The Bowerman: 2021 Women’s Finalists

NEW ORLEANS – Women’s finalists for The Bowerman, collegiate track & field’s highest honor, were announced on Tuesday by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).

Tara Davis of Texas as well as the Texas A&M duo of Tyra Gittens and Athing Mu were chosen by The Bowerman Advisory Board as the most outstanding athletes in collegiate women’s track & field during the 2021 indoor and outdoor track & field seasons. Davis, Gittens and Mu combined for six NCAA individual titles (eight overall), a share of nine collegiate records and 20 all-time top-10 marks.

This is the first time in award history that two women from the same program have been named finalists (It has happened four times on the men’s side, including back-to-back years in 2017 and 2018, with athletes from Texas A&M and Southern California, respectively).

THE BOWERMAN HISTORY: Past Winners & Finalists (2009-2019)
FINALIST FACT SHEETS: Tara Davis | Tyra Gittens | Athing Mu

The Bowerman Advisory Board is a panel of track & field experts from around the nation who select the finalists based on performances recorded during the 2021 indoor and outdoor track & field seasons. Only performances from December 1, 2020, through the conclusion of the 2021 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Eugene, Oregon, were eligible for consideration. That means any marks or performances from the recently completed U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Track & Field weren’t considered.

Davis, who hails from Agoura Hills, California, swept the NCAA long jump titles and unified the collegiate indoor and outdoor records in that event – a combination last seen in the same year by Carol Lewis in 1983. Her collegiate records and first NCAA crown all came within the span of three weeks in March. It was at the NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships in Fayetteville, Arkansas, where her effort of 6.93m (22-9) not only topped the podium, but broke the collegiate indoor record previously shared by Whitney Gipson and Elva Goulbourne. Just two weeks later, Davis captured the event crown at the Texas Relays with a leap of 7.14m (23-5¼) to smash a 35-year-old collegiate outdoor record held by the legendary Jackie Joyner. Davis’ undefeated outdoor season in the long jump got even better, as she added three marks that equaled the fourth-best performance on the all-time chart. She capped the year with a come-from-behind victory at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships, where she soared 6.70m (21-11¾) in Round 5 to secure the sweep. Don’t forget that Davis also won the 100 hurdles at the Big 12 Outdoor Championships.

Gittens, who hails from Saint Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago, scored the most team points out of any individual at the NCAA Indoor and Outdoor Championships, regardless of gender. When all was said and done, Gittens amassed 50 points behind three NCAA titles, one runner-up finish and two more third-place efforts. Two of those titles came at the NCAA Indoor Championships where she broke the collegiate record in the pentathlon (4746) on her way to becoming the first athlete in meet history to win both the high jump and pentathlon in the same year. Her historic year continued outdoors, most notably at the SEC Outdoor Championships in College Station, Texas. Gittens totaled 6418 points to move up to No. 3 all-time in the heptathlon and, in doing so, soared 6.96m (22-10) in the long jump and cleared 1.95m (6-4¾) in the high jump to take spots Nos. 4 and 6 on the all-time chart in those events, respectively. If that wasn’t enough, Gittens is the only woman in world history to hit those marks within the confines of a multi. Gittens kept it rolling to win the NCAA heptathlon crown by 118 points in Eugene, Oregon. In addition to those outstanding performances, Gittens finished runner-up in the outdoor long jump and took third in both the indoor long jump and outdoor high jump at the NCAA Championships.

Mu, who hails from Trenton, New Jersey, accumulated four collegiate records and 10 all-time top-10 marks in individual events during her lone collegiate year and added blazing anchor legs to polish off a pair of record-setting relays. Indoors, Mu obliterated collegiate records in both the 600 (1:25.80) and 800 (1:58.40) with additional all-time top-10 efforts in each event. Between those, Mu went 50.52 over 400 meters for the fifth-fastest performance in collegiate indoor history. Mu would later finish runner-up in that event at the NCAA Indoor Championships and anchored the Aggies to 4×400 victory with a 49.54 split, the fastest ever recorded in world history. It didn’t take long for Mu to leave her mark outdoors, unifying the 800-meter collegiate records with a scintillating 1:57.73 effort in mid-April at the Michael Johnson Invitational. That would be Mu’s last 800 as a collegian as she eschewed the event to focus on the 400 in the postseason. Mu targeted 2016 The Bowerman winner Courtney Okolo’s collegiate record in the event of 49.71 and got progressively quicker each time out: 50.04 in the prelims at the SEC Outdoor Championships; 49.84 in the final at the SEC Outdoor Championships; 49.68, to break the collegiate record, at the NCAA DI West Preliminary Round in College Station, Texas; 49.57, to win her only NCAA individual title and lower the CR, at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.

Fan voting for The Bowerman begins tomorrow on TheBowerman.org and runs through Tuesday, July 20.

Davis, Gittens and Mu will be feted on Friday, December 17, at the annual USTFCCCA Convention, which will be held at the JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes Resort & Spa in Orlando, Florida. One of these three incredible athletes will take home collegiate track & field’s highest honor that same night following The Bowerman Presentation.

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
  • 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
  • Jarrion Lawson, 2016 men’s winner of The Bowerman
  • Christian Coleman, 2017 men’s winner of The Bowerman
  • Michael Norman, 2018 men’s winner of The Bowerman
  • Grant Holloway, 2019 men’s winner of The Bowerman
  • Jenny Barringer, 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
  • Courtney Okolo, 2016 women’s winner of The Bowerman
  • Raevyn Rogers, 2017 women’s winner of The Bowerman
  • Keturah Orji, 2018 women’s winner of The Bowerman
  • Sha’Carri Richardson, 2019 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 online fan vote will open Wednesday, July 14 at 4 pm ET.

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

2016
Winner: Jarrion Lawson, Arkansas
Finalist: Donavan Brazier, Texas A&M
Finalist: Edward Cheserek, Oregon

2017
Winner: Christian Coleman, Tennessee
Finalist: Fred Kerley, Texas A&M
Finalist: Lindon Victor, Texas A&M

2018
Winner: Michael Norman, Southern California
Finalist: Rai Benjamin, Southern California
Finalist: Grant Holloway, Florida

2019
Winner: Grant Holloway, Florida
Finalist: Mondo Duplantis, LSU
Finalist: Divine Oduduru, Texas Tech

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

2016
Winner: Courtney Okolo, Texas
Finalist: Keturah Orji, Georgia
Finalist: Raven Saunders, Ole Miss

2017
Winner: Raevyn Rogers, Oregon
Finalist: Maggie Ewen, Arizona State
Finalist: Keturah Orji, Georgia

2018
Winner: Keturah Orji, Georgia
Finalist: Maggie Ewen, Arizona State
Finalist: Sydney McLaughlin, Kentucky

2019
Winner: Sha’Carri Richardson, LSU
Finalist: Janeek Brown, Arkansas
Finalist: Yanis David, Florida

ABOUT THE BOWERMAN

The Bowerman, which debuted in 2009 and is named after former University of Oregon coach Bill Bowerman, is presented annually by the USTFCCCA to the most outstanding male and female collegiate track & field athletes in the nation.

Bill Bowerman served the sport of track and field in numerous ways. His leadership as president of 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 thousands of coaching members encompassing NCAA track & field programs (DI, DII, and DIII) and includes members representing the NAIA and 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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The Bowerman Presentation Archive