backstroke. Former Gators Ryan Lochte and Enzo Martinez-Scarpe also notched wins. Lochte got the top spot in the 200-meter individual medley, and Martinez-Scarpe got it in the 50-meter freestyle. The final day of competition kicked off with another Finke regional win, this time in the 1,500-meter freestyle. He finished 26 seconds ahead of the next swimmer, earning another Olympic Trial cut. Beach earned one more win alongside an Olympic Trial cut in the 200-meter backstroke. Eric Friese and Miguel Cancel picked up

wins on Saturday. Friese beat out Smith by .02 seconds to take the win in the 100-meter freestyle. Cancel closed out the competition with a win in the 200-meter butterfly. With the competition being broken up into nine regional meets, the official results of the U.S. Open were not decided until all regions finished their events. After that, the times from each were compared and compiled to determine who would medal in each event. In the end, Finke earned the gold in the 1,500-meter freestyle with a final time of 15:09.14 and the silver in both the 800-meter freestyle (7:53.05) and 400-meter individual medley (4:18.08). Smith picked up two gold medals in the 200-meter freestyle (1:47.29) and 400-meter freestyle (3:48.78) events and bronze in the 800-meter freestyle (8:00.05). Beach earned the silver in the 200-meter backstroke (2:00.21), and Lochte took the bronze in the 200-meter individual medley (2:01.05). The men will be back in action on Nov. 18 for another three-day competition at the Auburn Invitational. @sarakatedyson skatedyson@alligator.org

Courtesy to The Alligator

Gators swimmer Kieran Smith comes up to breathe while swimming breaststroke. Smith medaled in three events at the 2020 U.S. Open this weekend.

Suite Life on Declan

Firing Becky Burleigh would be a ridiculous overreaction


lorida soccer’s 6-5 comeback victory over Kentucky on Friday quelled with the staff’s decision to play a weakened squad for the final game against pleas to fire head coach Becky Burleigh in favor of adoration toward the Missouri, meant UF was at full strength for just half of the regular season. team’s performance. Florida couldn’t be expected to lose its most potent offensive player and However, unless UF becomes the first 12-seed to win the SEC Tourmidfield fulcrum, Deanne Rose and Carina Baltrip-Reyes, and continue the nament, it will end the season on the heels of its worst campaign in season at an identical level. program history, followed by a long offseason for Burleigh’s seat to simmer for The team competed fiercely without these core contributors, losing by one the first time in her tenure. goal on three occasions, including a gut-wrenching double-overtime loss to Pillars of Florida’s online fandom, InAllKindsOfWeather.com and RayGaVanderbilt. Declan Walsh tor’s Swamp Gas, have called for a new manager, and many on Gators Twitter And while UF’s results in the last few seasons haven’t quite matched BurTwitter: @dawalsh_UF Email: dwalsh@alligator.org have criticized UF performances this season. leigh’s lofty expectations, notions that she hasn’t lived up to the “Gator stanAlhough the Gators lost to Missouri on Sunday, calls to sack Burleigh are dard” are more indicative of an entitled fan base than Burleigh’s supposed short-sighted and ludicrous. failures. 2020 and the pandemic don’t invalidate criticism of Burleigh, and I have plenty of The Gators were 11-9-1 in 2019, but it’s important to note four of Florida’s losses came issues with her management this season. I believe Florida was tactically stubborn this against top-10 opponents. UF finished fourth in the SEC, and its loss in the NCAA Tournaseason, taking far too long adjusting to a more direct, progressive style of play. Set-piece ment came against a ranked USF team. Even in 2018, the program’s worst season to that defending was atrocious, with UF’s opponents consistently finding gaps in its zonal mark- point, Burleigh finished .500 in the SEC and led the Gators to a conference championship ing. game. Through her goal-scoring prowess and technical ability, senior Parker Roberts has In the 23 years prior Burleigh has presided over Florida, she has served as the pinnacle demonstrated over the last three games she should have played in a more advanced role. of consistency and excellence, posting a winning record in the SEC every season by a But the tribulations UF faced this season are ones no manager could prepare for, and comfortable margin and consistently dancing deep into the NCAA Tournament. too much stock placed in this campaign undermines this staff’s consistent excellence in With the resources and support UF sports receive, relative to the rest of the country, Gainesville. Gators fans are fully justified in having high expectations. In September, the program’s positive tests canceled its first game against Missouri, But it’s important to prevent recency bias from clouding their judgments and throwing and the Gators were largely unable to practice for two weeks. Given the elite fitness and gold, or in this case, a coach who is sixth all time in win percentage, in the trash. A seaskill required to play soccer, a fortnight away from the game is devastating. son doesn’t make a manager, and while this year has been unacceptable, that shouldn’t Positive cases and injuries meant Florida missed seven players in its loss against South discount the decades of elite soccer provided by Burleigh. Carolina, five against Tennessee and two against Kentucky. These absences, coupled


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Profile for The Independent Florida Alligator

November 16, 2020  

November 16, 2020