By TOM ZEBOLD
USF Senior Writer
TAMPA - The green and gold will be representing the red, white and blue on the track next month in world competition.
USF's Lissa Olson will step into an assistant coaching role for the USA U-23 team while Jared Thomas, the Bulls' throws specialist, will be competing for the squad at the NACAC U-23 Championships July 6-9 in Guanajuato, Mexico.
"It's a fun experience any time you can coach athletes that are this talented. They're the best of the best and it makes it really rewarding," Olson said.
This marks the third time that Olson has been selected to coach a USA team and she'll be overseeing the jump events this time around. The fifth-year Bull served as the under-23 squad's head coach for the same NACAC event in 2002 and was the head coach for the USA Pan-Am Junior Team in 2003.
"It's definitely an honor any time you represent the United States," she said. "When you're nominated by your peers it also makes you feel good that you're respected. It's a fun experience."
Thomas recently capped off his senior season with one of the best performances in the country in the discus at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Championship. The Pensacola native earned first-team All-American status earlier this month with a fifth place finish that was seven places ahead of what he accomplished last season at NCAA outdoors. The Pensacola native's throw of 194-5 (59.25m) earned him the honor after he broke a school record with a throw of 201-0 (61.26m) during the regular season.
"Any time that you're representing your country and it's on the line for a medal, it's an invaluable experience for the future for him," Olson said.