The Bowerman: 2022 Men’s Preseason Watch List

NEW ORLEANS – The Road to Mr. Bowerman 2022 starts here!

Nearly three weeks to the day after JuVaughn Harrison took home The Bowerman in 2021, we look ahead to the upcoming year of collegiate track & field with the unveiling of the Men’s Preseason Watch List for the sport’s highest individual honor.

Here are the 10 men on said Watch List in 2022, which was released on Thursday by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA): Sean “Squirrel” Burrell of LSU, Trey Cunningham of Florida State, Joseph Fahnbulleh of Florida, Emmanuel Ihemeje of Oregon, Wesley Kiptoo of Iowa State, Brandon Miller of Texas A&M, Yared Nuguse of Notre Dame, Randolph Ross of North Carolina A&T, Karel Tilga of Georgia and 2021 finalist Turner Washington of Arizona State.

The Bowerman Men’s Watch List

2022 Preseason — January 6

Year Team Events Hometown
Sean BurrellSOLSUHurdlesZachary, La.
Trey CunninghamSRFlorida StateHurdlesWinfield, Ala.
Joseph FahnbullehSOFloridaSprintsHopkins, Minn.
Emmanuel IhemejeSOOregonJumpsBergamo, Italy
Wesley KiptooJRIowa StateDistanceMarakwet, Kenya
Zach McWhorterSOBYUPole VaultSpringdale, Ark.
Brandon MillerSOTexas A&MMid-DistanceSt. Louis, Mo.
Yared NuguseSRNotre DameMid-Distance/DistanceLouisville, Ky.
Randolph RossJRNorth Carolina A&TSprintsGarner, N.C.
Turner WashingtonSRArizona StateThrowsTucson, Ariz.

ALSO RECEIVING VOTES: Trevor Bassitt, Ashland (Sprints/Hurdles); Brandon Ellis, Stephen F. Austin (Pole Vault); Isaac Grimes, Florida State (Jumps); Zach McWhorter, BYU (Pole Vault); Abdihamed Nur, Northern Arizona (Distance); Tripp Piperi, Texas (Throws); Micah Williams, Oregon (Sprints); Noah Williams, LSU (Sprints)

NEXT UPDATE: Thursday, February 3

All told, this accomplished group of athletes combined to win 13 NCAA titles last year and left their mark on the all-time collegiate lists. Six of those men appear on the Watch List for the first time – Burrell, Fahnbulleh, Ihemeje, Kiptoo, Miller and Ross – which is second-most in The Bowerman history behind eight from the 2017 Preseason Watch List.

This is a good place for an athlete to be, as seven of the past eight winners landed spots on the first Watch List of the season: JuVaughn Harrison (2021), Grant Holloway (2019), Christian Coleman (2017), Jarrion Lawson (2016), Marquis Dendy (2015), Deon Lendore (2014), Derek Drouin (2013). It should be mentioned that while there wasn’t a Preseason Watch List in 2021, Harrison headlined the Mid-Indoor Watch List after his historic 2019 outdoor campaign.

If you hadn’t heard of Burrell before the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships last year, he made sure that you wouldn’t forget his name after the meet concluded. Burrell, who hails from Zachary, Louisiana, won the 400 hurdles in 47.85, which established a since-ratified world U20 record and made him just the fifth man in collegiate history to go sub-48 seconds.

Cunningham, who hails from Winfield, Alabama, has made seven appearances on The Bowerman Watch List in the past two years, including four in 2021. He didn’t compete at the NCAA DI Outdoor Championships last year, but placed third in the final of the 60H at the indoor meet. Cunningham lowered his in-season 110H PR to 13.28 in mid-April and while accolades after the conclusion of the final NCAA meet of the year don’t count for Bowerman consideration, he went 13.21 to finish fourth at the U.S. Olympic Trials this past June.

