NEW ORLEANS -- South Carolina’s LaKya Brookins, Shippensburg’s Neely Spence, and Arkansas’ Tina Sutej were added to the women’s watch list for The Bowerman, the award’s watch list committee announced on Thursday. All three are the current collegiate leaders in their respective events and are now on the watch list for collegiate track & field’s biggest award.

Brookins in the current collegiate leader in the 60 meters (7.18), Spence – from NCAA Division II – is the current world leader in the 5000 meters (16:01.09), and Sutej is the collegiate leader of the pole vault (4.45m, 14-7¼).

LaKya Brookins, South Carolina
Senior, Sprints, Seneca, S.C. (Seneca HS)

IN 2011: Has won three-out-of-four finals in the 60-meter dash, including her latest conquest of winning the New Balance Collegiate Invitational event in a collegiate-leading 7.18 seconds.

PREVIOUSLY: Tied the NCAA-Championships record with a 7.13 clocking in winning South Carolina’s first national championship in the 60 meters in 2009. In 2010, Brookins was the 60-meter champion at the SEC indoor meet and at the Tyson Invitational. At the NCAA Indoor Championships, Brookins placed third.

Jessica Beard, Texas A&M
Senior, Sprints, Euclid, Ohio (Euclid HS)

IN 2011: Has recorded collegiate-leading marks in the 200 (22.95) and 400 (52.25) in the early weeks of the 2011 season. Undefeated in both the 200 and 400 so far this season having won two finals in each event.

PREVIOUSLY: Beard, who mainly specializes in the 200 and 400 meters, helped the Aggies to a second-straight NCAA team title outdoors in scoring second-place national finishes in the 400 as anchor of the squad’s 4×400. Beard accumulated four Big 12 titles in 2010 and an all-time collegiate best as a member of the Aggie 4×200 that clocked 1:29.42 at the Penn Relays. Beard’s star has shined the brightest on the international stage as she lays claim to four world-championship medals. Most notably, Beard was the third leg of Team USA’s 4×400-meter relay squad that won gold at the 2009 IAAF World Championships in Berlin. Beard has also been on two gold-medaling IAAF World Junior Championship 4×400 teams to go with a silver medal won individually in the 400 in 2008.

Ti’erra Brown, Miami (Fla.)
Junior, Hurdles, Hampton, Va. (Hampton HS)

IN 2011: Has yet to compete in the hurdles so far this season. Was third-leg member of 4×400 relay team at Virginia Tech Elite Meet that finished second at 3:39.16 to Clemson.

PREVIOUSLY: Queen Harrison, 2010 women’s winner of The Bowerman, was the first female in NCAA Division I history to sweep national tiles in both the 100- and 400-meter hurdles. Brown could be the early favorite to be the second. Only Harrison, also an ACC foe, stood in Brown’s way for both titles last year as the then-sophomore was national runner-up in both events last year. Brown sent a call to action after running a then-world leading 54.74 in the NCAA’s 400 hurdle quarterfinals – the time would stand as the 13th best in the world in 2010. Over the summer, Brown, along with a NACAC title, would win each round on the way to a USATF 400-meter hurdle title where she put more than a full second ahead of the rest of the field in the final.

Semoy Hackett, LSU
Sprints, Scarborough, Trinidad & Tobago (Bishop’s HS/Lincoln (Mo.))

IN 2011: In her first season as a Division I participant, Hackett has achieved marks in the 60 and 200 that among the nation’s top four in both events. Her season best in the 200 meters of 22.98 is just off the 22.95 leader set by Texas A&M’s Beard. In the 60, Hackett has the fourth-best mark of the 2011season at 7.24.

PREVIOUSLY: In 2010, Hackett won five NCAA Division II titles, set three championship records, and added an all-time Division II best in the 200 with Lincoln University of Missouri. It was quite a year for the Caribbean native. And, with a move to Division I with the transfer to LSU, the stage lights are now a little brighter. At the NCAA DII outdoor meet, Hackett took titles in the 100, 200, and 4×100, all for the second-straight year. In the 200, she ran a championships-meet record and an all-time division best 22.75 in the final to break a 17-year-old standard. The time also stood as the third-best among all collegians in 2010, trailing only 2009 Bowerman finalist Porscha Lucas and current watchlister Jeneba Tarmoh.

Neely Spence, Shippensburg
Junior, Distance, Shippensburg, Pa. (Shippensburg HS)

IN 2011: Notched a world-leading and all-division collegiate-leading 16:01.09 in the 5000 meters at the New Balance Collegiate Invitational. Dating back to the 2010 outdoor season, Spence is undefeated in every race in seven tries, including a DMR and distances ranging from the Mile to the 5000 meters. In all, Spence has won nine-straight and is undefeated in the 3000 meters, indoor and outdoor, for her collegiate career.

PREVIOUSLY: Spence most recently won the 2010 NCAA Division II Cross Country Championships in the fall, becoming the school’s first national champion in the sport Spence took the six-kilometer race at the national championships in 20:41.2, over 15 seconds ahead of runner-up Sarah Porter of Western Washington. Spence led the Red Raiders to a fourth-place team finish. Spence went undefeated through the cross country season, winning a third-straight NCAA regional title and PSAC conference crown. At the Greater Louisville Classic, Spence set a new 5k course record and won the race which included many from Division I. During the 2010 track & field seasons, Spence swept NCAA D-II 5000-meter titles at both indoor and outdoor national championships.

