Pre-NCAA Championships Watch List for Women’s Bowerman Trophy Unveiled

NEW ORLEANS – Two sprinters were swapped out for two other sprinters in the final women’s Watch List for the 2015 Bowerman Trophy.

The 10 women on it–plus a few more in contention–will make their final cases at next week’s NCAA Division I outdoor track & field championships. The Bowerman Watch List Committee announced the List on Thursday.

The Bowerman Women’s Watch List June — Final 2015 Watch List

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

NAME YEAR SCHOOL EVENTS HOMETOWN
Morolake Akinosun JR Texas Sprints Aurora, Ill.
Erica Bougard SR Mississippi State Multis Byhalia, Miss.
Natoya Goule SR Clemson Mid-distance Clarendon, Jamaica
Kendra Harrison SR Kentucky Hurdles Clayton, N.C.
Kyra Jefferson JR Florida Sprints Detroit, Mich.
Sandi Morris SR Arkansas Pole vault Greenville, S.C.
Demi Payne JR Stephen F. Austin Pole vault New Braunfels, Texas
Jenna Prandini JR Oregon Sprints/Jumps Clovis, Calif.
Jeannelle Scheper SR South Carolina High jump Gros-Islet, Saint Lucia
Shelbi Vaughan JR Texas A&M Throws Mansfield, Texas
 
Also Receiving Votes: Dezerea Bryant (Kentucky), Quanesha Burks (Alabama), Leah O’Connor (Michigan State), Keturah Orji (Georgia), Emily Sisson (Providence)
 
Women’s Semifinalists: June 23

Texas sprinter Morolake Akinosun and Florida sprinter Kyra Jefferson replaced 2014 Bowerman Trophy Finalist Courtney Okolo of Texas and Remona Burchell of Alabama after neither started their open events at the NCAA preliminary rounds last weekend.

With Okolo and Burchell off the List, Oregon’s Jenna Prandini is the only woman who appeared on all eight Watch Lists in 2015.

For the second straight edition, Erica Bougard, Natoya Goule, Jeannelle Scheper, Sandi Morris, Demi Payne, Shelbi Vaughan, and Kendra Harrison made up the rest of the list.

All 10 of these women qualifed for next week’s NCAA finals in Eugene; let’s take a look at what they’ve done in 2015 and what’s at stake next week.

A quick reminder: Bowerman voting is strictly based on collegiate accomplishments in a single season. So, likely IAAF World Championships qualification for some of the women on this list – as well as past national titles – won’t factor into the June 23 selection of the 10 semifinalists.

Akinosun won the 100 and 200 at the Big 12 outdoor meet, and the 60 meters at her indoor conference meet. She was part of an NCAA championship-winning 4×400 meter relay indoors; she’ll contest both short sprints and both relays in Oregon. The finals for those events are all live on Saturday, June 13 on ESPN2. The 4×100 is at 2:05 Pacific, the 100 is at 2:55, the 200 is at 3:40, and the 4×400 is at 4:20.

Bougard, of Mississippi State, is the second highest-scoring pentathlete and fifth highest-scoring heptathlete in NCAA history. The junior scored 4566 points to take second at indoor NCAAs–the same place she took at indoor SECs. Outdoor, she’s taken over as the top women’s multi athlete in the college rankings, leading the NCAA with her winning heptathlon score of 6250 points at the SEC meet.

In addition to the heptathlon, she’s also entered in the high jump and 100 hurdles at outdoor nationals. The final event of the heptathlon is scheduled for 4:28 local time on Thursday, June 11 (you can watch live on ESPNU) and the high jump (1:30) and 100 hurdles (2:45) are both within the ESPN2 time slot on Saturday. Both can also be viewed online on ESPN3.

Total Appearances by School

School Appearances Athletes

Oregon 69 9
Texas A&M 45 9
LSU 25 2
Arkansas 25 4
Arizona 22 4
Texas 20 4
Georgia 16 4
Kentucky 16 2
Florida State 15 1
Florida 15 4
Oklahoma 14 2
Clemson 13 2

Clemson senior Goule is the indoor national champion in the 800 and the outdoor SEC champion in the event. She’ll put her career outdoor undefeated streak on the line in the 800 final at 3:20 on the afternoon of Saturday, June 13, live on ESPN2. Goule is also on Clemson’s third-ranked 4×400 meter relay, which is exactly an hour after the 800.

Her winning time of 2:01.64 at indoor nationals makes her the third fastest indoor collegian ever and is an NCAA meet record; her 2:00.06 personal best outdoors was set the last time she raced in a national championship at Oregon two years ago.

