SEC Adds Two To Women’s Version Of Bowerman Watch List

NEW ORLEANS — All season long, there has been a power struggle between the SEC and the University of Oregon on the woman’s version of The Bowerman Award Watch List.

The Preseason Watch List saw three Ducks and five SEC athletes, before Oregon took the reins during the February Watch  List with a record-breaking five athletes to the SEC’s four.

For March, the addition of women from Texas A&M and Kentucky swung the balance back in favor of the SEC. All but one member of the March Watch List hails from either Oregon or the SEC.

The Bowerman Women’s Watch List:
2017 Pre-Indoor Championship Edition

(Click student-athletes’ names for their TFRRS page)

Hannah Cunliffe JR Oregon Sprints Federal Way, Wash.
Kaela Edwards SR Oklahoma State Mid-Distance Highlands Ranch, Colo.
Jazmine Fray SO Texas A&M Mid-Distance Long Island, N.Y.
Keturah Orji JR Georgia Jumps Mount Olive, N.J.
Raevyn Rogers JR Oregon Mid-Distance Houston, Texas
Raven Saunders JR Mississippi Throws Charleston, S.C.
Sha’Keela Saunders SR Kentucky Jumps Suffolk, Va.
Sasha Wallace SR Oregon Hurdles Castro Valley, Calif.
Ariana Washington RS SO Oregon Sprints Signal Hill, Calif.
Kendell Williams SR Georgia Combined Events Marietta, Ga.
Also Receiving Votes: Quanesha Burks (Alabama), Lexi Weeks (Arkansas), Tori Weeks (Arkansas), Jasmine Camacho-Quinn (Kentucky), Deajah Stevens (Oregon)
NEXT: March 15

The Aggies’ Jazmine Fray and the Wildcats’ Sha’Keela Saunders join Mississippi’s Raven Saunders and a pair of Georgia Bulldogs in Keturah Orji and Kendall Williams in the newest Bowerman Watch List, released Wednesday by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).

Fray and Sha’Keela Saunders are certainly deserving of this honor. In the month of February, both laid claim to the top spot in at least one event in the Division I Descending Order List.

Fray had a historic day at the Clemson Tiger Paw Indoor in early February, as she broke the collegiate indoor 800 meter record with a time of 2:00.69 that bettered the previous record of 2:00.75 set by Tennessee’s Nicole Cook in Feb. 2005. Fray wasn’t done in that meet, however, as the sophomore from Long Island, New York, joined forces with three other athletes to compete in the 4 x 400 relay, compiling a time of 3:29.74 that stands as the fastest in Division I on the year.

Sha’Keela Saunders saved her best performance for last, as the senior from Suffolk, Virginia, captured the SEC title in the long jump with a Division I-best mark of 6.82m (22-4½). She also notched the 14th-best triple jump mark on the year in Division I at the SEC Championships, leaping 13.32m (43-8½).

Raven Saunders (no relation to fellow Bowerman Watch List honoree Sha’Keela) held her lead in the shot put in Division I, despite only competing in three meets in February. The junior captured the shot put event title at the New Mexico Classic and at the Music City Challenge before winning gold at the SEC Championships. But she also added a quality weight throw mark to her name this month, as the native of South Carolina recorded a toss of 21.67m (71-1¼) at the New Mexico Classic, good for 8th in Division I.

Orji came up huge at the SEC Championships, as she made her way to the podium twice for the Bulldogs. Her 1st-place winning triple jump performance of 14.32m (46-11¾) was good for 1st in the nation, and also broke an indoor collegiate record set by LSU’s Suzette Lee back in March 1997. Orji also posted two other triple jump marks on the day that were further than Lee’s. Orji’s long jump mark of 6.72m (22-0¾) was good for 3rd place at the SEC Championships, as well as the 3rd-best leap in Division I.

Like Orji, Williams had a huge day for Georgia at the SEC Championships, as the senior captured gold in the pentathlon with a point total of 4686, good for 1st in Division I this year, while standing as the 2nd-best performance in collegiate indoor history. Williams ran an 8.04 in the 60 hurdles, ranking 9th in Division I this season, while tying for the 12th-best high jump in the nation on the season at 1.84m (6-0½).

Oregon saw four athletes on the list in Hannah Cunliffe, Raevyn Rogers, Sasha Wallace and Ariana Washington after posting five last month.

Cunliffe won gold in Seattle at the MPSF Indoor Track & Field Championships in the 60 meters, running a 7.15 in just her second meet of February. The junior product out of Federal Way, Washington, set the Division I standard in the event at the Don Kirby Invitational earlier in the month, breaking a two-year old collegiate indoor record by running a time of 7.07.

Wallace shredded the competition in the 60 hurdles at the MPSF Indoor Track & Field Championships, running a 7.95, which was a good .16 seconds faster than second place. The senior from Castro Valley, California, also placed first at the Don Kirby Invitational in the event with a time of 7.99.

Washington finished second to her teammate Cunliffe in the 60 meters with a time of 7.25. That time stands at 10th in Division I on the season. Additionally, the lone redshirt athlete on the list posted the 6th-best 200 meter time at the Don Kirby Invitational, running an altitude-converted 22.87.

Rogers didn’t play a role for the Ducks at the MPSF Indoor Track & Field Championships, but that did  not stop the native of Houston from having a solid month. The junior was a part of the 3rd-best Division I 4×400 relay team that posted a time of 3:29.85 at the Don Kirby Invitational.

Not to be forgotten, Kaela Edwards of Oklahoma State had a spectacular month to keep herself on the Watch List. The product from Highlands Ranch, Colorado, had an unbelievably strong showing at the 110th NYRR Millrose Games, where she ran top time in Division I on the year during the Wanamaker Mile, finishing in 4:28.75, that also stands as the 7th-fastest time in indoor collegiate history. She also helped the Cowgirls capture gold at the Big XII Championships in the distance medley relay with  time of 11:19.02, while also placing 1st in the 800 meters with a time of 2:04.77.

Dropping from the Watch List – but still receiving votes – was Alabama’s Quanesha Burks and Oregon’s Deajah Stevens. Also receiving votes was Kentucky’s Jasmine Camacho-Quinn and twin pole vaulters Lexi and Tori Weeks from Arkansas.

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