Bulls on next step

South Floridaís cross country teams look to take the next step in their pyramid plan when they travel to Charlotte, N.C., today for the Great America meet.
USF coach Greg Thiel describes the pyramid plan as a step-by-step approach to the season by conditioning one meet at a time.
Thiel said he believes his teams are right on track at the midway point of the season.
ìWeíre right on pace,î Thiel said. ìBoth teams are running extremely well, so right now itís going great.î
The Great America meet will offer some great competition for the Bulls, which will help them prepare for the Conference USA meet on Nov. 2.
Among the teams running against the Bulls are nationally ranked Brigham Young and North Carolina State.
The Bulls will use a different strategy in this race, but Thiel said the teams will still try to remain together to minimize the point total.
Unlike most other sports, in cross country the least amount of points comes out on top.
ìA meet like this, where it is a big national meet, we want to go out there and beat as many teams as possible, instead of focusing on one individual team,î Thiel said.
Thiel said the Bulls really have nothing to lose in this race, but they can gain a lot with a good performance.
ìThis race can solidify our ranking, and it can even help with an at-large bid to nationals,î Thiel said. ìIf we go there and have a real good race, and we happen to beat a couple teams that are ranked above us, it can really help us in the future.î
ìHead-to-head competition also has value in cross country, like in basketball, where it can be a determinant for an at-large bid.î
Should the Bulls finish this race like they hope, they would continue to build on an impressive season thus far. Through the first two meets of the season, both teams have had success. However, the womenís team has been more impressive.
After a second-place finish at the Bulldog Stampede, led by sophomore Christa Bentonís first collegiate victory, the women are now ranked No. 1 in the South region. Assistant coach Rita Arndt said the ranking helps the Bullsí confidence.
ìThe ranking is assurance that weíre not just good in our own minds,î Arndt said. ìItís nice to know that weíve got the respect from our colleagues around the South region.î
Senior Andrew Smith continues to shine on the menís team. After winning the first race of the season, Smith followed with a second-place finish at the Bulldog Stampede. The men finished in fifth place as a team.

Contact Adam Adkins at oraclesports@yahoo.com