Preseason Women’s Watch List for The Bowerman Unveiled

January 9, 2014   

NEW ORLEANS – A set of newcomers comprise a majority of the Women’s Preseason Watch List for The Bowerman Trophy — collegiate track & field’s highest individual honor — which was announced Thursday.

PHOTO GALLERY: Women’s Watch List (via Image of Sport)

Of the ten collegiate women who have been singled out as early top contenders for college track & field’s equivalent of the Heisman Trophy in college football, only two return as semifinalists from a year ago and just three have ever appeared on a Watch List. The Men’s Preseason Watch List was announced Wednesday.

With 2013 women’s winner Brianna Rollins of Clemson and finalists Kori Carter of Stanford and Brigetta Barrett of Arizona having exhausted their eligibility and/or turned professional, two-time semifinalist Ashley Spencer — the sprinter now of Texas after transferring from Illinois — and 2013 semifinalist Dartmouth distance runner Abbey D’Agostino are the most senior members of the Preseason Watch List.

D’Agostino is the active leader among women with six total Watch List appearances, while Spencer — the lone active two-time semifinalist, male or female — has appeared five times, including on last year’s Preseason Watch List.

Arizona State thrower Anna Jelmini is the lone remaining selection to have appeared on a Watch List, while San Diego State jumper Shanieka Thomas is on the list for the first time after having previously received votes but not made the top 10.

Thomas is the first Mountain West student-athlete, male or female, to have been included on the Watch List in the award’s history.

The remainder of the list is comprised of newcomers to the Watch List: Texas A&M sprinter Kamaria Brown; Oregon sprinter Phyllis Francis; Colorado distance runner Shalaya Kipp; Florida mid-distance runner Cory McGee; Oregon mid-distance runner Laura Roesler and Kansas combined-event athlete Lindsay Vollmer.

 

The Bowerman Women’s Watch List – Preseason 2014

(Click student-athletes’ names for TFRRS.org profiles)

NAME YEAR SCHOOL EVENTS HOMETOWN
Kamaria Brown JR Texas A&M Sprints Baton Rouge, La.
Abbey D’Agostino SR Dartmouth Distance Topsfield, Mass.
Phyllis Francis SR Oregon Sprints Queens, N.Y.
Anna Jelmini RS SR Arizona State Throws Bakersfield, Calif.
Shalaya Kipp SR Colorado Distance Salt Lake City, Utah
Cory McGee SR Florida Mid-Distance Pass Christian, Miss.
Laura Roesler SR Oregon Mid-Distance Fargo, N.D.
Ashley Spencer JR Texas Sprints Indianapolis, Ind.
Shanieka Thomas SR San Diego State Sprints/Jumps Clarendon, Jamaica
Lindsay Vollmer JR Kansas Combined Events Hamilton, Mo.
Also Receiving Votes (Alphabetically by last name): Natalia Bartnovskaya (Kansas); Emma Bates (Boise State); Dezerea Bryant (Kentucky); Bethany Firsick (Buell) (South Dakota); Morgann Leleux (Georgia); Natalja Piliusina (Oklahoma State); Colleen Quigley (Florida State); Cierra White (Texas Tech)

 

The Watch List is determined by the Women’s Watch List Committee, which is made up of four individuals. Each of the four submit a rank-ordered top 10 list (vote totals will not be disclosed) and the 10 student-athletes who garner the most vote-points are included on the Watch List. Student-athletes who received votes but did not make the top 10 are also listed.

With the inclusion of Brown and McGee, the SEC is the first women’s conference to surpass 100 total watch list appearances with 101. The SEC also has surpassed the mark on the men’s side with 107 total appearances.

 The Pac-12 improves to 88 total appearances with Roesler, Francis, Kipp and Jelmini, and the Big 12 raised its total to 40 with Vollmer and Spencer.

Roesler and Francis also give Oregon 46 total all-time appearances on the Women’s Watch List as a program between seven different women — both of which are all-time bests.

Second on the list in both categories is Texas A&M, which now boasts 27 total appearances between six different student-athletes.

If last year is any indication, the Preseason Watch List is the place to be for the women: six of the 10 eventual semifinalists in 2013 were present on the very first Watch List of the year, while a seventh received votes outside the top 10.

