The Bowerman: 2018 Men’s Semifinalists

NEW ORLEANS – From thousands to 10 and from these 10, there will be three.

Men’s semifinalists for The Bowerman – collegiate track & field’s highest honor – were announced Thursday by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).

The Bowerman: 2018 Men’s Semifinalists

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

Rai Benjamin JR Southern California Sprints/Hurdles Mount Vernon, N.Y.
Denzel Comenentia JR Georgia Throws Amsterdam, Netherlands
Tim Duckworth SR Kentucky Combined Events Phoenix, Ariz.
Elijah Hall SR Houston Sprints Katy, Texas
Grant Holloway SO Florida Hurdles/Jumps Chesapeake, Va.
Josh Kerr SO (i)/JR (o) New Mexico Mid-Distance Edinburgh, Scotland
Chris Nilsen SO South Dakota Pole Vault Kansas City, Mo.
Michael Norman SO Southern California Sprints Murrieta, Calif.
Anderson Peters RS FR Mississippi State Throws St. Andrews, Grenada
Michael Saruni SO UTEP Mid-Distance Ravine, Kenya
Also Receiving Votes: Akeem Bloomfield (Auburn), Isaiah Harris (Penn State), Divine Oduduru (Texas Tech)
NEXT: June 21 (Finalists)

The Bowerman Watch List Committee recognized the Southern California duo of Rai Benjamin and Michael Norman, Georgia’s Denzel Comenentia, Kentucky’s Tim Duckworth, Houston’s Elijah Hall, Florida’s Grant Holloway, New Mexico’s Josh Kerr, South Dakota’s Chris Nilsen, Mississippi State’s Anderson Peters and UTEP’s Michael Saruni as the top male performers throughout the entirety of the 2018 collegiate track & field campaign spanning indoors and outdoors.

Benjamin did something in Eugene, Oregon, this past weekend that only two men in history had accomplished before. The junior from Mount Vernon, New York, shattered the collegiate record in the 400 hurdles with his time of 47.02, which also tied him as the second best performer with the second fastest time in world history. Benjamin also ran the second leg of a collegiate-record setting 4×400 relay that gave Southern California the indoor-outdoor sweep of the event.

Norman cruised to the indoor-outdoor sweep in the 400 this past weekend and broke the year-old collegiate record in the process. The sophomore from Murrieta, California, turned one lap in 43.61, which also left him as the sixth fastest performer in world history. Norman also anchored the Trojans’ 4×400 relay in 43.62, two weeks after splitting a 43.06 on the anchor leg, which is the second fastest split in world history.

Comenentia became just the third man in NCAA DI history – first since 2008 – to capture the shot put and hammer titles at the same NCAA meet. The junior from Amsterdam, Netherlands PR’d in the hammer with a heave of 76.41m (250-8) that made him the 10th best performer in collegiate history and the sixth best in meet history.

Duckworth entered the NCAA meet as the prohibitive favorite in the decathlon and left with the hardware to show for it. The senior from Phoenix, Arizona, amassed 8336 points to win by 199 points and became the seventh best performer in NCAA history. Duckworth is also the first man to sweep the indoor and outdoor multi titles since Ashton Eaton in 2010.

Hall rallied from an injury-plagued outdoor season to finish runner-up in the 100 to teammate Cameron Burrell and ran the second leg of a collegiate-record setting 4×100 relay. The senior from Katy, Texas, doubled up on NCAA titles during the indoor season in the 60 and 200, the latter of which he set an American and collegiate record of 20.02.

Holloway pulled quadruple duty at Historic Hayward Field in the 110 hurdles, long jump as well as the 4×100 relay and 4×400 relay. The sophomore from Chesapeake, Virginia, defended his crown in the 110 hurdles, took the baton third on the third-place 4×100 relay, anchored the fourth-place 4×400 relay and finished ninth in the long jump. During the regular season, he was just the third collegian to break 13.20 in the 110 hurdles twice and is the first man to sweep the hurdle titles in back-to-back years since Terrence Trammell in 1999 and 2000.

Kerr and Saruni, who both set collegiate records during the outdoor season in the 1500 and 800, respectively, were unable to complement their NCAA indoor titles in Eugene, Oregon. Kerr won the indoor mile, yet finished third in the 1500 this past weekend. Saruni won the 800-meter title indoors and finished third in the outdoor version.

Nilsen won the second NCAA title of his young career in record-breaking fashion. The sophomore from Kansas City, Missouri, bettered a 22-year-old meet record in the pole vault when he cleared 5.83m (19-1½). Nilsen went over 19 feet five times during the outdoor season, including twice at the NCAA meet.

Peters made quick work of the javelin final in the Beaver State. The freshman from St. Andrews, Grenada, smashed the meet record with his heave of 82.82m (271-9) on his third attempt, which eventually gave him the victory by more than eight feet.

Three men were considered by the Watch List Committee, but didn’t receive enough votes to be included as semifinalists: Auburn’s Akeem Bloomfield, Penn State’s Isaiah Harris and Texas Tech’s Divine Oduduru.

Finalists for The Bowerman will be announced Thursday, June 21, while the winner will be revealed four months later at the annual USTFCCCA Convention in San Antonio, Texas.

NOTES: Florida has the most semifinalists in the history of The Bowerman (8) … Grant Holloway is the third two-time semifinalist in program history for the Gators … Five underclassmen are semifinalists for The Bowerman (Holloway, Chris Nilsen, Michael Norman and Anderson Peters and Michael Saruni), which is an all-time high … Saruni is the seventh Kenyan-born semifinalist in the history of The Bowerman.


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