Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Clemson's Brianna Rollins and Indiana's Derek Drouin hoist The Bowerman Trophy...

ORLANDO, Florida--Clemson hurdler Brianna Rollins (left/photo by Paul Merca) and Indiana high jumper Derek Drouin were awarded The Bowerman Trophy as the most outstanding collegiate track & field athletes of the 2013 season in a ceremony held Wednesday evening at the JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes as part of the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Convention.

Rollins is just the second hurdler to win the award — the first since Queen Harrison in 2010 — and the first from Clemson, while Drouin scored a plethora of firsts for the award. He is the first from Indiana and the Big Ten to win the award, and is the first field event specialist to hoist The Bowerman Trophy.

Rollins emerged out of a strong field that included another pair of collegiate record holders in Arizona high jumper Brigetta Barrett and hurdler Kori Carter of Stanford.

Drouin (above/photo by Paul Merca) had to consistently defeat 2012 Olympic silver high jump medalist and rival Erik Kynard for his two NCAA championships in 2013, and he had to surpass equally difficult competition in Arizona’s four-time 2013 NCAA champion distance runner Lawi Lalang and UCLA NCAA champion discus thrower Julian Wruck for The Bowerman Trophy.

Rollins bookended her season with an indoor 60 meter hurdles collegiate record of 7.78 in her very first final of the season and kept an undefeated hurdles season going through the NCAA Outdoor Championships. In Eugene, Ore., for the championships, she set the collegiate record twice in the 100 hurdles, including a 12.39 in the final over fellow finalist Carter.

She went on to set the American record in the 100 hurdles en route to a U.S. outdoor title at 12.26, and staged an impressive come-from-behind world title over defending Olympic champ Sally Pearson of Australia to claim the gold  medal in Moscow.

Drouin turned in nearly flawless NCAA Championships performances en route to indoor and outdoor national titles, and had an overall record to match with nine wins in nine collegiate events. He won both NCAA titles  at heights of 7-8 (2.34m) or higher, and just before the NCAA Championships tied the No. 2 all-time collegiate mark with a leap of 7-8¾ (2.36m) at the Nike Prefontaine Classic.

After the collegiate season, Drouin claimed a Canadian championship and then went on to take bronze at the IAAF World Championships with a Canadian record of 7-9¾ (2.38m) in the high jump after claiming the Olympic bronze in 2012.

NOTE:  The USTFCCCA contributed to this report. Paul Merca of paulmerca.blogspot.com is a voter of The Bowerman Award.

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