Lawson & Orji Win 2016 Fan Vote For The Bowerman

NEW ORLEANS — Collegiate track & field fans want The Bowerman in the SEC.

Not just the men’s trophy — or the women’s, for that matter: Both of them.

Former Arkansas standout Jarrion Lawson and Georgia star triple jumper Keturah Orji won their genders’ respective fan vote for collegiate track & field’s highest individual honor.

More than 25,000 votes were cast from June 24 to July 1 as fans had the opportunity to help their favorite finalist get a leg up on the competition. Fans could vote up to five times per day on one email address.

Lawson and former Texas A&M freshman phenom Donavan Brazier were in a dead heat when voting opened on the final day. Brazier led throughout most of the voting, but Lawson gradually cut into his lead and swung ahead with two days to go.

When the dust settled, Lawson nabbed 7,799 votes which comprised 39.87 percent of the men’s tally. Brazier ended with 7,574 votes, good enough for 38.72 percent.

Oregon’s Edward Cheserek finished a distant third at 4,187 and 21.41 percent, respectively. This is the second consecutive year that Cheserek wrapped up the fan vote in last place.

After the first day of the women’s vote, it became a two-person race between Orji and former Texas sprinter Courtney Okolo. Two-time collegiate record holder Raven Saunders of Ole Miss owned the lead after Day 1, but faded soon after.

Okolo and Orji jockeyed for position atop the standings throughout the proceedings and at one point, only five votes separated the two. Then Orji’s fans came to the rescue and put Okolo in the rearview mirror.

Orji landed a staggering 9,263 votes (44.83 percent) compared to Okolo’s haul of 7,360 (35.62). The Bulldog triple jumper gained 18.63 percent in the poll over the final four days.

Saunders earned 4,041 votes or 19.56 percent.

What does all of this mean? Well, Lawson and Orji each earn a first-place vote for The Bowerman, which is good for three points in the 3-2-1 format. Brazier and Okolo record a second-place vote (two points), while Cheserek and Saunders start with a third-place vote (one point).

This marks the second time in the past three years that a male athlete from the SEC won the fan vote (Deon Lendore, 2014). It’s the first time since the inception of the fan vote in 2009 that a female athlete from the SEC earned the overwhelming support of the general public.

How do the winners of The Bowerman Fan Vote fare in the actual proceedings? Three men who won The Bowerman Fan Vote hoisted the 35-pound trophy (Ngoni Makusha, 2011; Cam Levins, 2012; Deon Lendore, 2014), while three women did the same (Jenny Barringer, 2009; Jessica Beard, 2011; Laura Roesler, 2014).

Winners of The Bowerman will be announced in December at the annual U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Convention in Orlando, Florida. This year’s convention will be held at the JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes Resort and Spa.

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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