Mid-Distance Stars Headline Changes To Men’s Bowerman Watch List
February 4, 2016
NEW ORLEANS — The first month of competition in men’s collegiate track & field belonged to the mid-distance runners.
It’s only right that two of January’s biggest headliners — Texas A&M’s Donavan Brazier and Penn State’s Brannon Kidder — found themselves on the February edition of The Bowerman Watch List, released Thursday by The Bowerman Watch List Committee.
Brazier and Kidder replaced Mississippi State’s Brandon McBride and Oklahoma State’s Chad Noelle on the Watch List. The other eight members of the preseason Watch List — Oregon’s Devon Allen, TCU’s Ronnie Baker, Tennessee’s Jake Blakenship, Oregon’s Edward Cheserek, Florida’s Najee Glass, Arkansas’ Jarrion Lawson, Oklahoma State’s Nick Miller and Georgia’s Maicel Uibo — remained in place.
The Bowerman Men’s Watch List — February 2016
Brazier grabbed the attention of The Bowerman Watch List Committee — and the nation, for that matter — after an incredible collegiate debut.
On January 16 at the Texas A&M 11-Team Invitational, Brazier crushed the field in the 800. Brazier crossed the finish line in 1:45.93, breaking a 34-year-old American Junior Record and becoming the fourth fastest collegian in history indoors.
"I’ve never run anything faster than 1:46 indoors or outdoors," Brazier told 12thMan.com. "My coach (assistant coach Alleyne Francique) wanted me to go 1:47 in this meet, but he said 1:47 or better. I was happy with 1:45, obviously."
During that same weekend — actually the same day — Kidder set the 1000-meter collegiate record.
Kidder’s incredible run came at the Nittany Lion Challenge in a race that included former record-holder Robby Creese. Using a pace quickened by rabbit Jordan Makins, Kidder finished in 2:18.26, more than two seconds faster than the competition.
"I wanted to get out pretty hard and set myself up for the record, kind of — I didn’t really have any expectations to get it," Kidder told us on the QA2 Max Podcast. "I just wanted to get through 800 fast and see what I had."
Then two weeks later, Kidder shined with a two-race weekend at the Penn State National. Kidder anchored the Nittany Lions’ Distance Medley Relay team to a come-from-behind win over Stanford and the fourth fastest time in collegiate history (9:27.20), then followed it up with a victory in the 800 (1:47.01).
Kidder is the first Penn State athlete, of either gender, to be named to The Bowerman Watch List.
Of the aforementioned eight returners to the Watch List, Baker, Cheserek and Lawson have also impressed this year.
Baker, a junior sprinter for the Horned Frogs, currently sits second on the National Descending Order List in the 200 (20.67) and is fourth in the 60 (6.60).
Cheserek, a two-time Bowerman Award finalist, opened his season this past weekend at the Razorback Team Invitational. He anchored the Ducks’ DMR team to a win and won the mile the next day in 3:57.38.
Lawson shook off some rust earlier this season and broke out at Arkansas’ last home meet. The senior posted a world-leading long jump of 8.17m (26-9 3/4) and clocked the fifth fastest 60 of the season (6.62).
Five other athletes received votes, but not enough to be named to the Watch List. They are McBride, LSU’s Michael Cherry (national leader in the 400), Purdue’s Chukwuebuka Enekwechi (national leader in the weight throw), Pennsylvania’s Sam Mattis, Georgia’s Garrett Scantling (national leader in the heptathlon) and Oklahoma State’s John Teeters (national leader in the 60).
The next Watch List will come out on Thursday, March 3.
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 Jenna Prandini and Florida’s Marquis Dendy 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, four-time 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) as well as 2012 Olympic high jump bronze medalist and 2015 World Champion Derek Drouin (2013).