Post-NCAA Championships Women’s Bowerman Watch List Announced

March 16, 2016   

NEW ORLEANS – With the dust now settled from this past weekend’s NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships, ten women have emerged as frontrunners for The Bowerman at the midway point of the 2015-16 collegiate track & field season.

Each of the 10 women announced Wednesday by the Bowerman Watch List Committee have appeared at one point or another this year on the Watch List for collegiate track & field’s highest individual honor.

The Bowerman Women’s Watch List
Post-NCAA Indoor Championships

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

NAME YEAR SCHOOL EVENTS HOMETOWN
Felicia Brown SR Tennessee Sprints Lithonia, Ga.
Akela Jones SR Kansas State Combined Events St. Michael, Barbados
Shamier Little SO Texas A&M Hurdles Chicago, Ill.
Courtney Okolo SO Texas Sprints Carrollton, Texas
Keturah Orji SO Georgia Jumps Mount Olive, N.J.
Demi Payne SR (o) Stephen F. Austin Pole Vault New Braunfels, Texas
Raevyn Rogers SO Oregon Mid-Distance Houston, Texas
Raven Saunders SO Mississippi Throws Charleston, S.C.
Molly Seidel SR Notre Dame Distance Hartland, Wis.
Kendell Williams JR Georgia Combined Events Marietta, Ga.
 
Also Receiving Votes: Teahna Daniels (Texas); Shelbi Vaughan (Texas A&M); Lexi Weeks (Arkansas)
 
NEXT: April 20

 

Fresh off a collegiate record and national title in the pentathlon, Kendell Williams of Georgia rejoined the list as nine of the 10 women from the pre-Championships edition did enough – either at NCAAs or during the regular season – to hold steady in their spots.

Williams did what she always does at the NCAA Indoor Championships: win titles and break records. She scored 4703 points to mark the third consecutive year of winning the pent with a collegiate-record score, this time becoming the first collegian and fourth American ever to surpass 4700 points. She also took fifth in the long jump, but came up short in her bid to become the first woman in DI Championships history to score in the pentathlon and two additional open events as she no-heighted in the high jump.

By no means was she the only woman who had a big weekend in Birmingham. Far from it; in fact she wasn’t even the only pentathlete to make headlines, although Akela Jones of Kansas State did so in much more unorthodox fashion.

Jones squandered her own chances at a pentathlon collegiate record with a fall in the opening hurdles event, but she was dynamite in the field event components. She tied the collegiate record with a 1.98m (6-6) clearance in the pentathlon high jump – an event in which she would claim the open national title a day later – and at 6.80m (22-3½) in the long jump, she matched the mark with which Alabama’s Quanesha Burks would ultimately win the standalone long jump championship. Both marks were the best in pentathlon history by a collegian.

Molly Seidel of Notre Dame was the only woman in the country to win a pair of individual titles, becoming just the fourth woman in meet history to sweep the 3000 and 5000 titles. Her 5000 was particularly impressive, running 15:15.21 for the third-fastest time in collegiate history, and her 8:57.86 was the seventh-fastest time in Championships history.

As a reminder, Seidel won the NCAA Cross Country Championship during the fall of 2015, but that honor must not be considered for The Bowerman, which only takes into account accomplishments during the collegiate track & field seasons.

Courtney Okolo of Texas also earned two national titles, one in the 400 and the other as the anchor of the 4×400 relay. She ran sub-51 in both races, clocking 50.69 in the 400 final for the third-fastest time in collegiate history.

With her debut in her signature 400-meter hurdles event now just weeks away, Shamier Little of Texas A&M finished fourth in that same 400-meter final.

Wearing a different shade of orange and sprinting half the distance, Felicia Brown of Tennessee claimed the 200-meter title in 22.47 for the fourth-fastest time in collegiate history.

Williams’ Georgia teammate Keturah Orji made some history in the triple jump, moving up to No. 5 on the all-time collegiate performers list with a dominant 14.12m (46-4) leap that gave her the biggest win in meet history since 1990. She was also fourth in the long jump.

Raevyn Rogers of Oregon won the national title at 800 meters, and ran a leg of the third-place 4×400 relay.

Raven Saunders, however, did not fare so well. The collegiate shot put record holder did not advance to the final in her event and ultimately finished 12th overall. She remained on the Watch List thanks in large part to her historic achievements during the regular season and the potential to bounce back for even more history during the outdoor campaign.

Meanwhile in Portland, Oregon, at the USATF Indoor Championships, Demi Payne of Stephen F. Austin continued her outstanding pole vault campaign with a 4.85m (15-11) clearance. But, alas, it was not enough to qualify Payne – who has exhausted her indoor eligibility but has one final outdoor season remaining – for the IAAF World Indoor Championships as she finished third overall.

As a reminder, only Payne’s accomplishments during the outdoor season should be considered when ultimately voting for The Bowerman, since that is her only remaining collegiate eligibility.

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).