However, only Barrett emerged from that group as a Finalist, and eventual winner Rollins joined the list in the second edition.

Spencer is looking to make some history of her own with the potential to become just the fourth three-time semifinalist in the history of the women’s award. She would join 2012 Finalist Brianne Theisen of Oregon (2010-12), 2012 winner and two-time Finalist Kimberlyn Duncan (2011-13) and two-time Finalist Barrett (2011-13).

The first regular-season edition of the Women’s Watch List for The Bowerman will be released Thursday, February 6.

 

Preseason Women’s Watch List Biographies

Junior
Sprints

Baton Rouge, La.
Magnet HS

Kamaria Brown, Texas A&M

The Bowerman Notes: Brown joins the Watch List for the first time in her career. She is the sixth different Texas A&M woman to appear on the Watch List and hers is the 27th total appearance by an Aggie on the women’s Watch List — both second all-time behind Oregon’s women (seven student-athletes for 46 total appearances)

Last Season: Just a sophomore in 2013, Brown finished runner-up at 200 meters during the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships and was fourth over the same distance at the NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships. With a time of 22.21w (+3.5m/s) at the Outdoor Championships, she was second to only six-time NCAA 200 meter champion and 2012 The Bowerman winner Kimberlyn Duncan of LSU.

Between the indoor and outdoor seasons, she won five of her 10 finals at 200 meters, in addition to runner-up finishes at NCAAs and the SEC Outdoor Championships. Her 22.58 (+1.3m/s) at the SEC Outdoor Championships made her the fourth-fastest wind-legal collegian of the 2013 season.

As a member of the Aggies’ relay teams, she claimed a national 4×100 relay title outdoors and finished as the national runner-up in the outdoor 4×400 relay.

At 400 meters, she earned SEC runner-up honors both indoors and outdoors.

 

Senior
Distance

Topsfield, Mass.
Masconomet Regional HS

Abbey D’Agostino, Dartmouth

The Bowerman Notes: D’Agostino, a returning The Bowerman semifinalist from the 2013 season, makes her sixth appearance on the Watch List — the most among active female student-athletes. She accounts for all six appearances by Dartmouth women and Ivy League women.

This Season: Fresh off an NCAA Division I Individual Cross Country title, D’Agostino won the 5000 meters race at the Jay Carisella Invitational by 88 seconds in 15:40.55, just over three seconds shy of the all-time indoor collegiate top 10 performances list.

Last Season: D’Agostino claimed NCAA Division I individual titles on the track in each of her three NCAA Championships races in 2013. Not only was she the first American woman to win both the 3000 and 5000 meters titles at the NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships in a single year, she was also the first to win both titles over the span of a career.

She crossed the line in 15:28.11 to win her indoor 5000 meters national title, giving her the fifth-fastest indoor time in collegiate history (non-oversized), and she claimed the 3000 title in 9:01.08, the fastest non-oversized track time of the year. She also was the second collegian across the line in the Millrose Games mile, where she ran a 4:30.03 for the eighth-fastest non-oversized time in collegiate indoor history.

Outdoors, she successfully defended her 5000 meters title at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships with a strong last-lap kick to finish in 15:43.68. Earlier in the season, she won the 5000 meters race at the Mt. SAC Relays in 15:11.35 to claim the third spot on the all-time outdoor collegiate top-10 list.

Overall, she was the winner or top collegian in 11 of her 12 races in 2013, including Ivy League titles in the mile and 5000 indoors and the 1500 and 3000 outdoors.

Senior
Sprints

Queens, N.Y.
Catherine McAuley HS

Phyllis Francis, Oregon

The Bowerman Notes: Francis makes her first career appearance on the Watch List. She and teammate Laura Roesler are the sixth and seventh Oregon women to appear on a Watch List, propelling the Ducks to the top of the all-time list ahead of Texas A&M (six). The Ducks’ 46 total appearances on the women’s Watch List is also the most in the award’s history, ahead of Texas A&M’s 27.

Last Season: Francis finished third over 400 meters at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships and fourth in the same race at the NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships. In Eugene, Ore., at the Outdoor Championships, she recorded a personal-best 50.86 — the third fastest time of the outdoor collegiate season — to finish third behind two-time outdoor champion Ashley Spencer and 2013 indoor champion Shaunae Miller. She also ran legs of the Ducks’ fourth-place 4×400 and 4×100 relay teams.

