Individual Rivalries Prominent in The Bowerman Men’s Watch List for May

May 7, 2014   

NEW ORLEANS – Comparing the resumes of members of the Watch List for The Bowerman is most often an exercise akin to comparing apples to oranges as student-athletes from across the gamut of event groups vie for collegiate track & field’s highest individual honor.

That’s certainly not the case in the May edition of the Men’s Watch List released Wednesday as the race for The Bowerman Trophy is shaping up to bleed over heavily into the battles for several individual NCAA titles with new additions Kennedy Kithuka of Texas Tech and Andrew Evans of Kentucky.

Even beyond the event level, each and every one of the top five teams in the nation have at least one member of the May Watch List on their roster.

The Bowerman Men’s Watch List –
May 2014

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

NAME YEAR SCHOOL EVENTS HOMETOWN
Edward Cheserek FR Oregon Distance Newark, N.J.
Ryan Crouser JR Texas Throws Gresham, Ore.
Dedric Dukes JR Florida Sprints Miami, Fla.
Andrew Evans SR Kentucky Throws Portage, Mich.
Kennedy Kithuka SR Texas Tech Distance Thika, Kenya
Lawi Lalang SR Arizona Distance Eldoret, Kenya
Jarrion Lawson SO Arkansas Jumps Texarkana, Texas
Deon Lendore JR Texas A&M Sprints Arima, Trinidad & Tobago
Anthony Rotich JR UTEP Distance Nairobi, Kenya
Julian Wruck RS SR UCLA Throws Brisbane, Australia
 
Also Receiving Votes: Curtis Beach (Duke); Wayne Davis II (Texas A&M); Arman Hall (Florida); James Harris (Florida State); Sam Kendricks (Mississippi); Brandon McBride (Mississippi State); Nick Ross (Arizona); Michael Stigler (Kansas)

 

Though cross country performances aren’t a factor in deciding The Bowerman, the Watch List now features each of the past three NCAA cross country champions as 2012 winner Kithuka was added to the list of 10 that already included 2013 winner Edward Cheserek of Oregon and 2011 winner Lawi Lalang of Arizona – a returning finalist from the 2013 The Bowerman competition.

Depending how NCAA Championship qualification goes at late May’s preliminary rounds, national titles at distance ranging from 1500 to 10,000 meters could be up for grabs for some combination of the three aforementioned men.

Kithuka, who appeared on the Watch List for the sixth time in his career but only the first this season, has been the most aggressive of the three with the top-ranked 5000 meters and No. 2 10,000 meters performances.

Meanwhile Cheserek wowed the Penn Relays crowd in the middle-distance relays and posted solid qualifying times at 5000 and 10,000 meters, and Lalang has flown under the radar with strong dual-meet performances.

Both have an axe to grind with the frosh phenom Cheserek, who upset Kithuka for the 2013 XC title and Lalang for the indoor 5000 meters title.

Depending on what he ultimately runs at the NCAA Championships, defending steeplechase champion and current collegiate leader Anthony Rotich of UTEP could also be in that mix. He is currently No. 2 on the 1500 meters qualifying list and earlier this season pulled the upset in the indoor mile to claim the NCAA title over collegiate record holder Lalang.

From running far to throwing far, Evans joined the Watch List after overtaking rival Watch List member and 2013 The Bowerman finalist Julian Wruck of UCLA after skyrocketing to No. 4 on the all-time collegiate performers list with two all-time top-10 collegiate throws at the Tennessee Challenge.

His winning 217-9 (66.37m) put him at No. 2 on the world list and more than four feet ahead of defending national champion Wruck on the collegiate list.

Also in the hunt for the discus title is another rival Watch List member in Texas’ Ryan Crouser, the defending national shot put champion who also sits No. 10 on the discus list.

Though they may not see one another in individual head-to-head competition at NCAAs, No. 1 Florida and No. 2 Texas A&M – the defending national team co-champions – are represented on the list by world-leading 200-meter sprinter Dedric Dukes and collegiate-leading 400-meter sprinter Deon Lendore, respectively.

The two could very likely meet as members of their respective 4×400 relay teams at the NCAA Championships – that all-important final event that ultimately determined the fate of the NCAA team title last year – as well as in the 4×100 relay.

Rounding out the Watch List is Arkansas long jumper Jarrion Lawson, who also could meet up with Lendore and Dukes in the relays as his No. 3 Razorbacks look to upset the defending co-champions in the team race.

In fact, each of the top five teams in the latest U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) National Team Computer Rankings are represented with Cheserek of No. 4 Oregon and Kithuka of No. 5 Texas Tech.

Florida and Texas A&M are both also represented in the "also receiving votes" category by Arman Hall and Wayne Davis II, respectively.

Joining that pair as former Watch List members receiving votes outside the top 10 are Duke’s Curtis Beach and Florida State’s James Harris – both of whom dropped out of April’s top 10 – Ole Miss’ Sam Kendricks and Arizona’s Nick Ross.

Michael Stigler of Kansas continued to receive votes, and he was joined by Mississippi State’s Brandon McBride.

With four SEC student-athletes on the Watch List, the conference’s all-time appearance total on the men’s side grew to a nation-best 123, while the Pac-12′s three boosted it to 87. The Big 12 increased its total to 61.

Biographies and notes for 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.