Fahnbulleh, who hails from Hopkins, Minnesota, parlayed momentum from a breakthrough indoor season to a sensational outdoor campaign. After finishing third in the 200 at the indoor meet, Fahnbulleh won the outdoor title in 19.91 and became the second-fastest freshman in collegiate history behind fellow Florida great John Capel. That marks also slots Fahnbulleh at No. 8 overall with just 0.05 seconds separating him from the all-time top-5. Fahnbulleh later finished fifth in the 200 at the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Ihemeje, who hails from Bergamo, Italy, swept the triple jump titles at the NCAA Championships and was the first male athlete to do so since 2015 The Bowerman winner Marquis Dendy six years prior. He went 5-1 in final competition with his lone loss coming at the Pac-12 Championships and notched his in-season PR of 17.26m (56-7½) at the NCAA Indoor Championships to move into a tie for No. 6 on the all-time collegiate chart (Allen Simms).

Kiptoo, who hails from Markwet, Kenya, is a star in distance events. Just about one month ago, Kiptoo became the third-fastest man in collegiate history over 5000 meters indoors with his 13:14.74 at the BU Sharon Colyear-Danville Season Opener. That was the quickest mark in that event since 2012, when Arizona teammates Lawi Lalang and Stephen Sambu scorched the track at the NYRR Millrose Games. Kiptoo also altered history at the NCAA Indoor Championships last year in Fayetteville, Arkansas, when he broke the meet record in the 5000 at 13:23.77.

McWhorter, who hails from Springdale, Arkansas, and replaces Karel Tilga (turned pro) on the Watch List, started the indoor season with a bag. He cleared 5.82m (19-1) in the pole vault to match the No. 8 performer in collegiate history and become the first collegian to clear 5.79m (19-0) that early in the season. McWhorter finished runner-up in the pole vault at the NCAA DI Indoor Championships last year.

Miller, who hails from St. Louis, Missouri, is the top-finishing returner in the 800 from the NCAA DI Outdoor Championships this past June. He took runner-up honors behind Isaiah Jewitt of Southern California in a new PR of 1:44.97. Already this season, Miller asserted himself with a blistering 1:15.49 over 600 meters, which ranks him No. 6 in collegiate history. Two of the men in front of Miller on the 600 chart – Michael Saruni and Emmanuel Korir – sit high up on the all-time collegiate list in both the indoor and outdoor 800, so he’s in good company.

Nuguse, who hails from Louisville, Kentucky, is the collegiate record holder in the 1500 at 3:34.68, a mark that he ran in a solo effort at the ACC Outdoor Championships last year. He later finished second in that event at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in a thrilling duel against 2021 The Bowerman finalist Cole Hocker. Nuguse went 3:35.60 in Eugene, Oregon, which comes in at No. 7 on the all-time chart and made him the only man in collegiate history with two all-time top-10 marks in the 1500 (He also has the 11th-fastest performance, too).

Ross, who hails from Raleigh, North Carolina, won three NCAA titles during the 2021 season (one individual, two relay). He helped North Carolina A&T to a sweep of the 4×400 relay titles with a pair of sizzling carries and captured the open 400 crown outdoors with a mark of 43.85, which left him as the third-fastest performer in collegiate history. Ross took the Aggies from seventh to first in the 4×400 at the NCAA Outdoor Championships on the second leg.

Washington, who hails from Tucson, Arizona, needs no introduction. A finalist for The Bowerman in 2021, Washington went undefeated in throwing events last year, grabbed three NCAA titles along the way and became just the second man in NCAA DI history to win both the indoor and outdoor shot put crowns and add the discus title to his resume in the same year. Not a bad haul, right? Washington also set the collegiate indoor record in the shot put at 21.85m (71-8¼) and tallied an all-time top-10 mark in the discus at 66.26m (217-5).

Eight men received votes, but not enough to land on the Preseason Watch List: Trevor Bassitt of Ashland, Branson Ellis of Stephen F. Austin, Isaac Grimes of Florida State, Abdihamid Nur of Northern Arizona, Tripp Piperi of Texas, Micah Williams of Oregon and Noah Williams of LSU.

The next Men’s Watch List is scheduled for February 3.

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