The Bowerman: 2022 Men’s Watch List Update #7

NEW ORLEANS – If you’re a male athlete who wants to win The Bowerman, there is no better place to be than on the Men’s Pre-NCAA Outdoor Championships Watch List.

That’s because never in the history of The Bowerman has an athlete not appeared on this edition of the Watch List and eventually held collegiate track & field’s highest individual honor.

Here are the ten men on the Men’s Pre-NCAA Outdoor Championships Watch List: Mykonos Alekna of California, Trey Cunningham of Florida State, Joseph Fahnbulleh of Florida, Kyle Garland of Georgia, 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 #7 — June 7

Year Team Events Hometown
Mykolas AleknaFRCaliforniaDiscusVilnius, Lithuania
Trey CunninghamSRFlorida StateHurdlesWinfield, Ala.
Joseph FahnbullehSOFloridaSprintsHopkins, Minn.
Kyle GarlandSOGeorgiaCombined EventsPhiladelphia, Pa.
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 Mario Garcia Romo, Ole Miss (Mid-Distance/Distance); Emmanuel Ihemeje, Oregon (Jumps); Sondre Guttormsen, Princeton (Pole Vault); Tripp Piperi, Texas (Throws)

UPCOMING: Tuesday, June 21 – Semifinalists Announced

Alekna, who hails from Vilnius, Lithuania, has redefined collegiate discus throwing. Through this point of the season, Alekan has notched eight of the top-12 marks in collegiate history, including the collegiate record of 68.73m (225-6) that he whirled at the Pac-12 Outdoor Championships nearly four weeks ago. That effort is also the farthest heave by a collegian in any setting (2013 The Bowerman finalist Julian Wruck launched the disc 68.16m (223-8) at a meet nine years ago that was deemed an exhibition). Alekna also has the Nos. 2, 4, 7-8, 10-12 all-time marks.

Cunningham, who hails from Winfield, Alabama, keeps getting faster. He lowered his PR to 13.07 to post the fastest qualifying time at the NCAA DI East Preliminary Round in Bloomington, Indiana, and become just the fourth collegian to go sub-13.10 in the event. Not only that, but Cunningham clocked that mark into a 1.5 m/s headwind on a wet track. Cunningham previously PR’d in 13.10 (+1.7) at the North Florida Collegiate Invitational Meet in mid-April. 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).

Fahnbulleh, who hails from Hopkins, Minnesota, asserted himself with the top qualifying marks in both the 100 meters and 200 meters out of the NCAA DI East Preliminary Round. He went 10.04 (+0.1) in the shortest sprint and a wind-aided 19.85 (4.4) in the longer version. Fahnbulleh is the reigning NCAA Outdoor champion in the 200 and won that event with a 19.91 effort that tied Wallace Spearmon Jr. as the eighth-fastest performer in collegiate history. Earlier this year, Fahnbulleh nearly matched his PR with a 19.92 clocking at the LSU Invitational.

Garland and Owens-Delerme have been tied at the hip all season long and are on a collision course for an epic decathlon showdown at Hayward Field this week. During the indoor season, the duo met up twice – splitting the spoils. Garland, who hails from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, won the heptathlon at the SEC Indoor Championships, while Owens-Delerme, who hails from Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, came from behind to beat Garland at the NCAA Indoor Championships. Then, in the outdoor season, Owens-Delerme took down the wind-legal collegiate record in the 10-eventer with his 8528-point total at the Mt. SAC Relays before Garland responded with an outright collegiate record of 8720 points at the USATF Combined Event Championships. Needless to say, you can expect fireworks in Eugene, Oregon.

Kipsang, who hails from Eldoret, Kenya, will look to win the 1500 meters at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, an event in which he holds the collegiate record. Back in April at the Bryan Clay Invitational, Kipsang 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 and qualified third out of the NCAA DI East Preliminary Round.

Nur, who hails from Phoenix, Arizona, by way of Mogadishu, Somalia, probably needs no introduction to collegiate distance-running fans. The Northern Arizona standout shattered Henry Rono’s 44-year-old, in-season collegiate record in the 5000 meters at the Sound Running Track Meet. Nur, 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. It was at the NCAA Indoor Championships where Nur set the meet record in the 5000 with his 13:19.01 winner. Let’s not forget that Nur was the fastest qualifier out of the NCAA DI West Preliminary Round – and, overall prelim history – in the 10,000 meters at 28:45.90

Ross, who hails from Garner, North Carolina, made sure people remembered his name with a blazing 44.23 collegiate-leader at the NCAA DI East Preliminary Round. Just a few weeks before that, Ross continued his undefeated year over 400 meters and lowered his seasonal best to 44.61 at the Big South Outdoor Championships. 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, had been one of the fastest collegians in 2022 over 100 meters, regardless of wind reading before he stepped on the track at the NCAA DI West Preliminary Round. Now, Williams is the fastest American this season and moved up to No. 2 on the all-time collegiate chart with his 9.86 scorcher. Williams dipped under 9.95 three times this season with the other two coming at the Mt. SAC Relays with a wind-aided 9.83 (+2.5) and the Pac-12 Outdoor Championships with a wind-legal 9.93 (+0.7). Indoors, Williams set a personal best in the 60 meters with his 6.48 effort at the Cougar Classic Invitational.

Zahafi, who hails from Casablanca, Morocco, reaffirmed himself as the top 800-meter athlete this outdoor season. It was at the NCAA DI West Preliminary Round where the Texas Tech star notched his second sub-1:45, two-lapper at 1:44.65, giving him the ninth-fastest performance in collegiate history. If you recall, Zahafi was already No. 3 in collegiate history from his 1:43.69 at the Tom Jones Memorial in mid-April. Zahafi also PR’d this season in the 1500 at 3:39.59.

There were four athletes who received votes, but not enough to be on this edition of the Watch List: Mario Garcia Romo of Ole Miss, Emmanuel Ihemeje of Oregon, Sondre Guttormsen of Princeton and Tripp Piperi of Texas.

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