NCAA Indoor Championships Shake Up The Bowerman Men’s Watch List
March 17, 2016
NEW ORLEANS — The difference between great and elite in collegiate track & field comes down to how an athlete performs when the spotlight is brightest.
The lumen and wattage were turned way up this past weekend as each NCAA division held their indoor track & field championships.
It’s safe to say the 10 athletes on post-NCAA Indoor Championships edition of The Bowerman Men’s Watch List impressed The Bowerman Watch List Committee with their performances.
The Bowerman Men’s Watch List —
Post-NCAA Indoor Championships
Eight of the 10 men on the Watch List released on Thursday combined for nine individual titles across every discipline — sprints, hurdles, mid-distance, distance, throws, jumps and combined events.
Oregon star Edward Cheserek accounted for two of those crowns as he turned in the best outing of his career at the NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships. One could even say what Cheserek did was historic.
On Friday, Cheserek won the 5000 in 13:47.89 and came back less than 30 minutes later to anchor the Ducks’ meet-record-setting DMR team (9:27.27). The following afternoon, Cheserek returned to the track and completed his sweep of the distance titles with a one-second win in the 3000.
Cheserek scored a total of 22½ points for the meet champion Ducks and became just the second man in NCAA history to pull off that triple (Galen Rupp, 2009).
While Cheserek did something historic in quantity, TCU’s Ronnie Baker dabbled in all-time efficiency.
Baker, the defending champion in the 60, knew he’d have to run fast on Saturday after five sprinters set personal bests in the prelims. Even Baker’s collegiate lead of 6.51 wasn’t safe as Houston’s Cameron Burrell ran 6.50.
Well, Baker stepped up in a big way and left a vapor trail on the track. Baker won the fastest final in meet history (five men went 6.60 or faster) with a time of 6.47, which moved him to third on the all-time collegiate list (first, if you subtract those done at altitude).
Add hurdles into the equation and Oregon’s Devon Allen showed he was no worse for wear after redshirting the entire 2015 season. The two-sport standout for the Ducks earned his second career NCAA title (110 HH) and handed his team 10 valuable points.
Allen wasn’t the fastest hurdler of the weekend, though. That designation belongs to Minnesota State’s Myles Hunter, who is the first Division II male athlete to be included on the Watch List.
Hunter crossed the finish line in 7.53, equal to the 10th fastest time in collegiate history, regardless of division. That mark also lowered his own division and meet records while making him the first back-to-back winner since 2006-07.
Wisconsin’s Zach Ziemek, the heptathlon champion, displaced Georgia’s Maicel Uibo on the Watch List following an incredible showing in the heptathlon. Ziemek compiled 6173 points, good enough for the seventh highest total in collegiate history.
Akron’s Clayton Murphy and Texas A&M’s Donavan Brazier would have been on a collision course in the 800 if Brazier hadn’t dropped out of Friday’s prelims. Instead, Murphy used an blazing kick to swing past Middle Tennessee State’s Eliud Rutto and nipped him at the line for the crown.
Texas’ Ryan Crouser wrapped up his collegiate career with an NCAA title. Crouser, who is out of eligibility, proved to be the cream of the crop in the shot put with his heave of 21.28m (69-9¾).
Arkansas’ Jarrion Lawson saved his best for last in the long jump. After fouling on his first two attempts in the final, Lawson soared 7.95m (26-1) to edge NC State’s Jonathan Addison. Lawson also competed in the 60, where he finished fifth in 6.60.
Those athletes who impressed the committee, but didn’t receive enough votes to be on the Watch List included Burrell, Texas’ Zack Bilderback, Tennessee’s Jake Blakenship, Tennessee’s Christian Coleman and Southeastern Louisiana’s Alex Young.
The next edition of The Bowerman Men’s Watch List will be published Thursday, April 21.
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).