The Bowerman: 2022 Men’s Watch List Update #5

NEW ORLEANS – The race for The Bowerman is heating up!

The Bowerman Watch List Committee has its work cut out for itself.

Here are the ten athletes on the Men’s Pre-Conference Championships Watch List: Mykolas Alekna of California, Trey Cunningham of Florida State, Eliud Kipsang of Alabama, Brandon Miller of Texas A&M, Abdihamid Nur of Northern Arizona, Ayden Owens-Delerme of Arkansas, Randolph Ross Jr. of North Carolina A&T, Turner Washington of Arizona State, Micah Williams of Oregon and Moad Zahafi of Texas Tech.

The Bowerman Men’s Watch List

2022 Update #5 — May 5

Year Team Events Hometown
Mykolas AleknaFRCaliforniaDiscusVilnius, Lithuania
Trey CunninghamSRFlorida StateHurdlesWinfield, Ala.
Eliud KipsangSOAlabamaMid-DistanceKenya
Brandon MillerSOTexas A&MMid-DistanceSt. Louis, Mo.
Abdihamid NurSONorthern ArizonaDistancePhoenix, Ariz.
Ayden Owens-DelermeJRArkansasCombined EventsWexford, Pa.
Randolph RossJRNorth Carolina A&TSprintsGarner, N.C.
Turner WashingtonSRArizona StateThrowsTucson, Ariz.
Micah WilliamsSOOregonSprintsPortland, Ore.
Moad ZahafiSRTexas TechMid-DistanceCasablanca, Morocco

ALSO RECEIVING VOTES Matthew Boling, Georgia (Sprints/Jumps); Joseph Fahnbulleh, Florida (Sprints); Emmanuel Ihemeje, Oregon (Jumps)

NEXT UPDATE: Thursday, May 19

Alekna, who hails from Vilnius, Lithuania, broke a collegiate record nearly as old as him this past weekend at “The Big Meet,” a dual between rivals California and Stanford. The son of two-time Olympic gold medalist Virgiljus Alekna whirled the discus 67.68m (222-1) on his first throw to shatter the former collegiate record of 67.66m (222-0) held by Hannes Hopley since 2004. That was also the farthest effort by a teenager in world history and bettered his previous seasonal best by more than three feet. Alekna wasn’t done, though, as he notched three other marks that now reside among the all-time top-7 performances: No. 3 (67.52m/221-6), No. 6 (67.15m/220-4) and No. 7 (67.03m/219-11).

Cunningham, who hails from Winfield, Alabama, is putting together a dream season in the hurdles. After winning the 60-meter hurdles at the NCAA Indoor Championships and coming within 0.03 seconds of tying the collegiate record, among other feats, Cunningham turned his attention outdoors. Cunningham opened the outdoor campaign with an in-season collegiate PR of 13.22 in the 110-meter hurdles and then truly ripped it open this past weekend. He lowered that PR to 13.15 in the prelims of the North Florida Collegiate Invitational Meet and then went even faster – 13.10, to be exact – in the finals. Cunningham is now ranked fourth on the all-time chart behind Grant Holloway (12.98), Renaldo Nehemiah (13.00) and Daniel Roberts (13.00).

Kipsang, who hails from Eldoret, Kenya, made quick work of 1500 meters at the Bryan Clay Invitational in mid-April. How quick? Try a collegiate record of 3:33.74. Kipsang turned his focus to the 800 meters over the past few weeks, winning back-to-back individual titles at the Crimson Tide Invitational and the Mississippi State Maroon and White Invitational.

Miller, who hails from St. Louis, Missouri, doesn’t mind pushing the pace. He doesn’t even need anybody to go with him, either. Competing at the Texas A&M Alumni Muster this past weekend, Miller clocked a seasonal best of 1:46.43 over 800 meters to win by more than three seconds. Miller went undefeated in the indoor version and has an NCAA title and a No. 3 spot on the all-time collegiate chart to show for it (He traversed four laps in 1:45.24 at the SEC Indoor meet).

Nur, who hails from Phoenix, Arizona, by way of Mogadishu, Somalia, has yet to compete after turning in two solid marks within the span of three hours – at two different meets – in mid-April. The Northern Arizona phenom posted the third-fastest mark out of all competitors in the 1500 meters at the Bryan Clay Invitational of 3:36.33 (second, at the time, among collegians this year behind Kipsang) and then grooved 12½ laps in 13:42.31 at the Mt. SAC Relays. Back in March, Nur completed the 3000-5000 double at the NCAA Indoor Championships, which included a meet-record 13:19.01 in the latter. Look for a potentially quick mark from Nur in just a few weeks when he competes in the 5000 at the Sound Running Track Meet.

Owens-Delerme, who hails from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is on another echelon in the combined events this year. The Arkansas dynamo most recently broke the wind-legal collegiate record in the decathlon with his 8528-point total at the Mt. SAC Relays. That is also the second-best total in collegiate history behind Lindon Victor’s outright collegiate record of 8539 points. Owens didn’t need to come from behind in California, like he did twice during the indoor season, which included a victory in the heptathlon at the NCAA Indoor Championships. Under cover, Owens notched two all-time top-5 marks in the heptathlon: No. 2 (6272) and No. 5 (6211).

Ross, who hails from Garner, North Carolina, continued his undefeated year over 400 meters with a pair of victories in the past four weeks. He took first at the Tom Jones Memorial in 45.15 in mid-April before lowering his seasonal best to 44.95 this past weekend at the Drake Relays. Ross also helped North Carolina A&T shatter the Drake Relays meet record in the 4×100 relay, which was one of the oldest standards in their annals. During the indoor season, Ross asserted his dominance in the 400 and became the only man in collegiate history with two all-time top-10 marks in the event, headlined by his 44.62 scorcher to win the NCAA title. That also made him the third-fastest man in world history.

Washington, who hails from Tucson, Arizona, continued his undefeated streak in the shot put against collegians this past weekend at the Desert Heat Classic. The Arizona State standout is ranked among the top-6 athletes on the seasonal Descending Order List in both the discus and shot put, events that he captured NCAA titles in last year. Washington, a finalist for The Bowerman in 2021, imposed his will during the indoor season and won the shot put crown with the seventh-farthest effort in collegiate history and the third-best mark in meet history (21.65m/71-0½, if you’re curious).  

Williams, who hails from Portland Oregon, is one of the fastest collegians over 100 meters this season, regardless of wind reading. Back in mid-April, Williams blistered the track at the Mt. SAC Relays to the tune of a wind-aided 9.83 that established the world lead and was tied for the seventh-fastest all-conditions mark in collegiate history. Williams sizzled the track indoors in the 60, opening the year with a 6.48 effort at the Cougar Classic Invitational.

Zahafi, who hails from Casablanca, Morocco, is on a roll this outdoor season. The Texas Tech standout set back-to-back PRs in the past two meets, which includes the third-fastest, 800-meter mark in collegiate history of 1:43.69. Zahafi also lowered his 1500-meter best to 3:39.59 to finish runner-up at the Drake Relays behind Drake’s Isaac Basten. Under a roof, Zahafi had PRs in both the 600 yards (1:08.29) and the 1000 meters (2:19.99).

Three men received votes from The Bowerman Watch List Committee, but not enough to land on the Watch List: Matthew Boling of Georgia, Joseph Fahnbulleh of Florida and Emmanuel Ihemeje of Oregon.

The next Men’s Watch List will be released on May 19.

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