The Bowerman: 2022 Men’s Watch List Update #4

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

You better believe The Bowerman Watch List Committee has eyes everywhere.

Here are the ten men on The Bowerman Mid-Outdoor Watch List, as released on Thursday by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA): Trey Cunningham of Florida State, Emmanuel Ihemeje of Oregon, Eliud Kipsang of Alabama, Brandon Miller of Texas A&M, Abdihamid Nur of Northern Arizona, Ayden Owens 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 #4 — April 21

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

ALSO RECEIVING VOTES Mykolas Alekna, California (Discus); Trevor Bassitt, Ashland (Sprints/Hurdles); Matthew Boling, Georgia (Sprints/Jumps); Sean Burrell, LSU (Hurdles); Joseph Fahnbulleh, Florida (Sprints)

NEXT UPDATE: Thursday, May 5

Cunningham, who hails from Winfield, Alabama, opened his outdoor season with an in-season collegiate PR of 13.22 in the 110-meter hurdles (You might remember that he went 13.21 twice last June at the U.S. Olympic Trials). During the indoor season, Cunningham came within 0.03 seconds of tying the collegiate record in the 60H set by 2019 The Bowerman winner Grant Holloway, who also holds the world record in the event: Cunningham won the NCAA title in 7.38; Holloway nabbed the 2019 crown in 7.35). Cunningham one-upped Holloway in one regard, though: he is the only athlete in collegiate history with three or more sub-7.42s.

Ihemeje, who hails from Bergamo, Italy, soared to the collegiate lead in the triple jump in his first meet of the outdoor season. Competing at the Mt. SAC Relays this past weekend, Ihemeje bounded a windy 17.00m (55-9¼), more than three feet farther than his season-opening mark from 2021. Ihemeje has only lost twice as a collegian, but never at the NCAA Championships, as he’ll look to become the first male athlete since Walter Davis in 2001 and 2002 to sweep the NCAA indoor and outdoor triple jump titles in back-to-back years in less than two months.

Kipsang, who hails from Eldoret, Kenya, broke the year-old collegiate record in the 1500 meters this past weekend at the Bryan Clay Invitational. The Alabama star traversed the distance in 3:33.74 to better Yared Nuguse’s former collegiate record by nearly one full second. Kipsang is no stranger to quick running, as he clocked an indoor mile PR of 3:54.36 back in February. He will look to win his first NCAA title in June (Kipsang finished eighth in the mile last month).

Miller, who hails from St. Louis, Missouri, will look to build on his outdoor debut in his signature 800-meter distance this past weekend at the Tom Jones Memorial. The Texas A&M standout, who went undefeated during the indoor season in the event and won the NCAA title in March, finished fifth in the race in Gainesville, Florida, with a mark of 1:47.20. Don’t forget that Miller became the third-fastest athlete in collegiate history over the same distance indoors when he turned four laps in 1:45.24 to win the event at the SEC Indoor Championships.

Nur, who hails from Phoenix, Arizona, by way of Mogadishu, Somalia, competed twice in less than three hours – at two different meets – this past weekend. 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 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.

Owens, 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 his 45.15 winner at the Tom Jones Memorial. That came two weeks after Ross set an all-conditions PR of 20.42 in the 200 meters. Ross dominated the 400-meter distance indoors and became the only man in collegiate history with two all-time top-10 marks in the event, headlined by his 44.62 to win the NCAA title. That also made him the third-fastest man in world history.

Washington, who hails from Tucson, Arizona, launched the biggest outdoor season-opening throw of his career in the shot put two weeks ago at the Sun Angel Classic. His marker came in at 20.87m (68-5¾), which puts him second on the seasonal Descending Order List. Washington, a finalist for The Bowerman in 2021, unfurled a seasonal best in the discus of 62.33m (204-6) this past weekend at the Mt. SAC Relays. During the indoor season, Washington won the shot put once again and used the seventh-farthest effort in collegiate history and the third-best mark in meet history to get it done (21.65m/71-0½, if you’re curious).  

Williams, who hails from Portland, Oregon, made quick work of the 100 meters this past weekend at the Mt. SAC Relays. How quick? Try a wind-aided 9.83 seconds that established the world lead and is tied for the seventh-fastest all-conditions mark in collegiate history. Under a roof, Williams opened the season with a blistering 6.48 effort over 60 meters at the Cougar Classic Invitational. Williams unfortunately wasn’t able to defend his 60-meter title from the 2021 NCAA Indoor Championships, as he false-started in the preliminary round.

Zahafi, who hails from Casablanca, Morocco, registered the third-fastest mark in collegiate history over 800 meters this past weekend at the Tom Jones Memorial. The Texas Tech breakout sensation stopped the clock at 1:43.69 after blowing the doors off the competition in the final 200 meters. During the indoor season, Zahafi earned collegiate PRs in both the 600 yards (1:08.29) and the 1000 meters (2:19.99) in January and February, respectively.

Five men received votes from The Bowerman Watch List Committee, but not enough to land on the Watch List: Mykolas Alekna of California, Trevor Bassitt of Ashland, Matthew Boling of Georgia, Sean “Squirrel” Burrell of LSU and Joseph Fahnbulleh of Florida.

The next Men’s Watch List will be released on May 5.

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