Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Who received my 2017 Bowerman Award votes...


I’ve been one of the national voting media members of this award since 2010, and take the vote seriously, and try not to let any conference or regional biases or fan/message board popularity sway my decision making.

All voting members of The Bowerman, which includes past winners, national and regional media personnel, and track & field statisticians, received their ballots a few weeks after the NCAA outdoor championships in June, and submitted them in July.

One question I get asked, particularly with distance runners selected by the Bowerman Advisory Board as finalists, is why isn’t their feats during the cross country season considered?

According to the guidelines, “Athletes’ performances during the NCAA indoor track & field and outdoor track & field seasons shall be considered…Only performances from the NCAA indoor track & field season and outdoor track & field seasons of the year in which the award is given should be considered…Performances that occur outside the NCAA seasons of indoor and outdoor track & field should not be considered.”

I saw all six Bowerman Award finalists compete in person at least once this season at the NCAA outdoor championships in Eugene, though I did see Oregon’s Raevyn Rogers and Arizona State’s Maggie Ewen compete several times, notably at the MPSF indoor championships in Seattle, and the Pac-12 meet in Eugene.

MEN

Tennessee's Christian Coleman turned pro after
winning the NCAA 100/200 titles
(Paul Merca photo)
Tennessee’s Christian Coleman (100/200) got my vote over Fred Kerley (400) and Lindon Victor (multis) of Texas A&M.

While all three broke collegiate records in their events this season, I felt that Coleman’s dominance of both the 60/100 and 200 indoors and outdoors trumped what both Kerley and Victor accomplished in their events.

Coleman became the second man in NCAA D1history to win the 60/200 double indoors after Justin Gatlin, and the eighth man to run a sub-10/sub 20 second double in the same day at the SEC championships.

After the collegiate season, Coleman turned pro, and finished second in the 100 at the IAAF world championships, and ran the anchor leg on the USA national team that finished second behind Great Britain in the 4 x 100 relay.

WOMEN

It wasn’t quite as clearcut as the men, but I went with Georgia’s Keturah Orji (triple jump) by a narrow margin over Oregon’s Raevyn Rogers (800) and Arizona State’s Maggie Ewen (hammer).

As was the case with the men, all three set collegiate records in their respective events.

While not quite as dominating as she was in the 2016 season, Orji (above/photo by Kirby Lee/Image of Sport) went 7-0 in collegiate triple jump competitions in 2017, and broke the collegiate indoor triple jump mark with a leap of 46-11.75 (14.32m) at the SEC championship meet.

While Rogers went 5-1 in 800m finals in 2017, with her only loss being a DNF at the MPSF meet in Seattle, she was just as dominant for the Ducks in the 4 x 4 relay, as she had an anchor split of 49.77 in leading Oregon to the national title in that event, as the Ducks ran 3:23.13 to help clinch a triple crown (XC, indoor, outdoor) for the school.

Kerley and Rogers won the fan vote, which was conducted between June 22 and June 30th.

Media partner Flotrack will stream The Bowerman presentation live Friday beginning with the Red Carpet show from the JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort in Phoenix, and on the USTFCCCA Facebook page (Facebook.com/USTFCCCA) beginning at 5:20 pm Pacific time.

NOTE:  The USTFCCCA contributed to this report. 

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