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Track and field teams get to feel at home for a change

The USF men’s and women’s track and field teams will host the USF Invitational April 4 and 5 at the USF Soccer Stadium, marking the first time the Bulls haven’t had to travel to a competition in either the indoor or outdoor seasons.

“It’s a refreshing change,” USF coach Greg Thiel said. “The kids are really excited any time they get to do something at home.

“They’re used to their own track, and they get to run in front of their friends and family, so it’s an added incentive to show off some.”

Minnesota State, Virginia Commonwealth, Florida International, Miami, Central Florida, North Florida, Florida Atlantic, Georgia Southern, Florida Memorial, Weber State, Florida A&M, Franklin, Jacksonville and Bethune-Cookman compile the 16-team field in the only meet USF will host this season.

“There are some good competitors coming in, and by looking at the entries it’s a pretty good-looking meet,” Thiel said.

Two competitors coming to the meet are former standout Bulls and current Nike Club Team members Damu Cherry and Llewelyn Brendwood. Both will run as unattached competitors.

Cherry owns school records in the in the women’s indoor 55 and 60-meter high hurdles and outdoor records in the 100-meter high hurdles. She is also part of the school record holding 4×100 and 4×200-meter relay teams.

Brendwood, who competed for Jamaica in the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, owns school records in the men’s 100 and 200 meters.

“It’s nice to have kids of that caliber come back and compete,” Thiel said.

But more important for the Bulls is to keep the momentum going that they’ve built in the first three meets of the season.

USF is coming off its best meet of the season at the University of Florida Relays, according to Thiel.

Four school records were broken, and three more individuals set regional qualifying marks in Gainesville last weekend.

Junior Dayana Octavien turned in her most impressive performance of the season, breaking her own school record in the discus (172 feet, 4 inches) and posting a regional qualifying mark in the shot put (49 feet, 1 inch).

Sophomore Chandra Brewer broke her own school record in the shot put (52 feet, 6 3/4 inches) and junior Amber Delpino broke her own school record set a week earlier in the 400-meter hurdles (59.31).

John Miller tied Randy Nunang’s nine-year-old school record in the pole vault, clearing 16 feet, 2 inches, and junior Jimmy Baxter, competing in his first meet after the basketball season, posted a regional qualifying mark in the high jump (7 feet, 1/2 inch).

Sophomore Bente General rounded out the Bulls’ regional qualifiers last weekend, finishing the 800 meters in 2:08.94.

“They’ll just keep building (on the momentum created),” Thiel said. “We’re still in the early stages of the season, and we hope to keep building and building.

“We’ve got some kids close to regional qualifying marks, and hopefully, they’ll get it here. We’ll just wait and see.”

Adam Adkins covers USF track and field and can be reached at