Making Noise in Moscow: The Bowerman at the World Championships

NEW ORLEANS – The Bowerman may be the top individual honor in collegiate track & field, but the past week in Moscow, Russia, at the 2013 IAAF World Championships proved that many of the award’s winners and finalists — both current and past — are among not only the NCAA’s elite but also the world’s.

A pair of individual gold medals from decathlete Ashton Eaton — the 2010 men’s The Bowerman winner — and hurdler Brianna Rollins — a women’s finalist for the 2013 edition — headlined a combined 12 medals between 17 former winners and finalists who competed at the World Championships.

In addition to the individual golds from Eaton and Rollins, 2012 men’s finalist Tony McQuay earned a world championship as a member of the 4×400 relay. The three gold medals were accompanied by seven silver medal performances and two bronze-medal showings, along with two other fourth-place finishes just off the podium.

Full Results | IAAF Homepage

An INFOGRAPHIC Representation of The Bowerman’s Performances at World Championships

For the second consecutive year Eaton is unofficially the "Greatest Athlete in the World" after winning the Olympics decathlon in London a  year ago and the 2013 World Championship earlier this week with a world-leading score of 8809.

Less than three years after hoisting The Bowerman Trophy following his senior year at Oregon in 2010, Eaton now holds the world record of 9039 as one of two men to ever score more than 9000 points; is an Olympics and World Champion; and is the two-time defending American Champion.

Rollins’ ascent to the 100 hurdles World Champion throne came even quicker than Eaton’s rise, as she is a finalist for the 2013 The Bowerman that will not even be awarded until December. The Clemson Tiger overcame a slow start in the finals that saw her cede nearly a tenth of a second to a field featuring Olympic Champ Sally Pearson of Australia and 2010 The Bowerman winner Queen Harrison, only to surge to the win  over the final few hurdles in 12.44 (-0.6m/s) for a final margin of .06 over Pearson.

The world title is the capstone of a season that saw Rollins set collegiate records and win NCAA titles in both the indoor 60 hurdles and outdoor 100 hurdles; win a USA championship in the 100 hurdles; and post a world-leader and American record in 12.26, placing her third in the history of the world.

Not only did McQuay win gold as a member of the 4×400 relay, but he also claimed the silver medal in the open 400 meters race in a personal-best 44.40, edging out 2012 Olympic silver medalist Luguelin Santos (Dominican Republic) by little more than a tenth of a second, and also defeating Olympic Champion Kirani James of Grenada.

Perhaps the top all-around performer representing The Bowerman was 2010 women’s finalist Blessing Okagbare of Nigeria, who won a silver in the long jump, a bronze at 200 meters and finished sixth in the final at 100 meters.  Not only did she finish runner-up in the long jump with a mark of 22-11¼/6.99m, she was just two centimeters from dethroning USA’s Brittany Reese, who has won three outdoor World titles, two indoor World titles and an Olympic gold since 2009.

Okagbare was just as close to silver at 200 meters, where she ended up with bronze in 22.32 (-0.3m/s) after finishing just thousandths of a second behind runner-up Murielle Ahoure of the Ivory Coast. Her sixth place showing at 100 meters came in 11.04 (-0.3m/s).

Canada’s Brianne Theisen Eaton — a 2012 women’s finalist and married to Ashton Eaton — proved herself among the greatest all-around athletes in the world as well, finishing with a silver medal in the women’s heptathlon. With a personal-best score of 6530, she finished just 56 points shy of a gold medal in the two-day competition.

While the silver was Theisen Eaton’s first senior medal, a  pair of The Bowerman representatives already had medals to defend or improve upon. Jenny (Barringer) Simpson of the United States, the 2009 women’s winner of The Bowerman, led most of the way during the women’s 1500 final in trying to defend her World Championship from 2011, but ultimately finished runner-up with the silver medal in 4:02.99 by less than a third of a second to Sweden’s Abeba Aregawi.

Brigetta Barrett of Arizona (USA), a finalist for The Bowerman in both 2012 and the ongoing 2013 competition, took silver a year ago in London, and finished in the same position in Moscow this year. Without a failure through 6-6¾/2.00m she was in control of her own destiny in the competition after Russian rival Anna Chicherova went out at the same height; but Barrett would settle for silver after missing her three attempts at the following height of 6-8/2.03m.

Barrett wasn’t the only high-jumping The Bowerman representative to medal at the World Championships, or even the only 2013 high-jumping The Bowerman finalist to do so for that matter, as Indiana’s Derek Drouin (Canada) won bronze in the men’s competition. The Canadian was untouchable through his first five heights, advancing on without a miss at each, and required just two attempts to set a new personal record and Canadian National Record of 7-9¾/2.38m to secure the bronze medal. Just as in the Olympics a year ago, Bronze is where Drouin would finish as he could not clear 7-10¾/2.41m to continue on.

Ryan Whiting (USA) has been a perennial men’s shot put contender on the World stage since his appearance as a finalist in the 2010 The Bowerman, including an indoor World Championship in 2012, but his runner-up finish in Moscow this week is his best at a major outdoor world competition. Whiting claimed silver with a put of 70-9¼/21.57m, and he owned two of the competition’s top three marks.

Jessica Beard (USA) — the 2011 women’s winner of The Bowerman — rounded out the medal performances with her lead-off leg for the USA 4×400 relay team’s silver-medal effort.

Men’s 2009 The Bowerman winner Galen Rupp and 2011 men’s finalist Christian Taylor finished just off the podium in fourth place in the 10,000 meters and triple jump competitions, respectively. Rupp also took eighth at 5000 meters later in the week.

Queen Harrison (USA), the 2010 women’s winner, finished fifth in the same 100 hurdles final that saw Rollins take gold. With Rollins and Harrison in the field, one-quarter of the 100 hurdles final had ties to The Bowerman.

The men’s 110 hurdles final saw 2012 men’s finalist Andrew Riley of Jamaica finish eighth overall.

UCLA’s Julian Wruck (Australia), a current men’s finalist, took 11th in the discus, while 2012 men’s The Bowerman winner Cam Levins (Canada) was 14th in the 10,000 meters final. Kimberlyn Duncan of LSU, the 2012 women’s winner, finished 13th at 200 meters.

The Bowerman Presentation Archive