PHOENIX— Only a few hours remain until one man and one woman will be awarded collegiate track & field’s highest individual honor – The Bowerman Trophy – in a live-streamed ceremony tonight at 8:25pm ET from the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Convention in Phoenix, Arizona.
For the women, the nominees in the sixth year of the award are Laura Roesler of Oregon, Courtney Okolo of Texas, and Sharika Nelvis of Arkansas State. The male nominees are Deon Lendore of Texas A&M, Edward Cheserek of Oregon, and Lawi Lalang of Arizona.
Read More at USTFCCCA.org
Three men’s and three women’s finalists were announced in July by the Bowerman Advisory Board, a nationwide panel of ten track experts. All six won at least one NCAA championship during the 2013-14 season.
For the award, voters strictly considered performances from the 2014 NCAA indoor and outdoor track & field season, beginning December 1, 2013 and ending with the 2014 NCAA Division I outdoor track & field championships in June.
Roesler won the indoor and outdoor 800, and was on the winning 4×400 relay indoors. She ran 2:00.54 at Mt. Sac, making her the 8th-fastest collegiate in-season performer ever. (Roesler’s best time in Oregon uniform is her 1:59.04 at USAs this summer, but that’s not eligible for Bowerman consideration)
Okolo won the outdoor 400, anchored the winning outdoor 4×400, and ran the collegiate record at 400 meters when she ran 50.03 to win the Big 12.
Nelvis went undefeated in the hurdles in 2013-14, along the way winning NCAA titles in the indoor 60 meter hurdles and the outdoor 100 hurdles, with a best wind-legal time of 12.71 seconds.
Lalang and Cheserek battled for distance domination all year, with Lalang bookending his season with an indoor collegiate record in the mile and an NCAA outdoor championship in the 5000.
In between, Cheserek won indoor national titles at both 3000 and 5000 meters, and the outdoor national title at 10,000 meters. Cheserek’s season bests in the 1500/3k/5k were 3:36/7:47/13:18, while Lalang’s were nearly identical: 3:36/7:44/13:18. Cheserek is the second freshman finalist, after Oklahoma State’s German Fernandez.
Lendore didn’t lose an individual final all season. He won indoor and outdoor nationals in the 400 and anchored the winning outdoor 4×4 and runner-up 4×1. His time of 44.37 at the outdoor SEC meet him the 8th-fastest in-season collegiate performer in the event and the fastest since 2005.
All three women are from the United States: Roesler is from Fargo, North Dakota; Okolo is from Carrollton, Texas; and Nelvis is from Memphis. The men are an international trio: Lalang and Cheserek are from Kenya, and Lendore is from Trinidad and Tobago.