Men’s Finalists Announced For 2016 The Bowerman Award

NEW ORLEANS — And then there were three.

After careful deliberation, The Bowerman Advisory Board whittled the 10-man list of semifinalists for The Bowerman Award down to a trio of talented student-athletes that stood out throughout the 2016 collegiate track & field season.

Texas A&M’s Donavan Brazier, Oregon’s Edward Cheserek and Arkansas’ Jarrion Lawson were named finalists for The Bowerman Award on Friday. Cheserek becomes the first three-time finalist in the history of the award (2014, 2015 and 2016), while Brazier and Lawson get their first — and only — crack at the 35-pound trophy (Brazier decided to pursue a professional career after the conclusion of the outdoor season and Lawson exhausted his eligibility).

 

This also continues a trend of the Pac-12 and SEC — the two dominant conferences in collegiate track & field — jostling for the sport’s biggest honor. Going back to 2014, this is the third time in as many years that the Pac-12 and SEC each has at least one finalist and the second time in three tries the conferences own the entire finalist pool (2014).

Brazier had an incredible freshman year and is looking to become the Aggies’ second male winner of The Bowerman Award (Deon Lendore in 2014).

The Grand Rapids, Michigan native burst on the scene during January’s Aggie 11-Team Invitational in only his second collegiate meet. Brazier scorched the track over 800 meters on his way to the fifth fastest time in collegiate history indoors (1:45.93) and broke a 34-year-old American junior record.

An injury forced him to drop out of the semifinals of the NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships, but he made up for lost time — and then some — when the best of the best met outdoors at Hayward Field. Brazier shattered Jim Ryun’s 50-year-old collegiate record on its anniversary and ran 1:43.55 to edge Brandon McBride, who ran the third fastest time in collegiate history.

Cheserek continued to prove there are very few men like him when it comes to racing on the big stage of NCAAs. Between indoors and outdoors, the Oregon junior captured four individual titles and anchored a championship distance medley relay team.

What Cheserek did in Birmingham, Alabama in mid-March was nothing short of remarkable. Less than 30 minutes after winning the 5000-meter title, Cheserek doubled back to notch a come-from-behind victory for the Ducks in the DMR against the fastest all-conditions miler in collegiate history (Washington’s Izaic Yorks). Cheserek polished off the triple (3000-5000-DMR) the following afternoon.

Then on his home track in Eugene, Cheserek became the first man since Galen Rupp to sweep the indoor and outdoor slate clean. Cheserek, who battled nagging injuries during the regular season and lost two races, bounced back at NCAAs and won the 5000- and 10000-meter crowns over the span of three days.

Last, but not least, there’s Lawson.

During a pre-meet press conference in Eugene, a rival of Lawson said the Arkansas senior could put his name alongside the legendary Jesse Owens thanks to his upcoming workload. Lawson was scheduled to compete in four events across those two days — the 100, 200, long jump and as a member of the Razorbacks’ 4×100 relay team.

Lawson made true on that statement when he became the first man since Owens in 1936 to sweep the 100, 200 and long jump titles at the same NCAA meet. His long jump title came first, followed by the 100 and when it came down to the 200, Lawson made sure there was no doubt whom the star of the championships would be as he edged Christian Coleman — the indoor champ — by seven-tenths of a second.

All told, Lawson tallied 31.5 points by himself and broke the modern-day scoring record at the NCAA Outdoor Championship. Throw in his 14 points from indoors (long jump champ, 5th at 60 meters) and that’s not a bad haul at all.

So will Brazier or Lawson give the SEC its third consecutive The Bowerman Award or will Cheserek bring one back to the Pacific Northwest for the first time since 2010?

That question will be answered in December at the annual USTFCCCA Convention when Brazier, Cheserek and Lawson join the women’s finalists for a live-streamed awards show at the JW Marriott Orlando Great Lakes Resort and Spa.

Finalists were chosen by The Bowerman Advisory Board, an 11-person panel of track & field experts from around the country, based on performances recorded during the 2015-16 indoor and outdoor track & field seasons. Only performances through the conclusion of the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships are eligible for consideration.

WINNER SELECTION PROCESS

The Bowerman Voters will receive ballots listing each of the finalists and must rank them by first, second and third choice. First-place votes will receive three points, second place will notch two, and third will receive one point. The finalist with the highest point total will be declared the winner.

