UCF's Dione Thomas Named C-USA's Athlete of the Year

March 19, 2009

ORLANDO, Fla. (www.ucfathletics.com) - UCF senior Dione Thomas (Jacksonville, Fla.) has been named the Conference USA Indoor Field Athlete of the Year, the league office announced Thursday afternoon. Thomas becomes the first Knight honored with an athlete of the year honor since the program joined C-USA in 2005-06.

Thomas earned All-American accolades in the triple jump. She finished in a tie for 10th-place with a mark of 12.87m (42-02.75). The senior qualified for nationals by shattering her own school record in the event with a leap of 13.28m (43-07) at the Virginia Tech Last Chance Invitational. The mark was the seventh-highest nationally this season entering the NCAA Championships.

"It is great to have Dione represent our team as C-USA's 2009 Indoor Field Athlete of the Year," said head coach Caryl Smith Gilbert. "I am proud of Dione that she put in so much hard work and committed herself to be great as it is not easy to be that committed. I am sure this is just the beginning of great things to come for Dione, the team and the program."

One of three UCF athletes to earn All-American honors, Thomas was also C-USA's individual gold medalist in the triple jump (12.67m/41-07) and silver medalist in the long jump (5.91m/19-04.75) while guiding the Knights to a program-best third-place finish.

With the indoor season in the books, UCF opens its 2009 outdoor campaign on Saturday at home, hosting the Black & Gold Challenge at the UCF Track & Field Complex. The event welcomes Texas, Florida and Bethune-Cookman to Orlando and will get underway at 10 a.m. Thomas and nine other seniors will be honored as the meet will serve as Senior Day.

For the latest news on the Knights, log on to www.UCFAthletics.com - the official site for UCF varsity sports. The site, which also contains ticket and Golden Knights Club donor information, is also the home of UCF's new online apparel store. Also visit www.UCFPhotos.com, the exclusive fan source for UCF action sports pictures.