Pre-NCAA Championships Women’s Bowerman Watch List Announced

EUGENE, Oregon – It all comes down to this. College track & field’s best and brightest gather this week at Hayward Field for one of the world’s best meets, the NCAA Division I Outdoor Championships.

Many women are in the hunt to claim individual national titles this Wednesday through Saturday, but only a select few have separated themselves from the pack in the race for college track & field’s ultimate individual prize: The Bowerman Award.

So far, that is. This is the week that will make, solidify or break Bowerman campaigns.

The year’s final Watch List for The Bowerman features all ten of the women who showed up in the pre-NCAA Prelims edition of the listing. All will be competing in Eugene this weekend to audition for Semifinalist – and potentially Finalist – honors later this summer, as will many more looking to make their big breakthroughs on the sport’s biggest stage.

The Bowerman Women’s Watch List
Pre-NCAA Championships 2016

(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 JR Texas A&M Hurdles Chicago, Ill.
Cindy Ofili SR Michigan Hurdles Ypsilanti, Mich.
Courtney Okolo SR Texas Sprints Carrollton, Texas
Keturah Orji SO Georgia Jumps Mount Olive, N.J.
DeAnna Price SR Southern Illinois Throws Moscow Mills, Mo.
Raevyn Rogers SO Oregon Mid-Distance Houston, Texas
Raven Saunders SO Mississippi Throws Charleston, S.C.
Kendell Williams JR Georgia Combined Events Marietta, Ga.
 
Also Receiving Votes: Jasmine Camacho-Quinn (Kentucky), Courtney Frerichs (New Mexico), Erica Bougard (Mississippi State), Lexi Weeks (Arkansas)
 
NEXT: Semifinalists – June 15

 

Reprising their positions from the last Watch List were Felicia Brown (Tennessee), Akela Jones (Kansas State), Shamier Little (Texas A&M), Cindy Ofili (Michigan), Courtney Okolo (Texas), Keturah Orji (Georgia), DeAnna Price (Southern Illinois), Raevyn Rogers (Oregon), Raven Saunders (Mississippi) and Kendell Williams (Georgia).

Also receiving votes but ending up outside the top 10 were Jasmine Camacho-Quinn (Kentucky), Courtney Frerichs (New Mexico), Erica Bougard (Mississippi State), and Lexi Weeks (Arkansas).

There’s only one individual-event match-up between current members of the 10-woman Watch List this week – and it’ll be a two-day affair that will last for seven events as Akela Jones and Kendell Williams square off in the heptathlon on Friday and Saturday.

An NCAA Indoor Championships pentathlon showdown between Jones and Williams was sidetracked when Jones tripped over a hurdle in the first of five of events. The results were still fascinating, though. Jones would go on to tie the collegiate record in the high jump and tie for the 2016 overall college lead in the long jump, while Williams smashed her own collegiate record in the overall pentathlon.

The two will meet again this weekend with Jones – the defending national champion – ranked first in the heptathlon, and Williams – the 2014 outdoor winner – ranked sixth.

They’ll also be joined by “also receiving votes” candidate Bougard, who herself is a former NCAA combined events champ with a 2013 pentathlon title to her name. Bougard could make big waves this weekend as she is also the top seed in the high jump and will additionally contest the 100-meter hurdles and long jump.

Individually, none of the remaining Watch List women will square off against one another this week.

Brown is the only sprinter at 100 or 200 meters on the list, Okolo is alone at 400 meters, Rogers is by herself at 800 meters, Ofili and Little will split the 100-meter and 400-meter hurdles events, Orji won’t see any other Watch List members in the long or triple jumps, and Saunders and Price will contest their respective shot put and hammer throw events.

Orji and Ofili will see Bougard in their respective events, and Ofili will have to contend with another “also receiving votes” athlete – Camacho-Quinn of Kentucky – in the 100-meter hurdles.

There is the possibility that Okolo, Brown, Rogers and Little could all run against one another in the meet-finale 4×400 relay on Saturday, as well. Okolo and Brown could go head-to-head in the 4×100 relay, too.

They will have to contend with a number of former Watch List members and/or vote-getters in their respective events, however. Those former Watch Listers will be doing all they can to rejoin the 10-woman list of Semifinalists announced next week.

Orji could add a significant line to her resume if she were to upset two-time NCAA long jump champion Quanesha Burks of Alabama in that event.

Brown will see the likes of Oregon’s Hannah Cunliffe, Texas’ Morolake Akinosun, Florida’s Shayla Sanders and LSU’s Mikiah Brisco in the sprints (Ofili will also contend with Brisco in the hurdles).

Okolo will square off with Arkansas’ Taylor Ellis-Watson in the quarter-mile.

 

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, 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) and 2015 World Champion high jumper Derek Drouin (2013).

In total, the winners from the award’s first five years have won four Olympic Medals, 10 World Championships (indoors and outdoors) and 19 World Championships medals. When considering finalists for the award, 18 individuals have earned a combined eight Olympic medals, 19 World Championship titles (indoors and outdoors) and 38 World Championships medals.

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.

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