Bulls stay ahead in C-USA

USF sports captured one Conference USA Tournament championship, and five teams appeared in the NCAA Tournament in the recently completed 2001-02.

The five appearances keeps USF at the top of the C-USA chart with 38 NCAA berths since USF joined the conference in its inception in the 1995-96 school year.

With just the College World Series remaining and all C-USA teams having been eliminated in baseball, the conference wrapped up its sports calendar for the league’s seventh year.

It was a big year for C-USA and not a bad campaign for USF athletics. The conference added TCU and East Carolina as full members expanding C-USA’s girth to 14 schools. TCU was initiated in all sports, while ECU had been a member of C-USA for football-only since 1997 before adding all of its other sports this school year.

For USF, the men’s tennis team managed to secure the Bulls only C-USA Tournament championship out of the 18 sports that hold postseason tournaments. Football is the only sport that doesn’t have one, though rumors suggest that C-USA is researching the possibility of splitting into two divisions in order to hold a conference championship game in football. The only sport C-USA sponsors that USF doesn’t participate in is women’s swimming and diving. USF won the school’s only national championship in women’s swimming and diving in 1985.

In addition to the men’s tennis team’s automatic berth in the NCAAs due to its C-USA title, the outdoor women’s track and field team, the women’s golf squad, men’s soccer and baseball all made appearances in NCAA championship play.

Tara Quinn represented the track team by earning All-American honors with her second-place finish in the 10,000 meters. The Bulls were 23rd at the NCAA women’s golf tournament in Auburn, Wash. The men’s soccer team went the furthest when it lost to Penn State on the Nittany Lions’ home field 1-0 in triple overtime of the Sweet Sixteen. The USF baseball team came up short to then-No. 1 Florida State in the regional final.

In the seven-year history of C-USA, the Bulls have the most NCAA tournament appearances of any league school. USF has a 38-36 advantage over second-place Houston. In the C-USA Tournament championship standings, USF is in second with 20 titles, two short of Houston’s conference-leading 22. USF didn’t add any regular season titles this season. Cincinnati leads the conference with 15 regular season crowns, while the Bulls are in fourth with seven.

TCU made quite a debut in the conference. The Horned Frogs compiled five C-USA tournament titles and nine NCAA appearances, tops in the conference in both categories.

C-USA’s 14 schools combined for 50 NCAA berths in the 2001-02 school year.