The Dons of track and field are ranked No. 21 in national standings, having climbed up from No. 27 at the beginning of the season. USF’s track and field program has never seen a higher national ranking, and it would be a surprising turn of events if one hadn’t known about the incredible student athletes who are part of the team. While the sport may appear to be a largely individual endeavor with athletes competing in a diverse range of events throughout competitions, each player is a cog in the machine of their team, and each has contributed to the history-making success of the track and field program as a whole.
Senior distance runner Marie Bouchard has been highlighted on the team this season as a result of her ability to best records all around. At the Hornet Invitational in Sacramento, Calif., Bouchard was joined by three other Dons in the Top 10 of the 1,500m race, including Magdalena Dias, Frederique Latraverse and Josephine Brysting. Bouchard set a personal best time of 4:19.28 in the event, and each of these ladies’ performances has helped to push the Dons further up the national rankings.
Not only has Bouchard set personal records – she has broken a whopping three USF track and field records this season thus far. The most recent USF record that Bouchard has decidedly shattered was set at the Stanford Invitational in the 3,000m steeplechase. With a time of 9:47.03, Bouchard’s performance was not only a USF record – she has set the fifth-fastest time internationally. You heard it right: a Don currently holds the fifth-fastest women’s 3,000m steeplechase time in the world.
While their record is surely something to be marveled at, the women’s accomplishments on the field (and track, for that matter) certainly do not negate the successes of the men’s team. Junior Jack Rowe and senior Alex Howard both nearly broke USF records at the Stanford Invitational, with Rowe setting the third-best 10,000m time for the Dons, and Howard placing himself with the second-best 3,000m steeplechase time for USF.
The Dons have undoubtedly been busy putting in physical work – however, it is important to note that they have also been putting in academic work. Of the women’s team, seven athletes on the women’s team were honored by the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) All-Academic Team. These exceptional student athletes include Asaundra Dalton, who has maintained a 4.0 GPA throughout the season. Also included in receiving MPSF academic honors is Bouchard, who has proven herself to be skilled in all aspects of being a student athlete.
The next opportunity the Dons will have to ascend higher in the national rankings and further their history-breaking year will be on April 14, when the Dons will head down to Los Angeles for the Rafer Johnson/Jackie Joyner Kersee Invitational.