The Bowerman: 2021 Men’s Semifinalists

NEW ORLEANS – And then there were 10.

Here are the men’s semifinalists for The Bowerman: Sean Burrell of LSU, Robert Dunning of Alabama, JuVaughn Harrison of LSU, Cole Hocker of Oregon, Terrance Laird of LSU, KC Lightfoot of Baylor, Randolph Ross of North Carolina A&T, Cooper Teare of Oregon, Karel Tilga of Georgia and Turner Washington of Arizona State.

This incredible group combined to win 21 NCAA titles, set four collegiate records and notch 30 all-time top-10 marks in 2021.

The Bowerman Watch List: 2021 Men’s Semifinalists

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

Sean Burrell FR LSU Hurdles Zachary, La.
Robert Dunning SR Alabama Hurdles Atlanta, Ga.
JuVaughn Harrison SR(i)/JR(o) LSU Jumps Huntsville, Ala.
Cole Hocker SO Oregon Distance Indianapolis, Ind.
Terrance Laird SR(i)/JR(o) LSU Sprints Coatesville, Pa.
KC Lightfoot JR(i)/SO(o) Baylor Pole Vault Lee’s Summit, Mo.
Randolph Ross SO North Carolina A&T Sprints Garner, N.C.
Cooper Teare SR(i)/JR(o) Oregon Distance Alameda, Calif.
Karel Tilga JR Georgia Combined Events Tartu, Estonia
Turner Washington JR(i)/SO(o) Arizona State Throws Tucson, Ariz.
NEXT: Finalists (TBD)

Burrell, who hails from Zachary, Louisiana, hurdled his way into the record book this past weekend at the 2021 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships. It was in Eugene, Oregon, where Burrell equaled the fourth-fastest performer with the fourth-fastest performance in collegiate history in the 400 hurdles at 47.85. Burrell, who finished runner-up in the event at the SEC Outdoor Championships improved his PR nearly three seconds from 50.83 to 47.85.

Dunning, who hails from Atlanta, Georgia, polished off an undefeated outdoor season in the 110 hurdles at Hayward Field. The Crimson Tide standout blasted a wind-legal 13.25 winner, which was just off his seasonal wind-legal PR of 13.24 (Dunning also clocked a wind-aided 13.15 to win the event title at the SEC Outdoor Championships). What is even more impressive might be the fact that Dunning’s mark at NCAAs came into a 0.6 m/s headwind, making it the fastest ever run into those conditions in meet history.

Harrison, who hails from Huntsville, Alabama, capped a dominant year in both the high jump and long jump in Track Town, USA. “Mr. Jumps,” as he’s affectionately known to Tiger Nation, went undefeated in the high jump and 5-2 in the long jump against collegians in 2021. None of those losses came at the NCAA Championships, where Harrison completed the high jump-long jump double twice – a previously unprecedented feat that he made routine. Harrison etched his name all over the all-time collegiate charts, equaling the second-best clearance in the outdoor high jump at 2.36m (7-8¾) and notching three all-time top-10 efforts in the long jump – No. 4 (8.45m/27-8¾) and No. 10 (8.33m/27-4) indoors; No. 9 (8.44m/27-8¼) outdoors.

Hocker, who hails from Indianapolis, Indiana, starred in mid-distance and distance events throughout the collegiate track & field year. He won three NCAA titles – sweeping the mile-3000 at the indoor meet and snagging the 1500 crown outdoors – and finished fourth in the 5000 after doubling back from the 1500. Hocker sizzled the track in each of those title-winning races, as well, setting a meet record in the indoor mile (3:53.71) and barely missing meet records in both the indoor 3000 and outdoor 1500 by a combined 0.26 seconds. The Indiana native had a memorable indoor season, becoming the second-fastest collegian and eighth-fastest man in world history in the mile (3:50.55) and helping Oregon set an all-time world best in the DMR.

Laird, who hails from Coatesville, Pennsylvania, left his mark on the short sprints in 2021. It was just this past weekend at the NCAA Outdoor Championships where Laird scored a gender-high 20½ points thanks to a victory in the 100, anchoring the title-winning 4×100 relay and taking runner-up honors in the 200 for his only outdoor loss of the year in that event. Earlier in the season, Laird became the third-fastest performer in collegiate history in the outdoor 200 with his 19.81 effort at the Texas Relays and added a 19.82 ripper for good measure. Laird is also the seventh-fastest performer indoors with his 20.20 runner-up clocking at NCAAs.

Lightfoot, who hails from Lee’s Summit, Missouri, certainly made an impression on The Bowerman Watch List Committee during the indoor season. The now-professional Lightfoot hit seven all-time top-10 marks in the pole vault, including the collegiate record of 6.00m (19-8¼) to become just the 13th man in world history to summit that height under a roof. Lightfoot had originally broken the collegiate record on January 16 (5.94m/19-5¾), then raised the bar twice more – January 29 (5.95m/19-6¼) and then on February 13 to its current resting place.

Ross, who hails from Raleigh, North Carolina, made expert use of two one-lap circuits on the final day of men’s competition at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. First, Ross won the open 400 in 43.85, which made him the third-fastest performer in collegiate history (He also crossed the finish line 0.59 seconds ahead of Bryce Deadmon of Texas A&M, tying the largest margin of victory in the event since 1992). Then, Ross split 43.8h on the second leg of the 4×400 relay to take North Carolina A&T from sixth to first, a spot it wouldn’t relinquish. During the indoor season, Ross became the ninth-fastest performer in collegiate history in the 400 with his 44.99 runner-up effort at NCAAs and led off the Aggies’ title-winning 4×400 relay.

Teare, who hails from Alameda, California, rewrote the collegiate record book in the mile and the NCAA Outdoor Championships record book in the 5000. It was back in February where Teare went 3:50.39 in the mile at the Tyson Invitational to obliterate the collegiate record and become the seventh-fastest man in world history. Two weeks earlier, Teare anchored Oregon to an all-time world best in the DMR of 9:19.42 and six weeks after that, helped the Ducks to the NCAA title in that event with another all-time mark. Teare continued to lay down quick times during the outdoor season and stamped it with an NCAA title-winning 13:12.27 effort over 5000 meters that took six seconds off the meet record and left him No. 2 in collegiate history.

Tilga, who hails from Tartu, Estonia, swept the multis at the NCAA Championships and put up two legendary totals at various junctures. The first – 6264 – won Tilga the indoor heptathlon and made him the No. 2 performer in collegiate history behind Ashton Eaton. The second – 8484 – came in Tilga’s 2021 decathlon debut at the Spec Towns Invitational, which rocketed him all the way to No. 2 on the all-time collegiate chart in that multi.

Washington, who hails from Tucson, Arizona, became just the third man in NCAA DI history to sweep the indoor and outdoor shot-put titles and add a discus crown all in the same year (John Godina of UCLA and Ryan Whiting of Arizona State are the others). In a word, Washington was dominant. Washington ended the indoor season with eight of the top-10 seasonal marks in the discus, seven of the top-10 seasonal marks in the outdoor shot put and four of the top-10 in the indoor shot put, including the collegiate record of 21.85m (71-8¼).

Finalists will be announced at a later date.


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