The Bowerman Update: Rupp’s Record Book Romp, The Watch List in Action and NBIGP & Millrose Entries

January 31, 2014   

NEW ORLEANS – Between former The Bowerman winner Galen Rupp‘s march through the history books and a bevy of former The Bowerman winners and finalists – along with current Watch-Listers – being announced for major upcoming meets, it has been a big news week for collegiate track & field’s highest individual honor.

MORE INFO: Former winners at New Balance Indoor GP | Watch-Listers Join Millrose Games
This Weekend’s Watch List Action

Last weekend  2009 men’s winner Rupp took down the indoor American record for two miles at Boston University’s Terrier Invitational in 8:07.41, breaking Bernard Lagat’s former mark of 8:09.49 from a year ago. The two-mile record came just over a week after he set the indoor American 5000 meters record of 13:01.26 on the very same track.

Rupp was on world-record pace through much of the race, putting up a serious challenge to Kenenisa Bekele’s 8:04.35 from 2008. He ultimately finished as the No. 6 performer on the all-time world indoor two-mile performance list.

His two-mile record is the 21st national record set by former winners of and finalists for The Bowerman in the Trophy’s short five-year history.

You can watch his race, which was broadcast online live on Flotrack Pro, in its entirety below.

Watch more videos on Flotrack

Speaking of world records, Rupp’s coach Alberto Salazar of the Nike Oregon Project told the Oregonian’s Ken Goe earlier this week that Rupp will make a run at the indoor mile world record – 3:48.45 by Hicham El Guerrouj in 1997 – in two weekends’ time on February 15 at the Boston University Scarlet & White Invitational.

Rupp’s current personal-best of 3:50.92 over the mile distance indoors was set last year on Boston University’s track.

He had originally intended to go after the American indoor of 3:49.89, held again by Lagat, at next weekend’s Boston University Valentine Invitational.

Live streaming will be available for a fee through Flotrack Pro.

Should he break the world record, he would become the second world-record-holding men’s winner of The Bowerman Trophy, joining former Oregon teammate and 2010 winner Ashton Eaton (decathlon, indoor heptathlon).

The Bowerman at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix

Inaugural 2009 women’s The Bowerman Trophy winner Jenny (Barringer) Simpson and 2010 men’s finalist Ryan Whiting had been previously announced as competitors in the two-mile and shot put, respectively, at February 8’s New Balance Indoor Grand Prix at the Reggie Lewis Track Center in Boston, but an announcement this week added several more fellow The Bowerman alumni to the meet’s schedule.

Two more former winners of The Bowerman Trophy in 2010 men’s winner Ashton Eaton – the world record holder in the decathlon and indoor heptathlon, both events in which he is the reigning world champion – and 2012 men’s winner Cam Levins were added to the meet’s entry list earlier this week, as was 2012 women’s finalist Brianne Theisen-Eaton.

Ashton Eaton will compete in the 60-meter dash, while wife Brianne will long jump and pace the 1000 meters race.

Levins, a newly minted Canadian record-holder at 5000 meters in that same race as Rupp, will take on an impressive field at 3000 meters. Olympics silver medalist at 5000 meters Dejen Gebremeskel of Ethiopia and world junior 3000 meters record-holder Hagos Gebrhiwet will be his top challengers as he chases the win and the Canadian record of 7:40.17 set in 2007 by Kevin Sullivan.

Simpson could also be chasing a national record at the two-mile distance: the American record of 9:23.38 by Regina Jacobs in 2002 on the very same track.

Current Watch-Listers at the Millrose Games

The Millrose Games organizers announced this week the fields for the iconic Wanamaker Mile, and both the men’s and women’s races feature current members of The Bowerman Watch List.

Lawi Lalang of Arizona – a 2013 finalist for The Bowerman – will return to The Armory in New York City for the second consecutive season to contest the Wanamaker Mile. His 3:54.56 in last season’s race was the third-fastest ever by a collegian, though he lost out to collegiate record-holder Chris O’Hare.

Both Lalang – who has stated an intention to break the collegiate mile record this season – and O’Hare are back, along with a stacked field of professionals including Matthew Centrowitz, Nick Willis and American outdoor mile record-holder Alan Webb in his final track race.

The women’s race will feature Florida’s Cory McGee against teen phenoms Mary Cain and Alexa Efraimson, Morgan Uceny and 2013 indoor mile NCAA champion Emma Coburn.

