Facing a contingent of local men’s teams and a few collegiate squads, the Gators fought hard to capture the title despite losing a few key players to minor injuries.
UF started the day strong with a 40-0 victory over Golden Isles. The Gators displayed excellent ball possession in the blowout win, as captain Lucas Baistrocchi scored a hat trick. Ryan Gilbert added a pair of tries, and Laurence Kidd and Geronimo Guzman also scored.
The action ramped up in the second pool game against the University of North Florida. Always a tough test, the Gators came out strong in the first half, putting up 14 points on the board. However, a number of penalties, which prevented the Gators from getting out of their own 22, led to 12 UNF points. Fortunately, Baistrocchi sealed the win with two tries, and Guzman made all four conversions in the 28-12 win.
For the final pool game, UF defeated Macon by a score of 24-14. Speedster Josh Nicdao scored twice in the match, and Stephen Sheehan added a try courtesy of a cross kick by Ryan Gilbert.
With three wins in the book, the Gators took on tournament host Valdosta State in the semi-final. VSU came out firing on all cylinders, forcing the Gators to up their game. Thanks to three CRC veterans—Rob Roux, Baistrocchi and Gilbert—the Gators secured their spot in the final with a 24-17 win.
UF’s final test came in the form of the Tallahassee men’s team. The Tally-Whackers were one of the strongest teams at the tournament, but the Gators shut down their speedy scrum half. Florida’s defense held Tallahassee to just one converted try, as Baistrocchi, Kidd, Paul Rice and Jack Christmas all scored for the Gators.
The road to the CRC continues on May 11, as UF will travel to Sarasota to participate in the Sunshine State 7’s tournament.