NEW ORLEANS – Pole vaulter Shawn Barber of Akron, distance runner Edward Cheserek of Oregon, and jumperMarquis Dendy of Florida were announced Wednesday as men’s Finalists for The Bowerman Trophy, collegiate track & field’s highest individual honor.
Following their exceptional indoor and outdoor track & field campaigns in 2014-15, these three men were selected to travel to San Antonio, Texas, for the presentation of The Bowerman Trophy on December 17 in a live-streamed award show as part of the USTFCCCA Convention at the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa.
The announcement from the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) and the Bowerman Advisory Board was made Wednesday afternoon via webstream. The video can be watched in its entirety below.
Only one man can claim the 2015 Bowerman Trophy, and in doing so he’ll join a very elite group of former winners. Among those who have won the award over the past six years are Olympic Champion/world-record-holding decathleteAshton Eaton, Olympic silver medalist distance runner Galen Rupp and Olympic bronze-medal winning high jumperDerek Drouin.
With a combined 10 national titles and a collegiate record between this year’s finalists, joining that group won’t be easy.
Barber turned in one of the greatest pole vault campaigns in collegiate history, winning two NCAA titles and topping the indoor collegiate record on four different occasions. His fourth and final collegiate record came at the NCAA Indoor Championships, where he cleared 19-4¾ (5.91m) to win the national title.
He matched that height outdoors at the Texas Relays to for the second-highest clearance in outdoor collegiate history. Those two clearances headlined an overall season that saw him 13 different times equal or surpass heights of 19 feet.
The 2015 season was all about winning NCAA titles for Cheserek. Indoors, he won the mile title and ran anchor for the winning distance medley relay, and outdoors he swept both the 5000- and 10,000-meter national titles. He also finished runner-up indoors at 3000 meters to teammate Eric Jenkins.
In winning both the mile title indoors and the 10,000 meters crown outdoors, he demonstrated the range that has made him the top distance runner in the collegiate ranks. He ran three sub-four-minute miles during the indoor season, including two at the NCAA Indoor Championships.
Dendy won more individual NCAA titles than anyone in the country this season, sweeping the long jump and the triple jump at both the indoor and outdoor national championships.
His triple jumping in 2015 was particularly historic. With an NCAA indoor-winning jump of 57 feet (17.37m) for the No. 3 jump in college indoor history, he became the first collegian to jump 57 feet or farther indoors since 1986, and his winning outdoor leap, a windy 58-1½ (17.71m), was the third-farthest ever by a collegian under all conditions.
He checked in at No. 7 on the all-time performers list in the indoor long jump with an NCAA winning-leap of 27-2 (8.28m).
Now in the seventh year of The Bowerman Trophy, there are plenty of “firsts” that could be achieved any one of these three men.
– Barber is a first-time finalist not only for Akron, but also for the Mid-American Conference
– Neither Akron nor Florida have produced a Bowerman Trophy winner for either gender
– Never before has a sophomore won The Bowerman Trophy for either gender
– Never before has a horizontal jumps specialist won The Bowerman Trophy for either gender
This year’s winner could also continue several recent trends. Cheserek could be the third man from Oregon and the fourth overall Duck to win the Bowerman Trophy, while Barber could become the third Canadian in the past four seasons to win the men’s Trophy.
Voting to determine both the men’s trophy and women’s trophy – the finalists for which will be announced at 3pm ET on TheBowerman.org – will commence July 27 and conclude August 11.
Fan voting will take place simultaneously on TheBowerman.org. The results will collectively count as one ballot alongside those cast by media members, statisticians, USTFCCCA member coaches and other experts from around the nation.
Finalists were chosen by The Bowerman Advisory Board, a ten-person panel of track & field experts from around the country, based on performances recorded during the 2014 indoor and outdoor track & field seasons. Only performances through the conclusion of the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships are eligible for consideration.