FLORIDA NOTEBOOK

Clemson track transfer turns pro instead


Published: Wednesday, January 22, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 22, 2003 at 1:47 a.m.

Florida track fans had a chance to see Clemson transfer Dwight Thomas during Saturday's Florida Intercollegiates.

Thomas, a four-time All-American at Clemson, was third in the 55-meter dash (6.28 seconds) and the 200 (21.40). Too bad he will never contribute for the Gators.

Thomas elected to give up his amateur status during the semester break and signed a contract with adidas.

Had Thomas not turned pro, he would not have been allowed to compete for Florida this season anyway. Clemson failed to grant him his release and he would have been forced to sit out this season because of transfer rules.

Given his credentials, Thomas would have been a valuable member for the Gators next season.

He was the runner-up in the 100 and 200 at last season's NCAA Outdoor Championships. He also earned ACC Outdoor Performer of the Year honors.

Meanwhile, the injury report on Moise Joseph is promising. The junior got spiked in his left foot in the 800 and trainers determined there were no muscle or tendon damage. He required stitches to close the wound.

ONE VS. TWO: Having knocked off one higher-ranked team already this season, the women's swimming and diving team looks to do that again Friday but will have to do so on the road.

No. 2 Florida races at top-ranked Auburn on Friday night.

In the latest coaches poll, the Tigers no longer were the unanimous No. 1 team. The Gators received one first-place vote and trail 199-193 in the point total for the top spot.

Florida defeated Georgia earlier this season at home. At the time, the Bulldogs were second and the Gators were third.

The men's meet should be close as well, as the Gators are ranked sixth and the Tigers are second.

Florida has the reigning SEC Swimmer of the Week in Ryan Lochte.

The freshman won two events - the 200-yard freestyle (1:37.65) and 200 butterfly (1:50.91) - in the Gators' dual-meet victory against Southern Methodist. In the Dallas Morning News Classic, Lochte set a meet record in winning the 200 individual medley (1:47.81) and was second in the 500 freestyle (4:23.90) and 400 IM (3:48.10).

Another UF winner in the DMNC was Adam Sioui. The sophomore won his first race of the season in the 200 freestyle (1:38.75). He is the reigning NCAA champion in that event and spent the beginning of the season getting over a knee injury.

Florida finished with 300 points in the meet to place second, its highest finish since winning the title in the 1986-87 season. No. 3 California won the meet with 352 points.

JUST SHORT: Tennis player Janne Holmia continued his impressive freshman campaign by advancing to the singles final at the SEC Indoor Championship this weekend. But he fell short of winning his second individual title as Vanderbilt's Bobby Reynolds defeated Holmia 7-6 (4), 6-1.

Reynolds also bested Holmia in the quarterfinals of the Omni Hotels Region III Championships this fall.

The Gators start the dual match portion of their schedule Thursday against UCF. The match is at the Ring Tennis Complex at 2 p.m.

In other tennis news, the women's team added one more match to its spring schedule. Florida plays Clemson on March 21 at 5 p.m. The match will be held at the Ring Tennis Complex.

HITHER AND YON: The softball team will hold an intrasquad scrimmage today at the Florida Softball Stadium at 4 p.m. The Gators open their season Saturday at UCF. ... Former UF soccer star Abby Wambach made the U.S. roster for the Four Nations Tournament, which begins Thursday in China. This is Wambach's second trip to China. She first went there when she was 16 as part of her Olympic Development Team. ... Gymnast Kara Waterhouse set career-high marks on the vault (9.85) and balance beam (9.925), and Orley Szmuch had a personal-best score of 9.925 on the floor exercise in Friday's dual meet at Arkansas.

Doris Yon can be reached at (352) 374-5052 or yond@gvillesun.com.

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