Bulls star in front of former coach

The USF track and field teams faced off last weekend against their former coach, Bob Braman.

Braman was the track and field coach at USF for 17 years, leaving in 2000 to take the job at Florida State. Current Bulls coach Greg Thiel was an assistant under Braman, and current assistant Heather Curtiss competed for him.

“I think that in his [Braman] heart, he will always be a Bull. He was one of the first to congratulate our athletes after races,” said Thiel.

At the FSU relays, many of the USF athletes had stellar performances. The Bulls captured two first-place finishes, four second-place finishes, and three third-place finishes. Four athletes qualified for the NCAA Championship, five school records were broken and numerous athletes recorded personal bests.

“Ninety-five percent of the kids excelled and had a great meet. We had a great meet across the board,” Thiel said.

Alexis McGaffagan, Dayana Octavien, Amber Delpino, Bente General and Chandra Brewer set new USF records. Tara Quinn (16:32.17) and Kristy Fuller (16:47.08) in the 5,000 meters, Dayana Octavien (50.92m) in the discus throw, and Chandra Brewer in the shot put, provisionally qualified for NCAA Championships.

Of all the athletes who provisionally meet the requirement for the NCAA Championship, only the top percentage of those athletes will be invited to compete. According to Thiel, his athletes will have to continue to improve their performances in order to make it to the championship meet.

McGaffagan finished first in the two-day heptathlon, ahead of two competitors from FSU. Tara Quinn, Fuller and Tiffany Quinn took the top three finishes in the 5,000 meters. Delpino and Brewer took second place finishes in the 400 meters hurdles and shot put, respectively.

The women’s 4×400 relay team finished second, placing one ahead of the team from FSU. Melissa Tuccio placed third in the 10,000 meters, General finished fourth in the 800 meters, and Cori Kill finished fifth in the 1,500 meters.

Jimmy Baxter and Stephen Ketterl finished third and fifth, respectively, in the high jump. Andrew Smith finished fourth in the 1,500 meters and Andre Bondurant finished fourth in the javelin throw. Adam Chumbley finished sixth in the 5,000 meters.

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