The Bowerman: 2022 Men’s Watch List Update #6

NEW ORLEANS – It’s time to find out who wants The Bowerman the most.

This is the Men’s Post-Conference Championships Watch List for The Bowerman, as released on Thursday by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) following a careful deliberation by The Bowerman Watch List Committee. Athletes on this index are considered to be front-runners for collegiate track & field’s highest individual honor going into the NCAA postseason.

Here are the ten athlete on the Watch List: Mykolas Alekna of California, Trey Cunningham of Florida State, Kyle Garland of Georgia, Emmanuel Ihemeje of Oregon, Eliud Kipsang of Alabama, Abdihamid Nur of Northern Arizona, Ayden Owens-Delerme of Arkansas, Randolph Ross Jr. of North Carolina A&T, Micah Williams of Oregon and Moad Zahafi of Texas Tech.

The Bowerman Men’s Watch List

2022 Update #6 — May 19

Year Team Events Hometown
Mykolas AleknaFRCaliforniaDiscusVilnius, Lithuania
Trey CunninghamSRFlorida StateHurdlesWinfield, Ala.
Kyle GarlandSOGeorgiaCombined EventsPhiladelphia, Pa.
Emmanuel IhemejeSOOregonJumpsBergamo, Italy
Eliud KipsangSOAlabamaMid-DistanceKenya
Abdihamid NurSONorthern ArizonaDistancePhoenix, Ariz.
Ayden Owens-DelermeJRArkansasCombined EventsWexford, Pa.
Randolph RossJRNorth Carolina A&TSprintsGarner, N.C.
Micah WilliamsSOOregonSprintsPortland, Ore.
Moad ZahafiSRTexas TechMid-DistanceCasablanca, Morocco

ALSO RECEIVING VOTES Favour Ashe, Tennessee (Sprints); Matthew Boling, Georgia (Sprints/Jumps); Mario Garcia Romo, Ole Miss (Mid-Distance/Distance); Turner Washington, Arizona State (Throws)


Alekna, who hails from Vilnius, Lithuania, continues to amaze with a disc in his hand. The son of two-time Olympic gold medalist Virgiljus Alekna whirled the platter 68.73m (225-6) at the Pac-12 Outdoor Track & Field Championships this past weekend to better his own collegiate record and top the farthest throw by a collegian in any setting (2013 The Bowerman finalist Julian Wruck launched the disc 68.16m (223-8) at a meet that was deemed an exhibition). To say that Alekna left his mark on the collegiate record book would be an understatement: he is now the owner of six of the top-10 marks in collegiate history after this past weekend.

Cunningham, who hails from Winfield, Alabama, hasn’t slowed down over the barriers and added another conference title to his haul – not to mention to quick times. Competing at the ACC Outdoor Track & Field Championships this past weekend, Cunningham blistered the prelims with a 13.13 (+0.9) marker and then came back to win the final in 13.16 (+0.9). Don’t forget that Cunningham has an in-season PR of 13.10 (+1.7) from the North Florida Collegiate Invitational Meet just a few weeks ago to become the fourth-fastest all-time performer. During the indoor season, Cunningham won the 60H and just missed the collegiate record set by 2019 The Bowerman winner Grant Holloway by 0.03 seconds in the process (7.35 to 7.38).

Garland, who hails from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, decimated the collegiate record in the decathlon at the USATF Combined Event Championships in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The Georgia standout PR’d in six events – came close in the other four – on his way to an 8720-point total. It crushed the former collegiate record of 8539 set by 2017 The Bowerman finalist Lindon Victor and marked a PR of more than 500 points. Earlier this year, Garland won the heptathlon at the SEC Indoor Championships and finished runner-up to Ayden Owens-Delerme at the ensuing NCAA Indoor Championships. Garland scored 8200 points in that runner-up showing.

Ihemeje, who hails from Bergamo, Italy, won his third consecutive NCAA triple jump crown during the indoor season and currently ranks second nationally outdoors at 16.71m (54-10). He recently won the triple jump at the Pac-12 Outdoor Championships and finished second in the long jump with a PR of 7.64m (25-0¾). Ihemeje goes into the NCAA postseason looking 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.

Kipsang, who hails from Eldoret, Kenya, smashed the collegiate record in the 1500 meters at the Bryan Clay Invitational in mid-April. He stopped the clock at 3:33.74 to notch the first in-season sub-3:34 performance in collegiate history. Kipsang finished runner-up in that event at the SEC Outdoor Championships this past weekend and took fifth place in the 5000 meters at 13:54.12.

Nur, who hails from Phoenix, Arizona, by way of Mogadishu, Somalia, broke Henry Rono’s 44-year-old, in-season collegiate record in the 5000 meters on May 6 at the Sound Running Track Meet in San Juan Capistrano, California. The Northern Arizona standout, who doubled up on NCAA indoor titles with his 3000-5000 sweep, turned 12½ laps in 13:06.32, shaving more than two seconds off an all-time best that had stood for more than four decades. Back in March, Nur set the meet record in the 5000 at the NCAA Indoor Championships with his 13:19.01 winner.

Owens-Delerme, who hails from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, hasn’t competed in his signature decathlon since posting the third-best total in collegiate history of 8528 at the Mt. SAC Relays. However, Owens-Delerme contested three events at the SEC Outdoor Championships – taking fifth place in the 110-meter hurdles (13.84) and helping Arkansas to a pair of top-8 relay finishes in both the 4×100 (second) and 4×400 (seventh). During the indoor season, Owens-Delerme hit two all-time top-5 totals in the heptathlon: No. 2 (6272) and No. 5 (6211). That 6272-point total sent Owens-Delerme to a come-from-behind victory at the NCAA Indoor Championships.

Ross, who hails from Garner, North Carolina, continued his undefeated year over 400 meters and lowered his season best earlier this month at the Big South Outdoor Championships. He traversed one lap in 44.61, which lowered his SB from 44.95. Ross accounted for 20½ points at his conference meet, winning the 400, taking runner-up honors in the 200 with a PR 20.26 and helping North Carolina A&T win the 4×100 relay. Under a roof, Ross asserted his dominance in the two-lapper 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 behind 2018 The Bowerman winner Michael Norman and Kerron Clement, both of whom clocked their marks as collegians.

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 at the time and was tied for the seventh-fastest all-conditions mark in collegiate history. Then, Williams showed his speed without a faster-than-allowable breeze at his back and won the 100 at the Pac-12 Outdoor Championships in 9.93. That was part of a two-title day for Williams, who also won the 200. Williams also sizzled the track indoors, clocking a 6.48 effort at the Cougar Classic Invitational.

Zahafi, who hails from Casablanca, Morocco, has been stout this outdoor season. The Texas Tech standout set back-to-back PRs in consecutive April 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).

Five men received votes from The Bowerman Watch List Committee, but not enough to land on the Watch List: Favour Ashe of Tennessee, Matthew Boling of Georgia, Mario Garcia Romo of Ole Miss, Jonathan Jones of Texas and Turner Washington of Arizona State.

The next Men’s Watch List will be released on June 7.

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