Indoors, she took fourth in the 400 at the NCAA Indoor Championships in 52.01, but it was her performance as part of Oregon’s 4×400 relay team that made perhaps the biggest impact. Running from the first of three heats apart from the top-seeded teams, the Ducks ran a 3:30.22 to claim the event title and clinch their fourth consecutive national team title.

At the conference level, she claimed the Pac-12 Outdoor 400 meters title in 51.57 and finished runner-up at 200 meters in 22.77 (+1.1m/s). She also won the MPSF Indoor title at 400 meters in 52.03.

Senior
Throws

Bakersfield, Calif.
Shafter HS

Anna Jelmini, Arizona State

The Bowerman Notes: This marks the third appearance on the Watch List for Jelmini, who is the only woman from Arizona State who has made the list since the award’s inception.

Last Season: Jelmini was perfect against collegiate competition in the discus during the 2013 outdoor season, culminating with an NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field title with a winning mark of 190-1 (57.95m) and three of the meet’s best four measurements. She bested 2013 Canadian National Champion Julie Labonte of Arizona by about five-and-a-half feet to cap a streak of seven consecutive finals in which she was the top collegian.

She was one of just two women in Division I who surpassed the 190-feet mark during the 2013 collegiate season, a feat she accomplished 13 times. The other, Shelbi Vaughan of Texas A&M, broke that barrier just once. Jelmini’s farthest effort came at the Mesa Classic, where she uncorked a throw of 198-10 (60.61m) and another pair farther than 194 feet.

She claimed the Pac-12 discus title with a mark of 191-11 (58.5m), again over Labonte, and finished third in the shot put.

In the shot put, she finished fifth at the NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships and 11th at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. Her throw of 56-11¼ (17.35m) at the NAU Tune Up was the sixth-best throw of the 2013 collegiate indoor season.

Senior
Distance

Salt Lake City, Utah
Skyline HS

Shalaya Kipp, Colorado

The Bowerman Notes: This marks the first Watch List appearance for Kipp, who is the second woman from Colorado to be included on the list all-time. Combined with 2013 semifinalist Emma Coburn, the Buffaloes have nine total appearances on the Women’s Watch List.

Previous Season (2012): When last Kipp competed in a Colorado uniform on the track in 2012 — before a redshirted 2013 campaign — she claimed the 3000 meter steeplechase title at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships. In a tight race all the way to the line with Florida’s Genevieve LaCaze, she emerged victorious by little more than a second down the stretch in 9:49.02.

The national title headlined a junior campaign that saw her go undefeated in five total steeplechase races at 3000 meters, including a Pac-12 title and a Payton Jordan Invitational win in 9:43.1 — making her the 10th-fastest performer in collegiate history. She was the only collegian in 2012 to break the 9:50 barrier, which she accomplished twice.

After running a personal-best 9:35.73 at the US Olympic Trials to finish third, she went on to represent the United States in the steeplechase at the 2012 Olympics in London. She was back on the international stage in the summer of 2013 during her redshirted year, this time at the 2013 IAAF World Championships.

Senior
Middle Distance

Pass Christian, Miss.
Pass Christian HS

Cory McGee, Florida

The Bowerman Notes: McGee makes her first appearance on the Watch List, and is the third Florida woman to have been included all-time. The Gators’ 11 combined women’s Watch List appearances is tied for the eighth-most in the award’s history, tied with in-state rival UCF and Iowa State.

Last Season: McGee was the national runner-up over 1500 meters at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships in 4:13.94, less than a three-quarters of a second behind winner  Natalja Piliusina of Oklahoma State. She led the tactical race on the final straightaway, but was overcome by a hard-charging Piliusina just before the line.

A middle-distance specialist, McGee claimed an SEC individual titles in the indoor mile, finished runner-up in the outdoor 1500 meters, and was the top collegian — second overall — in the indoor mile at the UW Husky Classic in 4:32.10. Addtionaly, she was the second-best collegian in the Payton Jordan Invitational 1500 meters, crossing the finish in 4:10.55 in sixth overall.

