The USF indoor track team may not have come back from its conference tournament No. 1, but the team does have a reason to applaud senior Dayana Octavien.
Octavien, for the second year in a row, has come back from the Conference USA indoor track tournament as C-USA Athlete of the Year. The recognition came after she shattered a USF and C-USA record in the weight throw with a mark of 69-9.5.
“She was almost taken aback,” said USF track and field coach Greg Thiel. Octavien’s throw not only broke records, it automatically qualified her for the NCAA championships March 12-13 in Fayetteville, Ark.
“She is just getting better and better,” Thiel said. “I don’t think she has a cap.”
Although Octavien is the only Bull to have an automatic bid to the championships, other members of the team are still expected to travel to Arkansas. Senior runner Alexis McGaffagan and junior thrower Chandra Brewer both have provisional marks and a good chance of making the trip.
The Bulls, who participated in the event Friday and Saturday, were leading by 11.5 points the first day of competition but could not hold on as TCU went on to claim No. 1. The Horned Frogs blew by the Bulls on Saturday on their way to 125 points. USF finished with 97.5 points, barely edging out Houston, which finished with 92 points.
“(The Frogs) were better than we were, maybe not just on that day, but right now,” Thiel said.
“We told the kids today that they need to step it up more.”
Despite missing out on No. 1, the Bulls came back with personal victories in more than a few events. Bente General won the 800 with a time of 2:15:19 while freshman Megan Malone won the pole vault with a mark of 12-5.5.
“We were pleasantly surprised, but not entirely surprised,” Thiel said. “Megan has been jumping well.”
Another win that was even less of a surprise was a victory in the shot put where Chandra Brewer claimed No. 1 with a mark of 49-7.25. Brewer was followed closely by teammate Octavien who came in second with a mark of 48-7.25.
“It is a great rivalry, but it’s not (a rivalry),” Thiel said. “They each have an event that they are good at.”
The Bulls will be back in action Saturday when they begin the outdoor season at the UCF invite in Orlando.