LARRY VETTEL: Most Dominant Athlete at Florida

Do you know who it is? Let me give you some hints.

  • The most dominant athlete at the University of Florida does not compete at Florida Field in front of loud enthusiastic crowds
  • The most dominant athlete at UF does not have students waiting outside for the chance to see competitions
  • The most dominant athlete at UF can walk around campus virtually unnoticed
  • The most dominant athlete at UF did not generate headlines when making a choice of what school to attend
  • The most dominant athletes at UF is not a native of the USA
  • The most dominant athlete at UF can kick your butt

Meet Candice Scott, Florida's four-time national champion who needed all of one meet this year to break another NCAA record. Scott eclipsed her own standard in the weight throw on January 15. It marked the fourth time she has broken the national collegiate record and earner her National Athlete of the Week Honors from the Track Coaches Association.

The native of Trinidad has won the NCAA Indoor Title in the weight throw twice and also has a pair of national titles outdoors in the hammer throw. Only injuries have kept her from attaining even more championships.

Scott headlines a phenomenal group of throwers who are virtually certain to score big points at nationals again this year. As her eight All-American honors attest, Scott is a dominant performer who often intimidates opposition. The soft-spoken senior is a good bet for further NCAA honors in 2005. If you want to see Scott in action, I suggest the Gator Invite, which is an indoor meet Feb 6, or the Florida Relays in March. Once, just once, the most dominant athlete at the University of Florida should compete in one front of a loud, enthusiastic crowd.

Tamia Williams Is Getting It Done

Most of you probably know there's a guard on campus who has helped take up the slack for an injured teammate and helped UF to a trio of wins in the SEC. But most of you think that story only applies to Anthony Roberson. Over on the other side of the basketball complex, senior Tamia Williams has been every bit as crucial to the recent success of the Florida Women's Basketball team. With Danielle Santos on the shelf with a foot injury, Williams has made the last month far and away the best of her four years as a Gator. In the last six games alone, Williams has led or tied for the team lead in scoring each time out. Over that span, she has averaged 19 points a game, including 20.3 in the four games against SEC competition. Not many gave Florida a chance to be much of a factor in the SEC after losing super star Vanessa Hayden to the WNBA, but Williams and her cohorts have raised their games and have the Gators off to a 3-1 start in league play.

Next up. Ole Miss in the O'Dome on Sunday which is kind of ironic, since Florida will be going for the 500th win in the programs history --- against the winningest coach in school history. Ole Miss Coach Carol Ross led the Gators to 247 of those wins during her twelve years in Gainesville. Now Florida will go after the milestone victory against the lady who posted almost half the wins in school history. And, they'll do so led by senior Tamia Williams… who Carol Ross signed out of Palm Beach Gardens High School four years ago.

See You Friday Night?

More than eight thousand were on hand two weeks ago when the Florida gymnastics squad hosted the Super six Challenge in the O'Connell Center. I think about half that would be a good turnout Friday night when Rhonda Faehn's team hosts 19th ranked Nebraska.

I consider Florida gymnastics one of the great deals in show biz today and you owe it to yourself and your young daughters/nieces to check it out. What these athletes do is amazing, athletic, and beautifully graceful all at once.

If you can't make it out to the O'Dome… Friday's meet will be edited to a one-hour special on Sunshine Network… oops, make that Sun Sports and will air later in the month. Former UF gymnastics great Melissa Miller-Schubeck joins me on the call.

If there's something about the UF women's sports program you have a question about or would like me to write about, send me an email at vettel@gatorcountry.com.


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