Her breakthrough in 2013 came after the collegiate season at the USA Outdoor Championships and beyond. She finished third over 1500 meters at the USA Championships to earn a spot on Team USA at the 2013 IAAF World Championships, and clinched the spot later with a World Championships "B" Standard and personal-best 4:06.67. She did not advance to the final in Moscow.

Senior
Middle Distance

Fargo,  N.D.
Fargo South HS

Laura Roesler, Oregon

The Bowerman Notes: Roesler is making her first appearance on the Watch List, and is the seventh different woman from Oregon to be included on the Watch List. She and teammate Phyllis Francis are the sixth and seventh Oregon women to appear on a Watch List, propelling the Ducks to the top of the all-time list ahead of Texas A&M (six). The Ducks’ 46 total appearances on the women’s Watch List is also the most in the award’s history, ahead of Texas A&M’s 27.

Last Season: Roesler is the top returning collegiate woman at 800 meters in 2014, having finished runner-up nationally at both the NCAA Division I Indoor and Outdoor Track & Field championships.  In finishing second to champion Natoya Goule — who is redshirting in 2014 after transferring from LSU to Clemson — at the Outdoor Championships, Roesler clocked a finishing time of 2:00.98, making her one of just two women all collegiate season to dip below 2:01. With that finish, she narrowly missed joining the all-time collegiate top-10 performers list by less than two-tenths of a second.

She also finished runner-up at the NCAA Indoor Championships in 2:02.32, fast enough to merit the No. 8 spot on the all-time collegiate indoor performers list. She was also a member of the 4×400 relay team that won the event title from the first heat to clinch the Ducks’ fourth consecutive national team title. Their time of 3:30.22 made the Ducks the seventh-fastest program in collegiate  history.

Overall, her season included five wins in seven finals, including a win in 2:01.75 at the Mt. SAC Relays as the only collegian among a field of professionals. Following the collegiate season, she finished fifth at the USA Outdoor Championships in a personal-best 2:00.23 after running a 2:00.54q to qualify for the final.

Junior
Sprints

Indianapolis, Ind.
Lawrence North HS
Illinois

Ashley Spencer, Texas

The Bowerman Notes: Spencer — the only returning two-time The Bowerman semifinalist, male or female — is a member of the Preseason Watch List for the second consecutive year. This marks her fifth total Watch List appearance, and hers is the first appearance by a female student-athlete from Texas on the Watch List.

As a semifinalist for The Bowerman in both 2012 and 2013, she will look to become just the fourth woman to become a three-time semifinalist along with Oregon’s Brianne Theisen (2010-2012), 2012 winner Kimberlyn Duncan of LSU (2011-2013), and Arizona’s Brigetta Barrett (2011-2013). Each had at least one appearance as a Finalist, which Spencer has not yet achieved.

Last Season (at Illinois): Before transferring to Texas following the 2013 season to follow coach Tonja Buford-Bailey to Austin, Spencer established herself as a back-to-back 400 meters outdoor national champion at Illinois. Her 2013 title was particularly incendiary, as she completed her lap around the track in 50.28 to win by nearly half a second with the fifth-fastest time in collegiate history. She was just the fourth woman in collegiate history to run faster than 50.3.

She was one of just three women to dip below 51 seconds during the 2013 outdoor collegiate season, and was the only one to do it twice with her NCAA Championships performance and a 50.88 at the NCAA West Prelims.

Indoors, she finished third at the NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships, but her time of 51.27 made her the 10th-fastest performer in indoor collegiate history. She added Big Ten titles over 400 meters both indoors and outdoors to round out a season that included four wins in five finals in her signature event.

As a member of Illinois’ 4×400 relay teams, she earned a fifth-place NCAA Outdoor Championships performance and a pair of Big Ten titles.

Internationally, she finished third at the USA Outdoor Championships in 50.58 to advance to the 2013 IAAF World Championships, where she was a member of the silver-medal winning 4×400 relay team. And a 400 meters semifinalist.

Senior
Horizontal Jumps

Clarendon, Jamaica
Vere Technical

Shanieka Thomas, San Diego State

The Bowerman Notes: Thomas makes her first appearance on the Watch List, which also serves as the first for San Diego State and the first for the Mountain West Conference for either men or women.

