Nelvis, Okolo & Roesler Named Women’s Finalists for The Bowerman Trophy
July 10, 2014
NEW ORLEANS – Senior Sharika Nelvis of Arkansas State, sophomore Courtney Okolo of Texas and senior Laura Roesler of Oregon were named the 2014 Women’s Finalists for The Bowerman Trophy – collegiate track & field’s highest individual honor – by The Bowerman Advisory Board, the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) announced Thursday.
Based on their outstanding achievements during both the indoor and outdoor collegiate track & field seasons in 2013-14, these three women were selected to travel to Phoenix, Ariz., for the awarding of The Bowerman Trophy on December 17 as part of the USTFCCCA Convention at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge.
One among them ultimately will join the ranks of The Bowerman Winners alongside a number of the world’s best track & field athletes. Among them are Jenny (Barringer) Simpson – a world champion at 1500 meters and American Record holder in the 3000-meter steeplechase – and Brianna Rollins, already an American Record holder and World Champion in the 100-meter hurdles after winning The Bowerman just last season.
Voting to determine both the women’s trophy and men’s trophy – the finalists for which were announced on Wednesday to be Edward Cheserek of Oregon, Lawi Lalang of Arizona and Deon Lendore of Texas A&M – will commence July 28 and conclude August 12.
Fans will have an opportunity to make their voices heard in a fan vote that will ultimately count as one ballot alongside those cast by media members, statisticians, USTFCCCA member coaches and other experts from around the nation.
No matter which of these exceptional women ultimately hoists the iconic Bowerman Trophy this December in Phoenix, it will be the first women’s trophy for their respective teams.
For Nelvis, the distinction would go even farther beyond that. Not only is she the first woman to represent Arkansas State and the Sun Belt Conference as a Finalist for The Bowerman, she is the first regardless of gender for both the school and conference.
The senior won each of her 11 finals in sprint hurdles events 100 meters or shorter, including a sweep of both the NCAA indoor and outdoor titles. She came up clutch indoors with a 60-meter hurdles win in 7.93 by just thousandths of a second to move to No. 7 all-time among collegians.
Outdoors she won the 100-meter hurdles national title with a windy 12.52 to jump to No. 6 on the all-time, all-conditions collegiate performances list. She also finished with second-team All-America honors at 100 meters.
She owned the Sun Belt Conference Championships this season, scoring 40 points with four wins indoors and 38 points outdoors with three wins and a runner-up finish. She concluded the indoor season among the top 25 collegians in the 100-meter hurdles and both at 100 meters and in the long jump. Indoors she was top-25 in the 60-meter hurdles, at 60 and 200 meters, and in the long jump.
Okolo would also become the first student-athlete from her school, Texas, to claim The Bowerman Trophy, regardless of gender.
The sophomore is one of only two women in outdoor collegiate history to have recorded two current all-time top-five performances at 400 meters. The collegiate record fell to her at the Big 12 Championships as she won in 50.03, surpassing the previous record by just under a tenth of a second.
At the NCAA Outdoor Championships she again posted a historic time, winning the title in 50.23 for a share of the No. 5 performance all-time among collegians. She was undefeated in three finals at 400 meters outdoors, and won once and finished runner-up twice indoors. She was fourth at the indoor championships.
She was also a crucial member of the Longhorns’ NCAA meet-record 4×400 relay outdoors with a 49.57 anchor split, and ran a leg of the third-place 4×100 relay. Okolo also played a significant role at the Penn Relays, where she split 49.7 to help Texas break the meet record.
A Bowerman Trophy victory by Roesler would not only be the first women’s win for Oregon, but it could make Oregon the first program to have winners on both the men’s and women’s side. She would join men’s winners Galen Rupp (2009) and Ashton Eaton (2010).
Current Men’s Finalist Deon Lendore of Texas A&M is attempting to achieve the same feat for the Aggies.
The senior was dominant at 800 meters throughout the season, winning each of the six races she finished between the indoor and outdoor seasons. She swept both the NCAA indoor and outdoor crowns in the event, winning by more than a second each time.
She moved to No. 2 on the all-time, all-conditions indoor performers list at 800 meters with a 2:01.32 on Kentucky’s oversized track, and won the Mt. SAC Relays in 2:00.54 to move to No. 8 all-time outdoors with the fastest-ever non-NCAA Championships performance.
She was also a key member of the 4×400 relay that clinched the Ducks their indoor team title and broke the collegiate record. She ran a leg of Oregon’s third-place 4×400 at the outdoor championships, and the Penn Relays saw her run the 4×800 and the DMR as the 1600-meter anchor.