Harrison, a Kentucky senior, won the 100 hurdles and took second in the 400 hurdles at the SEC outdoor championships in May after winning the 60 meter hurdles at nationals and conferences indoors. Her 7.87 60-meter hurdles ranks third in college history–the same place occupied on the outdoor all-time list by her 12.50 100 hurdles.

She’s entered in both hurdles and will likely run for Kentucky’s tenth-ranked 4×4 in Eugene. The 100 hurdles is at 2:45 and the 400 hurdles is at 3:30–both local time, both Saturday afternoon on ESPN2.

Florida’s Jefferson won the NCAA indoor title in the 200 and took SEC indoor and outdoor crowns in the event. Her 22.26 time at the East Preliminary round makes her the sixth-fastest collegiate performer ever, and her Gators are now the third fastest 4×100 meter relay school ever after their 42.72 at the SEC meet two weeks prior.

Jefferson will run the 200 between the two relays on June 13 in Oregon; the 200 final is at 3:40 local time, live on ESPN2.

Arkansas’s Morris and Stephen F. Austin’s Payne have battled for pole vault supremacy for six straight months.

The top nine indoor vaults in collegiate history belong to the pair, with Payne’s 4.75m (15-7) currently standing as the record. Indoors, Payne and Morris broke the national record in the event three times each, and Morris won the national title with a clearance that tied the meet record.

The duo has six of the top seven outdoor vaults in college history, with each breaking the record twice. Morris set the most recent record with her winning vault of 4.72m (15-5¾) at the SEC championships. Both are double conference champions in 2015.

They’ll write the final collegiate chapter of this rivalry – Morris is a senior, while Payne has an outdoor season remaining – on Thursday, June 11, beginning at 4:45 Pacific. You can watch the beginning of the women’s vault on ESPN3, with the potential for some live look-ins during the ESPNU and ESPN broadcast windows.

Total Appearances by Conference

Conference Appearances

SEC 172
Pac-12 119
Big 12 60
ACC 41
Ivy 14
Big Ten 14
BIG EAST 13

Prandini’s only concern was put to rest last weekend. The Oregon junior missed the Pac-12 championships with an illness, but returned back in full form at the West Prelims.

She won the long jump, took second in the 200, and took fourth in the 60 at indoor nationals in Fayetteville, and will contest the long jump, 100, 200, and possibly 4×100 on her home track and runway next week.

Both of her indoor sprint times are in the top ten all-time, and her No. 2 all-time 10.92 100 meters at the Mt. SAC Relays is the fastest wind-legal time in the event since 1989.

The long jump – the event in which she is the defeneding outdoor champ – is Thursday evening at 5:15 local time on ESPN3. And the 100 and 200 are at 2:55 and 3:40, respectively, Saturday on ESPN2.

Scheper, a fifth-year senior from South Carolina, has made the most of her one remaining season of eligibility. She cleared 1.96m (6-5) to win the SEC high jump and tie herself for the sixth best perfomer in collegiate history. Scheper hasn’t lost to a collegian since returning in March, and is the top seed in the high jump next week.

She’ll compete beginning at 1:30 local time on Saturday afternoon on ESPN3.

Like Scheper, Goule, Prandini, Payne, and Bougard, Shelbi Vaughan hasn’t lost in her primary event outdoors this year. The Texas A&M discus thrower has a significant lead over the rest of the country with her throw of 64.52 meters (211-8) that won the event at the SEC championships. That mark makes her the fifth best performer in college history; she’ll aim to defend her national title on Saturday at 1:35 Pacific time. You can catch the discus on ESPN3.

Dezerea Bryant (Kentucky), Quanesha Burks (Alabama), Leah O’Connor (Michigan State), Keturah Orji (Georgia), Emily Sisson (Providence) all received votes this week. Distance runners O’Connor and Sisson won their events at the NCAA indoor championships, ranking in the top two all-time in their events indoors and the top five all-time in their events outdoors.

The final men’s Watch List was released yesterday and the men’s and women’s semifinalists will be announced on June 22 and June 23.

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.

Oregon’s Laura Roesler and Texas A&M’s Deon Lendore are the reigning winners of The Bowerman, which is named for legendary Oregon track & field and cross country coach Bill Bowerman.

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), 2011 IAAF World Champion at 1500 meters Jenny Simpson (2009), 2013 100-meter hurdles World Champion Brianna Rollins (2013) and 2012 Olympic high jump bronze medalist Derek Drouin (2013).

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

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