The Bowerman Award: What’s At Stake

ORLANDO — The big day is almost here.

When the final event of the 2016 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships wrapped up, the debate began as to who would win The Bowerman Award, the highest individual honor in collegiate track & field.

By June 15 and 16, any of those names thrown around were whittled down to 10 when the women’s and men’s semifinalists were announced.

Then one week later, those 10 men and women were narrowed down to three for each gender: Donavan Brazier, Edward Cheserek and Jarrion Lawson for the men; Courtney Okolo, Keturah Orji and Raven Saunders for the women.

Tomorrow night we’ll find out which two athletes get to hold the 35-pound trophy during The Bowerman Award Ceremony, which you can watch LIVE, exclusively on FloTrack at 7 p.m.

But for now, let’s figure out what’s at stake for The Bowerman Award.

Going For A Three-Peat

It took the SEC six years to win its first The Bowerman Award on the men’s side.

One of the nation’s premier conferences had finalists in 2011 and 2012, but it wasn’t until Texas A&M’s Deon Lendore sprinted his way past two distance standouts (Edward Cheserek and Lawi Lalang) in 2014 that the SEC would call the award its own.

Well, Lendore got the ball rolling and it’s picking up momentum.

Last year The Bowerman Award went to Florida’s Marquis Dendy, giving the SEC back-to-back winners.

This year the SEC has a great chance of making it three in a row. We’d put the probability at 66.67 percent, simply because two of the three finalists for The Bowerman Award are from the SEC (Donvan Brazier and Jarrion Lawson).

No conference has won three times in a row in the history of The Bowerman Award.

Youth Movement

The Bowerman Award has never gone to an underclassman.

That could all change tomorrow night at the Orlando Grande Lakes Resort.

Three of the six finalists are underclassmen: Donvan Brazier, Keturah Orji and Raven Saunders. Brazier was a freshman at Texas A&M before turning professional, while Orji and Saunders recently completed their sophomore seasons.

If Brazier prevails, he’d be the youngest winner in the history of The Bowerman Award at 19 years, 8 months and 1 day.

If Orji or Saunders win, either one of them would be the first sophomore winners in the history of The Bowerman Award.

Hop, Skip And Throw?

Keturah Orji and Raven Saunders have a chance to make some more history.

If Orji hoists The Bowerman Award, she’d be the first female horizontal jumper to do so.

If Saunders brings The Bowerman Award back to Oxford, Mississippi, she’d be the first thrower from either gender to be crowned the most outstanding athlete in collegiate track & field.

First Things First

What do Jarrion Lawson, Courtney Okolo, Keturah Orji and Raven Saunders all have in common?

They’d be the first winners of The Bowerman Award in their respective program’s history.

Orji and Saunders are all actually the first finalists from their respective programs.

Okolo was a finalist for The Bowerman Award two years ago (lost to Laura Roesler) and is the third finalist all-time from Texas (Destinee Hooker in 2009).

Quack Attack?

Oregon’s men dominated the first two years of The Bowerman Award.

The Ducks had four of the six finalists and took home two of the trophies that resemble a Nike swoosh from above. Galen Rupp was the inaugural men’s winner in 2009 and Ashton Eaton captured the crown in 2010.

Since then, Oregon hasn’t be as lucky.

The Ducks didn’t have a finalist in 2011, 2012 or 2013 and Edward Cheserek came up empty-handed in 2014 and 2015. Cheserek saw Deon Lendore win in 2014 and Marquis Dendy in 2015.

Cheserek is back again in 2016. Will the third time be a charm for the distance star?

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

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 two-time Olympic gold medalist, five-time World Champion and decathlon world-record holder Ashton Eaton (2010), two-time Olympic medalist Galen Rupp (2009), Olympic bronze medalist and 2011 IAAF World Champion at 1500 meters Jenny Simpson (2009), Olympic gold medalist and 2013 100-meter hurdles World Champion Brianna Rollins (2013) as well as two-time Olympic medalist in the high jump 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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