Last Season: Thomas is the nation’s top returning triple jumper, back for a senior season as the defending champion outdoors and the national runner-up indoors. Her outdoor campaign in 2014 was particularly prolific, capped with a national title at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships with a leap of 46-5¼ (14.14m) over 2013 indoor NCAA Champion and eventual USA Outdoor Champion Andrea Geubelle of Kansas. The mark is the seventh-best in collegiate history.

She leapt even farter earlier in the season, recording a measurement of 46-5¼ (14.15m) at the Mountain West Outdoor Championships to give her the fifth-best jump in outdoor collegiate history. She is the only woman in collegiate history to record two wind-legal marks of 46 feet or farther at separate meets.

She finished her season with just one loss to a collegian in nine finals, that coming in a runner-up finish to Geubelle at the NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships with a mark of 45-4¼ (13.82m). Earlier in the season she recorded a mark of 46-2½A (14.08m) — giving her the eighth-best mark in indoor collegiate history — at altitude in winning the Don Kirby Elite.

She won Mountain West titles in the triple jump both indoors and outdoors, and added a long jump title outdoors. Internationally, she finished sixth in the triple jump at the 2013 World University Games, and third at the Jamaican Championships.

Junior
Combined Events

Hamilton, Mo.
Penney HS

Lindsay Vollmer, Kansas

The Bowerman Notes: Vollmer is included on the Watch List for the first time in her career, becoming the third Jayhawk to appear on the list for a program total of nine appearances.

Last Season: In a prime example of peaking at exactly the right time, Vollmer set personal bests in six of the seven components in the heptathlon at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships en route to a winning score of 6086 for the program’s first-ever individual women’s national championship. The sophomore scored well enough to earn her the 10th spot on the all-time collegiate heptathlon performers list.

In clinching the title, she ran a four-second personal best in the 800 meter finale for a 2:19.36. She won the javelin component, and finished third in both the long jump and high jump sections.

In order to claim the title, she had to hold off the highest-scoring heptathlon field in meet history, as Arkansas’ Makeba Alcide was the first national runner-up in meet history to score more than 6000 points, and each of the finishers between second and ninth scored all-time meet-bests for their respective finishing positions.  

She won the Big 12 heptathlon with a score of 5644, and won the indoor pentathlon league title with a score of 4123. She finished ninth in the indoor pentathlon at the NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships.

 

ABOUT THE BOWERMAN

The Bowerman, which debuted in 2009, is presented annually by the USTFCCCA to the most outstanding male and female collegiate track & field athletes in the nation.

Indiana’s Derek Drouin and Clemson’s Brianna Rollins are the reigning winners of The Bowerman, which is named for legendary Oregon track & field and cross country coach Bill Bowerman. In addition to their collegiate achievements, Rollins is the reigning World Champion in the 100 meter hurdles — an event for which she also holds the American Record — while Drouin has won bronze medals at both the 2012 Olympics and 2013 IAAF World Championships.

Past winners include Olympic gold medalist, World Champion and decathlon world-record holder Ashton Eaton (2010), 10,000-meter Olympic silver medalist Galen Rupp (2009), and 2011 IAAF World Champion at 1500 meters, Jenny Simpson (2009).

In total, the winners from the award’s first four years have won three Olympic Medals, three World Championships and eight World Championships medals. When considering finalists for the award, 13 individuals have earned a combined six Olympic medals, four World Championships and 17 World Championships medals.

Bowerman served the sport of track and field in numerous ways. His leadership in the USTFCCCA’s predecessor organization, the National Collegiate Track Coaches Association, and his contributions to NCAA track and field and the running community as a whole are among his many lasting legacies.

For more information on The Bowerman, the award, the trophy and Bill Bowerman himself, visit TheBowerman.org.

 

ABOUT THE USTFCCCA

The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) is a non-profit professional organization representing cross country and track & field coaches of all levels. The organization represents over 8,000 coaching members encompassing 94% of all NCAA track & field programs (DI, DII, and DIII) and includes members representing the NAIA as well as a number of state high school coaches associations. The USTFCCCA serves as an advocate for cross country and track & field coaches, providing a leadership structure to assist the needs of a diverse membership, serving as a lobbyist for coaches’ interests, and working as a liaison between the various stakeholders in the sports of cross country and track & field.