Senior track stars leave mark

Two members of the USF track team earned All-American status last week at the NCAA track and field championships in Austin, Texas.

Jimmy Baxter and Dayana Octavien both finished in the top eight in their event to gain All-American status, permanently leaving a legacy in the USF history books.

“Any time you’re an All-American, that leaves a great mark,” coach Greg Thiel said of the two seniors.

Four of the five USF athletes that made the championships reached the final of their events.

“We are really happy,” Thiel said. “They all competed hard and to have two All-Americans, two third-place finishes, was great.”

Baxter ended his collegiate career with a third-place finish in the high jump. He is the first three-time outdoor All-American in school history.

After Baxter cleared a jump of 7 feet 5 inches, tying his personal record, he had a shot at the national championship.

“We thought he had it won,” Thiel said. “It was really exciting.”

But when Baxter missed his third attempt of 7 feet 6 inches, his run at the title ended. Third is the highest Baxter has placed in the championships in his days as a Bull.

Two of USF’s throwers ended their seasons with success as well. Octavien, though, had to overcome some nerves early on. When she failed to qualify for the finals of the hammer throw, fouling on three consecutive attempts, she had one last chance to leave her collegiate mark – in the discus.

“She felt a tremendous amount of pressure,” Thiel said of Octavien, who missed the finals in both events last year. But this year was different.

A throw of 58.08 meters got her into the final and a throw of 190 feet 77 inches in the finals gave her a third place finish, good enough for All-American honors as well.

“She put (the pressure) behind her and did a great job,” Thiel said.

Chandra Brewer made the finals in the shot put. She finished her junior season with a 10th place finish in the shot put finals with a throw of 53 feet 3 1/2 inches.

Jaydian Miller ended his freshman campaign with a 24th place finish in the long jump. Amber Delpino failed to qualify for the finals in the 400-meter hurdles with a fourth place finish (58.62) in a qualifying heat.