Matthew O'Neal set to compete for spot on Olympic team
Matthew O'Neal is hoping to make a little more USF history.
The former Bulls track and field star will compete in the qualifying round at the U.S. Olympic Trials on Thursday in Eugene, Ore -- the same site where he placed third in the men's triple jump at the NCAA Championships last month.
O'Neal, a six-time All-American who graduated in the spring, qualified for the trials this past winter with an indoor program-record jump of 54 feet, 8 inches at the Joe Donahue Games in Boston.
If O'Neal qualifies for the Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, it would be the first Olympic appearance for a former Bull since Damu Cherry placed fourth in the 100-meter hurdles at Beijing in 2008.
O'Neal is one of the 24 top triple-jumpers competing in the qualifying round. If he is among the top 12 to advance, he will participate in Saturday's finals at 7:15 p.m. on Ch. 8. The top three finishers, who also meet the Olympic standard of 16.85 meters, will move on to represent the U.S. on the world stage.
WATCH LISTS: For the second year in a row, Marlon Mack will have a chance to show he's the nation's best player.
On the heels of a record-setting sophomore season, the USF running back was again named to the Maxwell Award preseason watch list on Tuesday, which has been presented to the National College Player of the Year since 1937.
Mack, who led the American Athletic Conference with a program-record 1,381 rushing yards in 2015, joins several big names up for the honor, including Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson and Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey.
Also Tuesday, rising junior cornerback Deatrick Nichols was named to the Bednarik Award watch list. The honor is presented annually to the nation's top defensive player.
Nichols, a Miami native, led the Bulls with four interceptions and was fourth on the team with 62 total tackles during its 8-5 campaign.