NEW ORLEANS – The Bowerman Advisory Board in conjunction with the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) announced on Thursday the three finalists for the highest honor given to women’s collegiate track & field student-athletes – The Bowerman. Representing the best in collegiate track & field during the 2011 seasons, the finalists are Texas A&M senior Jessica Beard, LSU sophomore Kimberlyn Duncan and Arkansas junior Tina Sutej.
Finalists were chosen by the 10-person Bowerman Advisory Board based on performances recorded during the indoor and outdoor 2011 track & field seasons. Only performances through the conclusion of the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships are used in consideration.
The award, in its third year of existence, will be presented in a ceremony at the USTFCCCA Convention on Dec. 14 at the JW Marriott Hill Country in San Antonio, Texas. John Anderson, ESPN SportsCenter anchor and co-host of ABC’s Wipeout, will host the evening’s festivities for the second consecutive year. The men’s finalists (announced on July 13) are Washington State’s Jeshua Anderson, Florida State’s Ngoni Makusha and Florida’s Christian Taylor.
Jessica Beard, Texas A&M
Senior, Sprints, Euclid, Ohio
Beard became the just the third female in NCAA Division I history, and the first since 1999, to win both 400 national titles in the same year and run on both winning 4×400 relays at the NCAA Indoor and NCAA Outdoor Championships. Beard, a four-time Big 12 indoor 400-meter champ, recorded the world’s fastest time at the 400-meter distance indoors with a 50.79 clocking to win the national crown. Outdoors, Beard clocked 51.10 for the NCAA win and split 49.13 for the Aggies as anchor of the NCAA-winning 4×400 relay.
At the USATF Championships (not considered part of the collegiate season), Beard placed fourth in the 400 meters, running a season’s best 51.06 in the national final.
Beard joins Porscha Lucas (2009) as Aggies named Bowerman finalists. The Big 12 has been represented by at least one women’s finalist in each of the three years of the award.
Kimberlyn Duncan, LSU
Sophomore, Sprints, Katy, Texas
Duncan swept the indoor and outdoor NCAA 200-meter titles in 2011 and notched world-leading times in each. Duncan became the sixth woman in NCAA Division I history and the first since Auburn’s Kerron Stewart in 2007 to sweep 200-meter titles in the same season. Indoors, Duncan won the SEC title in 22.78 for the world’s best time of the season. Outdoors, Duncan was undefeated in the 200 meters and clocked a low-altitude all-time collegiate best (and the third-best overall) time with a 22.24 run. Duncan was also the NCAA 100-meter runner-up and anchored the Lady Tigers to an national title in the 4×100 (42.64).
At the USATF Championships (not considered part of the collegiate season), Duncan placed fifth in the 200 meters, clocking a 22.35 in the event’s final.
Duncan is the first from LSU to be named a Bowerman finalist. Duncan, Sutej, and men’s finalist Christian Taylor, compose the first class of SEC athletes to be finalists for the Bowerman.
Tina Sutej, Arkansas
Junior, Pole Vault, Ljubljana, Slovenia
Sutej set collegiate records with the pole vault both indoors and outdoors in 2011. Indoors, Sutej would reach a best of 14-10 3/4 (4.54m) to set the all-time collegiate best while winning the SEC crown and went on to win the NCAA title. Outdoors, Sutej again won the SEC league title with a collegiate-record vault – a clearance of 15-1 1/2 (4.61m). Overall, Sutej collected 13 consecutive meet victories before finishing runner-up at the NCAA outdoor meet where she tied the championship-meet record with Oregon’s Melissa Gergel, who took the crown on virtue of misses.
Sutej is the first Arkansas athlete to be a finalist for the Bowerman.
Bowerman voters will receive ballots listing each of the finalists and must rank them by first, second and third choice. First-place votes will receive three points, second place will notch two and third will receive one point. The finalist with the highest point total will be the winner.
The Bowerman voters consist of:
• The Bowerman Advisory Board, media personnel, statisticians, collegiate administrators
• Galen Rupp, 2009 men’s winner of the Bowerman
• Ashton Eaton, 2010 men’s winner of the Bowerman
• Jenny (Barringer) Simpson, 2009 women’s winner of the Bowerman
• Queen Harrison, 2010 women’s winner of the Bowerman
• Online voting by the public will constitute one collective vote (ranking of choices will be made by order of total single votes)
• Online voting by USTFCCCA members will constitute one collective vote (ranking of choices will be made by order of total single votes)
Paper balloting will conclude in August while online voting will begin on Aug. 1 and will last until Aug. 16. An independent accounting firm will collect, tabulate and certify final results and will keep the result secret until the envelope is opened in December.
The Bowerman, which debuted in 2009, is presented annually by the USTFCCCA to the most outstanding male and female collegiate track & field athletes in the nation. Oregon’s Ashton Eaton and Virginia Tech’s Queen Harrison are the reigning winners of the award, which is named for legendary Oregon track & field and cross country coach Bill Bowerman.