Three SEC Athletes Added To Pre-NCAA Prelims Men’s Bowerman Award Watch List

NEW ORLEANS — The epicenter for the change that occurred to the most recent men’s Watch List for The Bowerman Award can be traced back to Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

It was inside the Sam Bailey Track & Field Stadium where SEC athletes battled for glory, hardware and as it turns out, spots on the Pre-NCAA Prelims version of the Watch List.

The Bowerman Watch List Committee rewarded Jake Blankenship, Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake and Lindon Victor for their performances at the SEC Outdoor Track & Field Championships. Mitchell-Blake and Victor added their names among all-time greats of their respective events, while Blankenship regained his preseason form.

Seven of the 10 men from the previous Watch List remained in place: Devon Allen, Ronnie Baker, Edward Cheserek, Jarrion Lawson, Sam Mattis, Brandon McBride and Izaic Yorks. Blankenship, Mitchell-Blake and Victor took the spots of Nick Miller, Clayton Murphy and Zach Ziemek.

The Bowerman Men’s Watch List —

Pre-NCAA Prelims Edition (2016)

NAME YEAR SCHOOL EVENTS HOMETOWN
Devon Allen RS SO Oregon Hurdles Phoenix, Ariz.
Ronnie Baker JR TCU Sprints Louisville, Ky.
Jake Blankenship SR Tennessee Pole Vault Blacklick, Ohio
Edward Cheserek JR Oregon Distance Newark, N.J.
Jarrion Lawson SR Arkansas Jumps Texarkana, Texas
Sam Mattis SR Penn Throws East Brunswick, N.J.
Brandon McBride SO Mississippi State Distance Windsor, Ontario
Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake JR LSU Sprints London, England
Lindon Victor JR Texas A&M Combined Events St. George’s, Grenada
Izaic Yorks SR Washington Mid-Distance Lakewood, Wash.
Also Receiving Votes: Ryan Crouser, Texas; Nick Miller, Oklahoma State; Clayton Murphy, Akron; Zach Ziemek, Wisconsin.
 
Next Men’s Watch List: Tuesday, June 7

After injuries derailed an indoor season where he no-heighted at NCAAs and followed it with another no-height at the Penn Relays, Blankenship put those troubles behind him with a victory this past weekend. Blankenship cleared 5.65 meters (18-6½) and is now tied for second nationally behind Southeastern Louisiana’s Devin King.

Mitchell-Blake turned in an incredible effort over the three-day meet. The LSU junior’s greatest achievement came at 200 meters, where he became just the ninth man in collegiate history to go sub-20 (19.95). He added another individual title at 100 meters (10.16) and chipped in with three other teammates to clock the seventh fastest time in collegiate history in the 4×100 relay (38.33).

Victor went from not having a decathlon score to his name under the NCAA umbrella to being one of the best of all-time. The Texas A&M junior set personal bests in nine of the 10 disciplines (fell short in the shot put) and posted the fourth best tally in collegiate history (8446 points), a mere 19 points shy of the collegiate record.

Elsewhere at the SEC Championships, Lawson and McBride won titles in their signature events (long jump and 800 meters, respectively). Lawson soared 7.91m (25-11½) to beat Texas A&M’s Will Williams and later finished fourth at 100 meters. McBride earned his first SEC title since 2014 when he crossed the finish line in 1:45.68 and edged a talented field that saw all nine finalists go sub-1:50.

Let’s move westward, where three of the athletes on the Watch List are from the Pac-12.

Allen, Cheserek and Yorks all won titles in Seattle, Washington with the former bringing home crowns in the 110 hurdles (13.61) and 200 meters (20.88). Cheserek shook off nagging injuries to win the 10000 by nearly nine seconds (28:58.57) and Yorks captured the 1500-meter title in 3:39.14.

As an aside on Cheserek, this is the 20th time in his career that he’s appeared on the Watch List. That moves the Oregon junior into sole possession of third place behind Lawi Lalang (24) and Ryan Crouser (21).

Baker and Mattis had no trouble winning at their respective conference championships (Big 12 and Ivy League). The TCU senior won going away at 100 meters (10.15), while Mattis notched yet another 200-foot discus throw this season (62.45m/204-11).

Crouser, Miller, Murphy and Ziemek landed in the “Also Receiving Votes” category.

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).

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