By TOM ZEBOLD
USF Senior Writer
USF throws coach Toby Colyer knew senior Jared Thomas was ready for something big leading up to Wednesday's competition at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Championship.
Colyer's thoughts came to fruition when Thomas finished fifth in the nation in the discus with a throw of 194' 5" at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa. It proved to be the Pensacola native's second-best throw in his career as a Bull and far surpassed his 12th place finish in last year's event with a mark of 177' 4" at Drake Stadium.
"It was a huge improvement, much more like Jared," Colyer said. "He finished on a strong note. This is a pretty solid mark."
Thomas was throwing in the mid-190s during warm-ups on Wednesday but had to deal with a little adversity in the early rounds of competition. The All-American threw 187' 6" in the first round and hit 176' 3" on his second toss.
"He wasn't going to make the finals off the first throws," Colyer said. "I kind of told him you have to get it going. Fix this one thing and bam."
Thomas' third throw was the 194' 5" mark and it's second only to his school-record toss of 201' at Louisville on May 11.
"I was very impressed with how he competed," Colyer said.
Thomas had a nice finish to his career as a Bull, but his work is far from done this year on the track. He'll be competing at the Olympic trials later in June and has been invited to the U.S. U-23 national meet.
Also competing on the first day of the national championships were Neaman Wise and David Aristil. Aristil clocked a 49.83 in the 400m hurdles to finish fourth and advance to the finals. The two-time All-American will run at 6:45 p.m. EST on Friday, June 8.
Wise posted a long jump of 23-9.5 (7.25m) for 19th place overall.