Previously announced The Bowerman alumni competing at Millrose include 2010 men’s winner Ashton Eaton, 2012 men’s winner Cam Levins, 2009 men’s finalist German Fernandez and 2012 women’s finalist Brianne Theisen-Eaton.

This Weekend’s Watch List Action

This is the final weekend of action before the February editions of the men’s and women’s Watch Lists for The Bowerman are unveiled next Wednesday and Thursday, respectively, and a handful of current Watch-Listers will be competing this weekend to secure those spots against heavy opposition.

Six of the top 10 men on the Preseason Watch List and four of the top 10 women – along with a pair of men and five women also receiving votes – are slated to compete around the country with a majority of the action taking place at the Division I National Meet of the Week: the Arkansas Razorback Team Invitational.

Arkansas Razorbacks Team Invitational

Seven total men from the Watch List and one woman Watch-Lister will compete in Fayetteville, including the weekend’s only head-to-head match-up between members of the Watch List.

Quarter-mile specialists Deon Lendore of Texas A&M and Arman Hall of Florida are No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, in the nation right now, and the duo will square off at approximately 2 p.m. ET/1 CT.

This will be the second consecutive head-to-head The Bowerman showdown for Hall, who defeated Oregon’s Mike Berry (also receiving votes) at last week’s Kentucky Rod McCravy Memorial Invitational.

Making her debut at 400 meters will be Texas A&M Kamaria Brown.

A pair of current members of the Watch List will face considerable resistance from opponents who could potentially replace them on the Watch List in their signature events.

Wayne Davis II of Texas A&M will likely square off with Florida’s Eddie Lovett – a member of the Watch List in 2013 — in the 60-meter hurdles in Saturday’s final at 3:30 p.m. ET/2:30 CT. Davis was the outdoor 110-meter hurdles champion in 2013 to Lovett’s runner-up finish, while indoors Lovett was the 60 hurdles winner to Davis’ runner-up showing.

Davis is currently No. 6 in the nation, while Lovett is No. 3 coming off a win over top-ranked Demoye Bogle.

Texas’ multi-event athlete Johannes Hock will also contest the 60-meter hurdles in the opposite prelim of Davis and could force another head-to-head The Bowerman match-up.

Florida State’s Dentarius Locke (also receiving votes) was the preseason No. 1 at 60 meters and is currently No. 3 on the qualifying list, but he will have to face current No. 1 Prezel Hardy, Jr., of Texas A&M, who is also the collegiate leader at 200 meters. Both Locke and Hall will square off with Hardy over that distance.

Defending indoor long jump champion Marquis Dendy of Florida will make his season debut in his signature event, as well as the triple jump. He was the preseason No. 1 in both events, and will face preseason No. 2 Raymond Higgs of Arkansas in the LJ and current collegiate leader Jonathan Reid of Florida State in the TJ.

Two-time reigning indoor pole vault champion Andrew Irwin will look to jump-start his 2014 campaign at home after not clearing 17 feet in either of his first two competitions.

Washington Invitational

Lawi Lalang of Arizona – a 2013 The Bowerman men’s finalist – made a statement at the Arkansas Razorback Team Invitational last season with third third-fastest 3000 meters race in collegiate history, and this year he will look to top his mark in the same event at the Washington Invitational on Saturday.

Boise State’s Emma Bates (also receiving votes) will contest the women’s 3000 meters in Seattle on Saturday after racing at 5000 meters Friday.

Elsewhere Around the Nation

Fresh off the third-fastest indoor mile in collegiate history and the seventh-fastest in American history, Dartmouth’s Abbey D’Agostino will be part of a team effort at the Penn State National Friday evening to post a strong qualifying time for the Big Green’s distance medley relay squad.

Two-time defending outdoor 400 meters champion Ashley Spencer of Texas will make her 2014 indoor debut at her signature event at Iowa State on Saturday.

Defending outdoor pole vault champion Beth (Buell) Firsick of South Dakota (also receiving votes) will contest the pole vault. She is currently ranked No. 6 on the national qualifying list.

Meanwhile in the Midwest, 2013 indoor pole vault national champ Natalia Bartnovskaya of Kansas (also receiving votes) will compete at the Wichita State Varsity Apartments Invitational on Friday evening.

Texas Tech’s Cierra White (also receiving votes) will compete at 200 meters at her home Masked Rider Invitational.

Rounding out the Watch List action is San Diego State’s defending outdoor triple jump champion Shanieka Thomas making her 2014 debut at Houston’s Howie Ryan Invitational.