This weekend at the Florida State Relays, the USF track team proved to be a dangerous opponent and nationally competitive as the members took first or second in several events.
“We had a lot of good performances and some outstanding performances,” USF track and field coach Greg Thiel said.
The outstanding performance of the weekend was Amber Delpino’s second-place finish. Second place would not usually be considered outstanding, but Delpino was an exception due to the fact that she finished the 400-meter hurdles .10 seconds behind world record holder Kim Batten.
Batten finished 57.65 while Delpino was a fraction behind at 57.75
“That will be one of the fastest times in America collegiately,” Thiel said. “That’s a time that usually scores in a national championship. I mean it’s just that fast.”
Thiel said Delpino made some mistakes during the race and that he is confident she can run even faster.
“We think she can run in the 56s, which is just unbelievable,” Thiel said.
Another athlete who Thiel said is going to get better is senior Jimmy Baxter. Baxter, who competes in the high jump, quit the basketball team before the end of the season. Thiel said the early departure from basketball has only helped him at the track.
He said the extra preparation that Baxter got as a result of leaving the basketball team early has made him stronger and faster, and as a result, Thiel has to help him tweak his approach.
“Track-wise, (quitting the basketball team) is going to be a real benefit for him,” Thiel said. “He’s so strong now and so powerful and so fast we have to find a way to harness that a little bit.”
Baxter won his event with a jump of 7-feet, 6-inches, but Thiel said he could do much better.
Delpino and Baxter were not the only ones performing well, however. Chandra Brewer won the shot put, Dayana Octavien placed second in both the hammer throw and the discus and freshman pole vaulter Tom Hendry finished fourth.
“We probably got eight or nine or 10 really, really high quality kids, not just good kids, but national caliber kids,” Thiel said.