USF Track and Field Poised for Run at NCAA Championship in Eugene, Ore. starting this weekend.

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Joey Johnston

Athletics Senior Writer

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Tampa, Fla. June 3, 2024 – It’s one lap around the track, a quartet of 100-meter sprints, a team operation that requires a quick and efficient passing of the baton. It’s usually faster than a hiccup and it’s a fan favorite.

It’s the 4×100-meter relay — and the USF Bulls are among the favorites to earn the event’s national title at this week’s NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Oregon.

“We will be tough to beat,” said USF All-American-to-be sprinter Abdul-Rasheed Saminu, also favored to contend in the 100 meters and 200 meters while anchoring the 4×100 relay. “We believe in each other and we all have a relationship like we are brothers.”

USF has generally used Zayquan LincolnJaleel CroalShevioe Reid and Saminu in the lineup, although the brotherhood extends to alternates Nathan MetelusShomari PettigrewJermaine Dyges and JeyQuan Smith, who are always ready if needed.

“It’s a unique situation because we actually have eight guys who can really run and we’ve mixed it up a lot of ways,” Bulls coach Erik Jenkins said. “We’re fortunate to have that kind of depth. The guys have really worked hard all season and they have a lot of results to show for their efforts. Obviously, they really want to put it together in a big way (at the NCAA Championships).”

USF’s 4×100 relay has run the five fastest times in school history this season — 38.44 to win the American Athletic Conference Championships (Lincoln-Croal-Reid-Saminu); 38.64 in an NCAA East Regional heat (Lincoln-Croal-Reid-Saminu); 39.03 at the Florida Relays (Lincoln-Croal-Metelus-Saminu); 39.33 to take third in the Mount SAC Relays (Lincoln-Croal-Reid-Metelus); and 39.34 to win the Penn Relays (Lincoln-Croal-Reid-Saminu).

The 38.44 was the ninth-fastest 4×100 relay time — ever — by a Division I NCAA university team.

“We’re talking about a group that includes LSU, the multiple-time national champion, Florida State, Auburn, Florida, Texas Tech … some really, really stout programs,” Jenkins said. “So that gives you an idea of what our guys are capable of.

“Most of our guys are also competing at a high level in other events and will place high in those events. When you have a group of people like that, running at a high level, you will see the results across the board.”

USF got everyone’s attention by edging Houston at the prestigious Penn Relays, officially stamping the Bulls as a team to beat at the national level.

“That was unreal,” Croal said. “It was good vibes and great energy. I felt like we put everything together there. There was a lot of hype, a lot of noise. People started paying attention to us after that one.”

“Moments like that are why we train so hard,” Lincoln said.

It involves more than pure speed. It’s also about technique, chemistry and precision.

“The 4×100 is a scary race in a way,” Croal said. “It all happens so fast. And if you mess up on the handoff (of the baton), it’s all over. So everything matters.”

Now the Bulls are in position to make history in the 4×100 relay. That potential moment has everyone eager with anticipation.

“I feel like we’ve made big statements all season long,” Lincoln said. “We’re not scared of anybody. We can run with any team. We will be ready. We want to show everyone what South Florida track and field is all about.”

“Winning nationals is one of the goals we set for ourselves,” Croal said. “We got the Penn Relays and we got the conference. We’re definitely after the big prize.”

UP NEXT
Wednesday begins NCAA Championship action, all streamed live on ESPN+. The 4x100m relay men take the stage first at 7:32 p.m. ET as Zayquan LincolnJaleel CroalShevioe Reid, and Abdul-Rasheed Saminu will compete in the semifinal.

At 8:46 p.m. ET Saminu will compete in the 100m dash Semifinal.

At 9:00 p.m. ET Goodness Iredia will be the first Bull with a shot at a national championship as he competes in the long jump Final.

at 9:30 p.m. ET Devontie Archer will compete in the 400m hurdles Semifinal.

At 9:44 p.m. ET, South Florida will be the only school this year to have three competitors in the 200m dash Semifinal, as 18-seed Reid (20.32), 20-seed Saminu (20.36), and 22-seed Croal (20.38) look to finish in the top-12 and move onto the finals.

To close out the first day of NCAA Championship action, Tre’Sean BouieNathan Metelus, Reid, and Archer will compete in the 4x400m relay at 10:48 p.m. ET.

ABOUT USF TRACK AND FIELD
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The USF track and field men’s team won the 2024 Indoor and Outdoor AAC Championship. Romaine Beckford won the 2023 NCAA Indoor and Outdoor Championships in the men’s high jump as a Bull. The team has earned 56 All-America selections and at least one All-American in 10 of the last 12 years, including a record eight athletes claiming 11 honors in 2021. Tampa native Shaniya Benjamin set a program record earning three All-American honors during the 2021 outdoor season, while triple jumper Matthew O’Neal, a 2016 graduate, became USF’s first six-time NCAA All-American. Bulls have posted two NCAA runner-up finishes since 2013 – O’Neal (triple jump, 2016) and Courtney Anderson (high jump, 2013). Head coach Erik Jenkins took over the program in 2020 and in the 2021 outdoor season the Bulls posted seven program records and 40 top 10 all-time program marks. USF hosted the 2018 NCAA Track and Field East Preliminary and the 2021 AAC Outdoor Championship at the USF Track and Field Stadium located on the east end of campus.