Sports news briefs

Published: Tuesday, January 14, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 13, 2003 at 11:35 p.m.

Women's team ranked No. 2 in preseason poll

The Florida women's tennis team is ranked No. 2 - where it finished last season - in the preseason Omni Hotels Collegiate Tennis Rankings released Monday.

Defending NCAA champion Stanford is No. 1, followed by Florida, Georgia, Duke and North Carolina in the top five.

Florida's Lindsay Dawaf is ranked No. 7 in singles, Alexis Gordon in No. 9, Julie Rotondi is 22nd, Julia Scaringe 24th and Zerene Reyes 26th.

In doubles, Gordon and Scaringe are No. 7 and Dawaf and Rotondi are No. 12.

The Gators open the season Jan. 25 at home against South Florida.

Florida men lead SEC into Top 25 at No. 5

The Florida men's tennis team leads nine SEC teams into the Top 25 as the Gators open the Omni Hotels Collegiate Tennis Rankings at No. 5.

Georgia is No. 6, followed by Ole Miss (8th), Kentucky (9th), Tennessee (14th), Auburn (15th), Alabama (17th), South Carolina (22nd) and Mississippi State (25th).

"The team is excited about our spot in the preseason rankings," Florida coach Andy Jackson said. "In tennis the preseason rankings mean a little more than in most sports because the top 16 teams are invited to compete in the national team indoors (Feb. 20-23)."

Freshman Janne Holmia is the highest ranked Gator, checking in at No. 29, followed by Oliver Levant (68th), Eleazar Magallan (78th) and Matt Behrmann (118th).

In doubles, Levant and Magallan are No. 13.

The men open the season Jan. 16-19 in Atlanta in the SEC Indoor Championships.

Women's swim team tops Miami, 135-99

CORAL GABLES - The No. 2-ranked Florida women's swimming and diving team beat Miami 135-99 on Monday.

The Gators won five events: 400 medley (Renate duPlessis, Mandy Huff, Vipa Bernhardt, Chantal Gibney); 1,000 freestyle (Jessica Schrock); 200 butterfly (Casey Seland); 500 freestyle (Anna Chapman); 200 backstroke (Sara McLarty).

The Gators are in action next on Jan. 24 when they travel to go against top-ranked Auburn.

Braves sign left-hander Venafro to 1-year deal

ATLANTA - Left-hander Mike Venafro and the Atlanta Braves agreed Monday to a one-year contract.

Venafro, 29, went 2-2 with a 4.62 ERA in 47 games with the Oakland Athletics last season.

He allowed only 10 of 44 inherited runners to score, the eighth fewest among American League relievers.

Oakland failed to offer him a contract by Dec. 20, allowing him to become a free agent.

Venafro adds depth to the Braves' bullpen, which was one of baseball's best last season.

Orangemen impressive in win over No. 11 Mizzu

SYRACUSE, N.Y. - Hakim Warrick had 20 points to lead all five starters in double figures and the 25th-ranked Orangemen (11-1) won their 11th straight, a 76-69 victory over No. 11 Missouri on Monday night.

Syracuse moved into the Top 25 just hours before tipoff and quickly proved it belonged, holding the Tigers (10-2) to 38 percent shooting, well off their 48.3 mark entering the game and 12 points below their average for the season.

Former Arizona guard transfers to Ga. Tech

ATLANTA - Former Arizona guard Will Bynum has transferred to Georgia Tech, and he will be eligible at the end of the fall semester.

Bynum, a 5-foot-11 sophomore, was averaging 7.8 points a game this season for the Wildcats, but his playing time had been reduced lately because of the emergence of freshman Chris Rodgers.

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