Three members of the USF indoor track and field team established school records at the Tar Heel Elite Invitational at North Carolina this weekend en route to the team’s fifth-place finish in their first scored event of the year.
Head coach Gregory Thiel said he was pleased with his team’s performance, which came against top opponents from the Atlantic Coast Conference, Southeastern Conference and Big East.
“We were really excited,” Thiel said. “It was nice to run well.”Thiel said when the team left the meet, which was won by North Carolina, he thought they were one position higher in the standings.
“We thought we were tied with Georgia Tech,” he said. “You leave a meet and you don’t see all the end results.”Even without the tie, Thiel said the meet went well.
Of note for the team was the performance of sophomore Dayana Octavien, who won the weight throw with a new USF record of 59 feet, 10.5 inches. Octavien said the throw felt good.
“I was really relaxed,” Octavien said. “I didn’t really know how well I’d thrown, but it felt like a really good throw.”
Octavien’s throw provisionally qualifies her for a trip to the NCAA meet, meaning that she’ll make the national competition unless others throw farther. Octavien said, however, that she’ll have to improve if she wants to hold onto her position
“I’m kind of on a teeter totter because at any time someone can throw a little farther,” she said. “I’ll have to (throw better) if I want to go to the NCAA (meet).”
Octavien is just one of the young athletes who are beginning to make their mark on the team.
In addition to Octavien’s performance, redshirt freshman Chandra Brewer broke the former USF record in the shot put by more than six feet with a throw of 48 feet, 7.5 inches, while in running, the team fared well as freshman Bente General finished fourth in the 800 meters with a USF record time of 2:11.70.
Octavien said she is excited to be a member of a young and talented squad.
“I feel really good,” she said. “We’re really young, so I feel like we can get better together.”
While General set the new school record, senior runner Tara Quinn was also impressive as she finished second in the 5,000 meter event. Thiel said he was excited to see his team have good finishes.
“(General) was outstanding,” Thiel said. “It was a tough meet because we had (outstanding opponents).”
Thiel said he was also pleased with the high jump, in which sophomore Alexis McGaffagan captured second with a jump of 5 feet, 7 inches.
Thiel said with all of the bright spots there was some room for improvement after this weekend. Even with the new records, he said the young athletes on the team were still a concern.
“For our young kids it’s going to be up and down all year,” Thiel said. “In Gainesville (at last week’s meet) they did a pretty good job, but this week they didn’t run as well as expected.”
Overall, Thiel said, he is hopeful after this week’s performance. He said, with the elite competition, the result was a good one.
“It went well,” Thiel said. “We had some really good performances.”
- Rob Brannon covers indoor track and field and can be reached at email@example.com