BY KELSIE EBERLY
TAMPA- The USF track and field team will kick off the home half of their 2012 outdoor season Thursday and Friday with the Bulls Invitational.
The meet, which will feature over hundreds of athletes from 25 schools around the country, is the largest home meet the Bulls have ever hosted.
Coming off a strong performance at the Big East Indoor Championships, the Bulls are looking to continue their success in an area they feel most comfortable in.
"Our team is more confident when it comes to outdoor, because that is what they are used to in the state of Florida," said head coach Warren Bye. "It's great that we get to open up at home in front of family, friends, and the community."
The Bulls' goal of improving their finish at Big East this season after the men finished fourth and the women eighth last year, will start with hitting qualifying times and marks, as well as shooting for personal-best performances during these early meets.
USF got off to a good start in their first meet of the outdoor season, the UNF Invitational March 2-3, with 30 qualifiers for the Big East Championships that the Bulls will host May 4-6.
"I think we naturally will build off the UNF meet," said Bye. "I think it has a lot to do with being home. Our team is mentally fresh and ready to go.
In addition to the Big East qualifiers in Jacksonville, USF posted four event winners along with 13 top-three finishes.
The Bulls will be looking to add more qualifiers and top performances to their resume on Friday, but they will have to do so against some stiff competition.
Not only will the team go up against tough in-state competition such as Florida State, but USF will also go head-to-head with fellow conference members Louisville, Rutgers, and Marquette.
"Our guys had a really good week of training," said Bye. "It will be good weather, good atmosphere, and good competition. I am excited to watch and see what they can do."
The competition, which is free to the public, kicks off Thursday with the men's and women's hammer event at 3 p.m. The majority of the meet will take place on Friday with the field events starting at 9:30 a.m. and the running events at 2:30 p.m.