USF sent two athletes to the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Oregon this past weekend and when the events ended, both emerged as first-team All-Americans for the second consecutive season.
Courtney Anderson ended her career at USF on a high note, clearing 6 feet in the high jump for the first time this season. The senior finished eighth for her event and earned first-team All-American honors by staying within the top nine competitors.
“It’s a relief, it feels great,” Anderson said. “I’ve been working hard for this. I didn’t have the best season, but now it feels even better.”
The rocky beginning to the season may have been due to Anderson’s success at the NCAA Championships last season. After becoming the national runner-up, she felt as though she had to live up to that finish.
“I think in the beginning of the year, I just expected too much of myself after that,” Anderson said. “I had to deal with that pressure, but now I’m peaking where I need to be and it didn’t affect me at all.”
When she cleared the 6-foot bar on her final attempt, Anderson said she knew that she had made the jump as soon as her feet left the ground. Now, she will attempt to parlay that success into the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.
Garnering a personal best and a USF record, Matthew O’Neal also competed this weekend, placing fourth in the triple jump event with a distance of 53-2.5.
Despite setting a school record, the sophomore said he could have finished even better if he hadn’t overstepped the board on his final jump. The result was a foul and a frustrated O’Neal.
“It definitely felt like it was going to be a great jump, but I overstepped the board, and I knew I fouled and I couldn’t complete the jump,” O’Neal said. “It felt like I was going to go farther than I had before on that jump.”
Even though he set a school record this season, O’Neal said he will have a better season next year simply by staying on the track.
“Just staying healthy throughout the year will help a ton, so I definitely think I’ll do better next year,” he said.