Cougars stop Bulls’ attempt at indoor three-peat

With two conference records, three school records and a freshman of the year award, it would seem the USF indoor track and field team would have its third straight Conference USA championship locked up.

But it wasn’t to be as the team finished second, 17.5 points behind an impressive Houston squad.

USF coach Greg Thiel said he was impressed by his team’s showing. He said they were merely beaten by a team on a hot streak.

“Houston just had a dream meet,” Thiel said. “I’m not going to say it was luck, they performed well, but everything was coming up aces.”

The Bulls trailed Marquette by a single point after the first day. Marquette finished third. Thiel said there was nothing his team could have done about Houston’s surprising second day.

“We have no regrets. We didn’t leave anything on the table,” Thiel said. “Sometimes you can look back and say what might have been. We didn’t have any of those things. When someone has that kind of a day you just kind of roll with it.”

The Bulls had strong performances from their entire roster. Leading the way was Bente General, who received freshman of the year honors. General broke the conference record in the 800 meter run with a time of 2 minutes, 9.66 seconds. Her time was also good enough to provisionally qualify her for the NCAA Championships.

Tara Quinn also ran well as she won the 5,000-meter run with a conference record time of 16:33.24. She joined General in provisionally qualifying for the national meet.

The team’s throwers continued their impressive season as Dayana Octavien won the weight throw, and Chandra Brewer broke her own school record en route to finishing second in the shot put.

The Bulls also received a strong showing from Amber Delpino, who finished third in the 400-meter run. Quinn starred again in the 3,000 meters as she and teammate Kristy Fuller finished third and fourth, respectively.

“We had some real consistent performances. Everyone stepped up and did their job,” Thiel said. “We can’t wait for outdoor (track and field). We’ll be right there for outdoors.”

Thiel said a few members of the team will probably participate in a series of last-chance qualification meets in hopes of making it to the national championships. He said the decision on who will go to these meets could come as early as today.

“I’m going to go in (today) and look at the different ones throughout the country,” Thiel said. “(Then I’ll) make a couple of phone calls.”

  • Rob Brannon covers indoor track and field and can be reached at