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Outdoor track and field teams begin at JU

The outdoor season starts this weekend for the USF men’s and women’s track and field teams. The team will take 50 athletes to Jacksonville on Saturday for the Jacksonville University Invitational. The meet will feature teams from a broad variety of north and southeastern schools.

Greg Thiel, USF track and field coach, said that this weekend will be an opportunity for him to evaluate his younger athletes on a competitive level, and he is very optimistic about the prospects for the rest of the season.

“The men’s team is limited in size, so all the athletes have to make an impact,” said Thiel.

The team will feature many new faces, such as freshman Robert Fennel, a Junior Olympic shot-putter from Miami. Thirteen members of the men’s team are either freshmen or sophomores. Coach Thiel said that the strengths of the men’s team are in the field events, particularly, high jump and the 1500-meter, 5000-meter races. He is eager to watch the development of all of his track athletes in events such as the 400m hurdles.

“The women’s team is very well-rounded, there are no real glaring weaknesses,” said Thiel.

The outlook for the women’s team is bright coming off a promising indoor season. Senior Tara Quinn was an NCAA participant in the 10,000-meter race last year. Freshman Chandra Brewer is expected to make an immediate impact in the shot put. She holds the school indoor record.

This meet will be in a series of meets this season in preparation for the Conference USA Championship, which is the ultimate goal of the coaches and athletes. They expect to improve week by week, culminating in the conference championships.

  • James Tai covers outdoor track and field and can be reached at oraclesports@yahoo.com