Dayana Octavien and Bente General of the USF indoor track team came up short Thursday in their bid to qualify for the national championship meet.
The two competed at the University of Florida in a last-chance meet hoping to improve upon their season’s best performance and earn an invitation to the national competition.
According to USF coach Greg Thiel, Octavien broke her own USF record in the weight throw with a toss of 18.79 meters. Octavien’s record-setting performance still fell roughly 0.75 meters short of the mark she needed to earn a trip to the national meet. Thiel said he was disappointed Octavien didn’t qualify for nationals but was happy with the new record.
“That’s the fun of the last-chance meet,” Thiel said. “You just have to roll the dice.”
General had a tough day in her event, the 800-meter run. After earning Conference USA Freshman of the Year honors with a personal best run of 2 minutes, 9 seconds last weekend, she ran 2:13 Thursday, about six seconds off the qualification mark. Thiel said General’s race was hard on the competitors, as they were chasing a very fast qualification time.
“Everyone went out fast trying to get the mark. They had a tough time after that,” he said. “I was a little surprised Bente didn’t run better. (But) after the highs of the conference championship, it’s tough to come back and run fast.”
The Bulls still have the possibility of sending one representative to the national meet. Senior 5,000-meter runner Tara Quinn currently stands 18th in her event. Thiel said last year 17 competitors were taken in her event, which leaves Quinn squarely on the bubble. Thiel said the NCAA will make its decision on who will participate in the national meet by 7 tonight. The meet will take place Friday and Saturday in Arkansas.
- Rob Brannon covers indoor track and field and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org