The Race for the Women’s The Bowerman Loaded With National Team Race Connections

April 17, 2014   

NEW ORLEANS – The race for the women’s NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field team crown is heating up and crossing over more than ever into the race for collegiate track & field’s highest individual honor: The Bowerman Trophy.

The April edition of the Women’s Watch List for The Bowerman announced Thursday featured four teams – all ranked within the top six in the most recent National Team Computer Rankings – with pairs of student-athletes represented on the Watch List.

Top-ranked Texas A&M, No. 3 Texas, No. 4 Oregon and No. 6 Kentucky are all duking it out in the rankings for positioning in the national team title race, all while some of their top student-athletes battle for consideration for the prestigious The Bowerman Trophy.

The Bowerman Women’s Watch List – April 2014

(Click student-athletes’ names for biographies & Notes)

NAME YEAR SCHOOL EVENTS HOMETOWN
Morolake Akinosun SO Texas Sprints Aurora, Ill.
Kamaria Brown JR Texas A&M Sprints Baton Rouge, La.
Dezerea Bryant JR Kentucky Sprints Milwaukee, Wis.
Abbey D’Agostino SR Dartmouth Distance Topsfield, Mass.
Phyllis Francis SR Oregon Mid-Distance Queens, N.Y.
Kendra Harrison JR Kentucky Hurdles/Sprints Clayton, N.C.
Kaitlin Petrillose SO Texas Pole Vault Round Rock, Texas
Laura Roesler SR Oregon Mid-Distance Fargo, N.D.
Shelbi Vaughan SO Texas A&M Throws Mansfield, Texas
Kendell Williams FR Georgia Combined Events Marietta, Ga.
 
Also Receiving Votes: Remona Burchell (Alabama); Julia Ratcliffe (Princeton); Shanieka Thomas (San Diego State)
 

 

Top-ranked Texas A&M, represented all season long by junior sprinter Kamaria Brown, added collegiate-leading sophomore discus thrower Shelbi Vaughan to the Watch List. Vaughan has been a dominant force this season with a 199-3 (60.74m) career best and the top seven throws of the collegiate season.

Lone Star State rival Texas added a second sophomore Watch List member of their own as sprinter Morolake Akinosun joined collegiate pole vault leader sophomore Kaitlin Petrillose.

Akinosun ran a wind-aided 11.13 (+2.7 m/s) to win the Texas Relays 100 meters over rival Watch List member Dezerea Bryant of Kentucky. Petrillose, meanwhile, continues to soar in the pole vault after her indoor national title with the top two clearances of the 2014 collegiate outdoor season.

Fresh of their fifth consecutive indoor national team title, No. 4 Oregon’s senior duo of sprinter Phyllis Francis and middle-distance runner Laura Roesler remained on the Watch List. Roesler’s young outdoor season already includes a collegiate-leading 2:01.10 in her signature 800 meters race.

The duo’s appearances increases the Ducks’ nation-best total Women’s Watch List appearances count to 54, well ahead of Texas A&M’s 32. The Watch List debuted in 2010, one year after the debut of The Bowerman itself.

Junior sprinter Dezerea Bryant of Kentucky remained on the Watch List, and was rejoined for the second time this season by junior hurdler Kendra Harrison, who owns the top qualifying spot in the 100-meter hurdles at 12.68w (+2.1m/s) and the No. 2 spot in the 400-meter hurdles at 56.60.

Not to be left out of the national team rankings conversation, No. 5 Georgia was represented by frosh heptathlete Kendell Williams for the second consecutive edition. After crushing the indoor pentathlon U.S. Junior Record twice earlier this season, she already obliterated the U.S. Junior heptathlon in her first collegiate combined event.

Her collegiate-leading 6018 smashed the previous record of 5678 by Ellannee Richardson of Washington State in 1999, and the all-conditions U.S. Junior best of 5754w by UCLA’s Jackie Joyner-Kersee in 1981.

Rounding out the Watch List was active all-time appearances leader senior distance runner Abbey D’Agostino of Dartmouth for the 10th time. Though she has yet to debut outdoors in 2014, she became the 10th woman since the beginning of the Watch List in 2010 to have been included 10 or more times.

Dropping from the Watch List proper into the "also receiving votes" category were Alabama’s Remona Burchell and San Diego State’s Shanieka Thomas. The duo was joined by hammer-throwing sophomore Julia Ratcliffe of Princeton.

The SEC improved its all-time appearances count to 115, but was joined by the Pac-12 in the triple-digits as it hit an even 100. Prior to this edition of the rankings, only the SEC women and men (119) had surpassed the century mark.

Biographies on each of the members of the Watch List can be found here.

 

ABOUT THE BOWERMAN

The Bowerman Trophy, which was first awarded 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, six World Championships (one relay, two indoor) and 11 World Championships medals (two relay, one indoor). When considering finalists for the award, 13 individuals have earned a combined six Olympic medals, eight World Championships (one relay, four indoor) and 23 World Championships medals (three realy, six indoor).

Former winners of and finalists for The Bowerman currently hold 21 national records. Each former winner of the men’s Bowerman Trophy holds at least two national records, while two of the five women’s winners are current national record-holders.

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.