As the USF indoor track and field team continued preparations to compete in the Conference USA championship meet this weekend, it received some bittersweet news.
According to officials from the team’s previous meet at the University of Florida, thrower Chandra Brewer completed a throw in the shot put which would have provisionally qualified her for the NCAA championship meet. Due to a scoring error, however, the ruling was not made until Monday, more than a week since the event.
Coach Greg Thiel said Brewer would not qualify for the national championship because the application process must be completed within a week of the competition.
“She would have had it by a quarter of an inch,” Thiel said. “(But) they didn’t call us back until Monday, which is pretty typical. Unfortunately it’s just one of those things. I’m not going to say they did it intentionally.
“I’m just proud she threw that far. Like I told her the other day in practice, she’s going to throw a lot farther (in the future).”With the distraction concerning the error now past, the team gears up for its trip to Bloomington, Ind. for Friday and Saturday’s meet, where it will attempt to defend two straight conference titles. Thiel said training for the meet has gone well, and he thinks his team is ready.
“(The team) is almost nerve-wrackingly focused,” he said.
“Everyone’s been very intense.”
Thiel said the Bulls’ strongest competition will probably come from a tough Houston team and Marquette, who he said presents the most problems for the Bulls.
“Historically they’re a very tough team, they compete hard,” he said. “It’ll be exciting.”
Thiel said Marquette will be a particularly difficult challenge since they match up well with the Bulls in most events.
“It’s probably going to depend on who is on during the weekend and who has the best day because it’s close,” he said. “Some of the key things in this meet are going to be how we do head up against them.”
The team will take its top 22 athletes to Bloomington. Thiel said much of the team centers around young talent, with all but two members returning next year.
“(There is) a learning curve,” Thiel said. “We’ve kind of grown into it as a team.”
Thiel said a key for the team is to have a good showing from its runners. Amber Delpino in the 400 meter run, Tara Quinn in distance and Bente General in the 800 meter run have all won distance events for the team this season. General holds the USF record in her event, which she set earlier this season. Distance runner Kristy Fuller has also had a strong season for the team and should have a good meet.
Also key is the performance of the team’s throwers. Brewer will star along with weight thrower Dayana Octavien, who has also had a throw of national provisional qualification length this season. Both throwers are USF record holders.
Thiel said he is not asking any one member to carry the team, sticking to the formula that has garnered success so far this season.
“We’ll preach to them again about consistency, (and to) just do your job,” he said. “We don’t have to have any Herculean efforts so to speak.”
Thiel said training for the meet has gone well, and he is optimistic about his team’s chances this weekend.
“They sure look like they’re ready,” he said. “I think they’re really excited about it, having a chance to win their third straight.”