The USF cross country teams travel to Athens, Ga., this weekend to take on a collection of Southeastern Conference teams at this year’s Bulldog Stampede. Fourteen other programs are scheduled to compete, including Florida, Florida A&M, LSU and Clemson.
The SEC championship race will be held at this course later in the year, giving the conference teams a preview of their main event, and for the Bulls, some healthy competition.
“This will be a gauge of what we can expect this season,” USF coach Greg Thiel said. “We will be racing against some elite schools.”
All-American Christa Benton leads the pack after winning her first two races this season. Jessica Hellender and Kristen Poulos, who have aided in leading the Bulls to consecutive second-place finishes at the Indiana Open and Florida Invitational, join Benton.
The Bulls’ top finisher this year for the men has been Sean Burris, while team captain Adam Chumbley and Derek Lincoln are on pace and have shown improvement in practice.
Bulls start season at Kentucky
The USF’s men’s tennis team opens its fall season today at the Kentucky Invitational in Lexington, with each player hoping to climb up the Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings.
Three Bulls are currently in the top 70 individual rankings, including one USF player who has been ranked 27th.
USF coach Don Barr said the fall tennis season focuses on individual accomplishments rather than the team. The tournament will guarantee each player four matches, with the draw for each player’s opponents scheduled to be determined late Thursday.
Uli Kiendl, Paco Antelo and transfer Karim Benmansour all are ranked 27th, 53rd, and 66th on the ITA list respectively.
A good performance this weekend could improve each player’s ranking. The Bulls will compete until Sunday in individual matches only, no doubles matches will be played in the tournament, Barr said.