Tina Sutej, Arkansas
Junior, Pole Vault, Ljubljana, Slovenia (Gimnazija Bezigrad)

IN 2011: Sutej is undefeated in four tries this season in the pole vault. Having twice cleared more than 14-6 (4.42m) so far in the 2011 seasons, Sutej most recently bettered her own collegiate-leading mark with a 14-7¼ (4.45m) clearance – also a Slovenian national record – in winning the New Balance Collegiate Invitational. Sutej has also attempted to break the collegiate indoor record in the event twice this year.

PREVIOUSLY: NCAA outdoor runner-up in the pole vault and Slovenian national champion in 2010. Cleared 14-9 (4.50m) for the Slovenian national crown outdoors and notched indoor personal best in 2010 with clearance of 14-7½ (4.46m) at the SEC Indoor Championships, setting a new conference and school standard. Sutej was a three-time Junior National Champion in her native Slovenia. During her prep career, she competed at the 2007 European Indoor Championships, the 2006 World Junior Championships and the 2005 IAAF World Youth Championships and European Junior Championships.

Sheila Reid, Villanova
Junior, Distance, Newmarket, Ontario

IN 2011: Reid holds claim to the collegiate-leading mark in the 3000 meters, having run 8:56.92 in competition against collegians. Last weekend at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix in Boston, Reid ran a would-be NCAA-leading mark in the mile with an impressive showing against a bevy of professionals in the event’s mile run. Reid would finish third in that event with a 4:35.30 clocking.

PREVIOUSLY: Reid is coming off the fall cross country season with individual and team NCAA titles. Reid led the Wildcats to a second-straight NCAA cross country crown with her own national individual title, becoming the first since 1994 to win the individual NCAA title while leading their team to victory. On the track in 2010, Reid finished third in the 3000 at the national indoor meet and followed with a fourth-place showing in the 1500 at the NCAA outdoor meet. Indoors, Reid won Big East titles in the 1000 and mile and added a conference crown in the 800 outdoors.

Jeneba Tarmoh, Texas A&M
Junior, Sprints, San Jose, Calif. (Mt. Pleasant HS/Tennessee)

IN 2011: Tarmoh has been busy to start the 2011 season. Including relays and all rounds, Tarmoh has contested 15 races in the 60, 200, and 4×400. Tarmoh lead-off the Aggie 4×400 to a collegiate-leading 3:30.70 last weekend at the New Balance Collegiate Invitational. And, like Hackett, is also in the nation’s top four in both identical season bests in the 60 (7.24) and 200 (22.98). Winning credits from 2011 include a victory in the 200 at the New Balance Collegiate Invitational and in the 60 at the Texas A&M Conference Challenge on January 15.

PREVIOUSLY: Tarmoh is another of a number of talented sprinters to watch in 2011. Tarmoh was a top-three finisher at the NCAA indoor meet at 60 meters and at the NCAA outdoor meet in the 100 and 200 in 2010. In addition, Tarmoh led off the NCAA champ Aggie 4×100 squad most of the season in 2010 and was a member of the 4×200 team that set a new collegiate record at the Penn Relays. In addition, Tarmoh swept 100 and 200 titles at the Big 12 Outdoor Championships in May, was a USATF finalist in the 100 in June, and won the NACAC 100-meter title in July. Tarmoh is a three-time international medalist which includes a 100-meter gold earned at the IAAF World Junior Championships in 2008.

Brianne Theisen, Oregon
Senior, Combined Events, Humboldt, Saskatchewan (Humboldt Collegiate Institute)

IN 2011: Theisen has already claimed a collegiate-record to begin the 2011 season. On January 28 at the Washington Invitational, Theisen scored 4,507 points in the heptathlon to top the previous mark of 4,498 set by Arizona State’s Jacquelyn Johnson in 2008. With a high jump of 6-0 (1.83m) in the record-setting pentathlon, Theisen also ranks in NCAA’s top five in that event. In addition, Theisen has won nine-straight combined-event competitions against collegiate competition with the win at the UW Invitational.

PREVIOUSLY: Theisen won the NCAA heptathlon title for second-straight time in 2010, topping the field by over 400 points for a personal-best and school-record score of 6,094. In addition to also winning the NCAA pentathlon crown indoors, Theisen would lead off the Oregon 4×400-meter squad to a NCAA title last year. Theisen’s all-time best pentathlon score of 4,396, set in 2010, sits as the fourth best among collegians all-time. Theisen has twice won the Pac-10 heptathlon crown, and, in 2009, Theisen was 15th in the same event at the IAAF World Championships.

Kim Williams, Florida State
Senior, Jumps, Kingston, Jamaica (Vere Technical HS)

IN 2011: Has been in competition once so far this season. Finished second at the Razorback Invitational in the long jump with the second-best collegiate mark of the season, 21-3¼ (6.48m).

PREVIOUSLY: Williams made quite a mark during the 2010 indoor season in the triple jump. At the NCAA Championships, Williams won her second-consecutive title in the event and could become only the second (Yvette Bates, USC, 1986-88) to win a third with a national crown this March. In winning the ACC indoor crown for a third time, her best leap of 46-8¼ (14.24m) placed her just two centimeters shy of the collegiate record of 46-9 (14.25m). Overall, Williams has won eight ACC crowns and four NCAA titles, which included triple jump indoor-outdoor sweeps in 2009 and a long jump-triple jump outdoor sweep in the same year.

The Bowerman Advisory Board appointed four of its members to comprise The Bowerman Women’s Watch Committee and another four of its members to make up The Bowerman Men’s Watch Committee. The committee will release their next women’s update on Thursday, March 3. The three men and three women finalists will be named late June.

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