Championship week: Softball, track and field, women’s golf

USF Softball had five players appear on all-conference teams. USF ATHLETICS PHOTO

South Florida fell 2-0 to UCF in the AAC tournament semifinals at USF Softball Stadium on Thursday-Saturday.

The Bulls’ performance starkly contrasted with the opening round on Thursday where they shut out the Pirates 7-0.

Against the Knights, South Florida went hitless through three innings. The Bulls recorded their first hit of the match when junior outfielder Jordyn Kadlub drove a single up the middle of the field.

 Throughout the game, there was ample opportunity for USF to rally back. In the seventh inning, the Bulls had the tying run at the plate. Their momentum would not last as a flyout and a double play ended the game and their season.

However, despite not making it to the AAC tournament final, the Bulls will still take home regular-season hardware.

Freshman infielder Kathy Garcia-Soto was named the 2023 American Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year. She led the team in double plays and infield assists this season, with nine and 86, respectively. 

Garcia-Soto was also one of five Bulls players to be selected for all-conference teams. She was named to the all-conference second team and all-rookie team. 

Joining Garcia Soto are senior pitchers Vivian Ponn & Gabrielle Nori. Both Nori and Ponn were all-conference first-team selections. 

Kadlub and junior infielder Marissa Travelpiece rounded out the Bulls’ appearances as second-team selections.

Women’s Golf

In their first NCAA Palm Beach Regional appearance since 2012, USF women’s golf finished eighth, ending their season on May 10. 

After starting strong early, South Florida fell short of their fifth NCAA Championship round berth.

In the first round, the Bulls recorded a five-over par 293 and an eight-over 296 in the following round. The Bulls closed out with a 16-over 304 in the final round.

Junior Melanie Green led the team, tying for 14th place at three over par. Sophomore Leonor Medeiros finished the tournament tied for fourth with 12 birdies.

Graduate student Lauren Heinlein tied for 43rd place and had a team-high 35 pars in the tournament. Sophomore Juliana Carmargo and Junior Alizee Vidal tied for 48th place in the tournament.

Track and Field

The USF track and field team had six event winners in the AAC Outdoor championships on Friday-Sunday in Tampa.

Senior Romaine Beckford highlighted day one by finishing third in the men’s javelin competition with a 59.38-meter throw. The mark set a new personal best and moved him to second place in the program’s all-time list for the competition.

A five-hour lightning delay on day two did not deter Junior Nia Robinson from winning the conference championship in the long jump. Robinson set a new USF and AAC record of 6.69 meters in the event.

The Bulls earned five event championships on day three and broke six program records. One of them was sophomore Michael Bourne III who claimed the conference championship title in the 400m hurdles. Bourne’s running time of 50.86 seconds during the event moved him to fifth on the program’s all-time list. 

Both teams had record-breaking finishes in the championships. The women’s team placed fourth with 78 points, the most in program history. It was also their highest finish since joining the AAC in 2013. 

With 103 points, the men’s team finished fifth place, the most in program history and the highest mark since 2016.

Track and Field will compete at the NCAA East Region Preliminaries meet, which starts on May 24 in Jacksonville.