The Bowerman Voters consist of:

  • The Bowerman Advisory Board (11 members)
  • Select media personnel, statisticians, and collegiate administrators
  • Galen Rupp, 2009 men’s winner of The Bowerman
  • Ashton Eaton, 2010 men’s winner of The Bowerman
  • Ngoni Makusha, 2011 men’s winner of The Bowerman
  • Cam Levins, 2012 men’s winner of The Bowerman
  • Derek Drouin, 2013 men’s winner of The Bowerman
  • Deon Lendore, 2014 men’s winner of The Bowerman
  • Marquis Dendy, 2015 men’s winner of The Bowerman
  • Jenny (Barringer) Simpson, 2009 women’s winner of The Bowerman
  • Queen Harrison, 2010 women’s winner of The Bowerman
  • Jessica Beard, 2011 women’s winner of The Bowerman
  • Kimberlyn Duncan, 2012 women’s winner of The Bowerman
  • Brianna Rollins, 2013 women’s winner of The Bowerman
  • Laura Roesler, 2014 women’s winner of The Bowerman
  • Jenna Prandini, 2015 women’s winner of The Bowerman
  • Online voting by the public will constitute one collective vote (ranking of choices will be made by order of total single votes)
  • Online voting by USTFCCCA members will constitute one collective vote (ranking of choices will be made by order of total single votes)

THE BOWERMAN PAST FINALISTS & AWARD HISTORY

MEN

2009
Winner: Galen Rupp, Oregon
Finalist: Ashton Eaton, Oregon
Finalist: German Fernandez, Oklahoma State

2010
Winner: Ashton Eaton, Oregon
Finalist: Andrew Wheating, Oregon
Finalist: Ryan Whiting, Arizona State

2011
Winner: Ngoni Makusha, Florida State
Finalist: Jeshua Anderson, Washington State
Finalist: Christian Taylor, Florida

2012
Winner: Cam Levins, Southern Utah
Finalist: Tony McQuay, Florida
Finalist: Andrew Riley, Illinois

2013
Winner: Derek Drouin, Indiana
Finalist: Lawi Lalang, Arizona
Finalist: Julian Wruck, UCLA

2014
Winner: Deon Lendore, Texas A&M
Finalist: Edward Cheserek, Oregon
Finalist: Lawi Lalang, Arizona

2015
Winner: Marquis Dendy, Florida
Finalist: Shawn Barber, Akron
Finalist: Edward Cheserek, Oregon

WOMEN

2009
Winner: Jenny Barringer, Colorado
Finalist: Destinee Hooker, Texas
Finalist: Porscha Lucas, Texas A&M

2010
Winner: Queen Harrison, Virginia Tech
Finalist: Lisa Koll, Iowa State
Finalist: Blessing Okagbare, UTEP

2011
Winner: Jessica Beard, Texas A&M
Finalist: Kimberlyn Duncan, LSU
Finalist: Tina Sutej, Arkansas

2012
Winner: Kimberlyn Duncan, LSU
Finalist: Brigetta Barrett, Arizona
Finalist: Brianne Theisen, Oregon

2013
Winner: Brianna Rollins, Clemson
Finalist: Brigetta Barrett, Arizona
Finalist: Kori Carter, Stanford

2014
Winner: Laura Roesler, Oregon
Finalist: Sharika Nelvis, Arkansas State
Finalist: Courtney Okolo, Texas

2015
Winner: Jenna Prandini, Oregon
Finalist: Kendra Harrison, Kentucky
Finalist: Demi Payne, Stephen F. Austin

Combined Genders
Multiple Finalists by School (2009-2016)

Oregon (10): Ashton Eaton (2)*, Galen Rupp*, Laura Roesler*, Jenna Prandini*, Brianne Theisen, Andrew WheatingEdward Cheserek (3)
Arizona (4): 
Brigetta Barrett (2), Lawi Lalang (2)
Texas A&M (4): Jessica Beard*, Porscha Lucas, Deon Lendore*, Donavan Brazier
Florida (3):
 Tony McQuay, Christian Taylor, Marquis Dendy*
Texas (3): Courtney Okolo (2), Destinee Hooker
LSU (2): Kimberlyn Duncan (2)*
Arkansas (2): Tina Sutej, Jarrion Lawson
* Previous Winner

All-Time Finalists by Conference
(using conference affiliation for seasons in question, change in affiliation is noted by finalists listed. Includes both men and women.)

Pac-12 (18):
Oregon – 10
Arizona – 4
Arizona State – 1
Stanford – 1
UCLA – 1
Washington State – 1

SEC (12):
Florida – 3
LSU – 2
Arkansas – 2
Texas A&M – 2
Kentucky – 1
Mississippi – 1
Georgia – 1

Big 12 (8):
Texas – 3
Texas A&M – 2 (Beard, 2011)
Colorado – 1 (Barringer, 2009)
Iowa State – 1
Oklahoma State – 1

ACC (3):
Clemson – 1
Florida State – 1
Virginia Tech – 1

Big Ten (2):
Illinois – 1
Indiana – 1

One Each:
Conference USA (UTEP), Summit League (Southern Utah), Sun Belt (Arkansas State), Mid-American (Akron), Southland (Stephen F. Austin)

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).

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.

ABOUT THE USTFCCCA

The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) is a non-profit professional organization representing cross country and track & field coaches of all levels. The organization represents over 9,000 coaching members encompassing 94% of all NCAA track & field programs (DI, DII, and DIII) and includes members representing the NAIA, NJCAA as well as a number of state high school coaches associations. The USTFCCCA serves as an advocate for cross country and track & field coaches, providing a leadership structure to assist the needs of a diverse membership, serving as a lobbyist for coaches’ interests, and working as a liaison between the various stakeholders in the sports of cross country and track & field.

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