The USF men’s and women’s track and field teams will travel to Tallahassee this weekend to compete in the FSU invitational. The Bulls will face off against, among others, a very strong host team in the Seminoles. According to Bulls’ coach Greg Thiel, this meet should be a good representation of the potential of his teams.
“Being the third outdoor meet of the season, the athletes should be getting into a groove. We are expecting good performances from everyone,” said Thiel.
While the Bulls have excelled in distance and field events this season, performances in other events have been inconsistent. Thiel attributes this to the lack of experience of younger athletes in these events.
“The younger athletes have yet to learn what it takes to train and run at a high level. They have to face phenomenal talent every week, and have to be at the top of their game all the time,” said Thiel. “It is about mental toughness you can’t win on talent alone at this level. It is a learning process and it takes time. Some athletes adjust faster than others.”
This weekend’s meet has the potential to be a break-out week for many of the athletes. Bente General, C-USA’s Freshman of the Year in indoor track and field, will run the 800 meters and the 400 meter hurdles. General set the conference indoor record for the 800 meters at the C-USA Indoor Championship in February. This week’s meet will be her first opportunity to run the 800 meters outdoors.
Amber Delpino will also be competing in the 400-meter hurdles and in the 4×400-meters relay. Thiel expects both General and Delpino to post good times in those events.
Among the athletes on the teams are some that Thiel says have the potential to be national qualifiers this year. He said Chandra Brewer has a very good chance to qualify for nationals in the shot put, as does Dayana Octavien in the discus throw.
Stephen Ketterl and All-American Jimmy Baxter have a chance to qualify for nationals in the high jump. Baxter finished sixth in last year’s NCAA Championship.
- James Thai covers outdoor track and field and can be reached at email@example.com