Finalists were chosen by The Bowerman Advisory Board, a ten-person panel of track & field experts from around the country, based on performances recorded during the 2014 indoor and outdoor track & field seasons. Only performances through the conclusion of the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships are eligible for consideration.
WINNER SELECTION PROCESS
The Bowerman Voters will receive ballots listing each of the finalists and must rank them by first, second and third choice. First-place votes will receive three points, second place will notch two, and third will receive one point. The finalist with the highest point total will be declared the winner.
The Bowerman Voters consist of:
- The Bowerman Advisory Board (10 members)
- Select media personnel, statisticians, and collegiate administrators
- Galen Rupp, 2009 men’s winner of The Bowerman
- Ashton Eaton, 2010 men’s winner of The Bowerman
- Ngoni Makusha, 2011 men’s winner of The Bowerman
- Cam Levins, 2012 men’s winner of The Bowerman
- Derek Drouin, 2013 men’s winner of The Bowerman
- Jenny (Barringer) Simpson, 2009 women’s winner of The Bowerman
- Queen Harrison, 2010 women’s winner of The Bowerman
- Jessica Beard, 2011 women’s winner of The Bowerman
- Kimberlyn Duncan, 2012 women’s winner of The Bowerman
- Brianna Rollins, 2013 women’s winner of The Bowerman
- Online voting by the public will constitute one collective vote (ranking of choices will be made by order of total single votes)
- Online voting by USTFCCCA members will constitute one collective vote (ranking of choices will be made by order of total single votes)
Paper balloting will conclude in the coming weeks while online voting will begin on Monday, July 28 and will last until Tuesday, August 12. An independent accounting firm will collect, tabulate, and certify final results and will keep the result secret until the envelope is opened December 17 at The Bowerman Trophy Award Show.
THE BOWERMAN PAST FINALISTS & AWARD HISTORY
Winner: Galen Rupp, Oregon
Finalist: Ashton Eaton, Oregon
Finalist: German Fernandez, Oklahoma State
Winner: Ashton Eaton, Oregon
Finalist: Andrew Wheating, Oregon
Finalist: Ryan Whiting, Arizona State
Winner: Ngoni Makusha, Florida State
Finalist: Jeshua Anderson, Washington State
Finalist: Christian Taylor, Florida
Winner: Cam Levins, Southern Utah
Finalist: Tony McQuay, Florida
Finalist: Andrew Riley, Illinois
Winner: Derek Drouin, Indiana
Finalist: Lawi Lalang, Arizona
Finalist: Julian Wruck, UCLA
Winner: Jenny Barringer, Colorado
Finalist: Destinee Hooker, Texas
Finalist: Porscha Lucas, Texas A&M
Winner: Queen Harrison, Virginia Tech
Finalist: Lisa Koll, Iowa State
Finalist: Blessing Okagbare, UTEP
Winner: Jessica Beard, Texas A&M
Finalist: Kimberlyn Duncan, LSU
Finalist: Tina Sutej, Arkansas
Winner: Kimberlyn Duncan, LSU
Finalist: Brigetta Barrett, Arizona
Finalist: Brianne Theisen, Oregon
Winner: Brianna Rollins, Clemson
Finalist: Brigetta Barrett, Arizona
Finalist: Kori Carter, Stanford
Multiple Finalists by School (2009-2014)
(Does not include 2014 women’s finalists)
Oregon (6): Ashton Eaton (2)*, Galen Rupp*, Brianne Theisen, Andrew Wheating, Edward Cheserek
Arizona (3): Brigetta Barrett (2), Lawi Lalang (2)
Texas A&M (3): Jessica Beard*, Porscha Lucas, Deon Lendore
Florida (2): Tony McQuay, Christian Taylor
LSU (2): Kimberlyn Duncan (2)*
* Previous Winner
All-Time Finalists by Conference
(using conference affiliation for seasons in question, change in affiliation is noted by finalists listed. Includes both men and women.)
OREGON – 7
ARIZONA – 4
ARIZONA STATE – 1
STANFORD – 1
UCLA – 1
WASHINGTON STATE – 1
Big 12 (7):
TEXAS – 2
TEXAS A&M – 2
COLORADO – 1 (Barringer, 2009)
IOWA STATE – 1
OKLAHOMA STATE – 1
FLORIDA – 2
LSU – 2
ARKANSAS – 1
CLEMSON – 1
FLORIDA STATE – 1
VIRGINIA TECH – 1
Big Ten (2):
ILLINOIS – 1
INDIANA – 1
Conference USA (UTEP), Summit League (Southern Utah), Sun Belt (Arkansas State)
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.