NEW ORLEANS – He has only just completed his second year of college in his small hometown of Oxford, Miss., but Sam Kendricks is already ascending to the pinnacle of his sport.
Not quite two weeks after his NCAA pole vault title in Eugene, Ore., the Ole Miss sophomore was named one of 10 male semifinalists for The Bowerman on Monday.
The Bowerman is awarded annually to the most outstanding male and female collegiate track & field athletes in the nation. Kendricks and the other semifinalists will be considered for selection as a finalist to attend the award ceremony at the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) convention in December.
The three finalists will be announced July 10. Voting for the final winner — including an online fan vote — will take place from late July to mid-August.
Kendricks is currently ranked seventh in the world in the pole vault. He won the 2013 NCAA Outdoor Championship with a first-attempt clearance at 18-8.25 (5.70m) to defeat defending champion Jack Whitt of Oral Roberts. Kendricks cleared seven heights in nine attempts and passed on one other height. He was the SEC runner-up this year behind Arkansas’ Andrew Irwin.
At the Texas Relays in late March, Kendricks made the eighth-highest in-season clearance in collegiate history and the best since 1998 when he jumped 19-0.75 (5.81m), becoming the fifth-best in-season performer in collegiate history and the eighth collegian to surpass 19 feet during the outdoor season. He placed third at the NCAA Indoor Championships.
“This honor is a testament to the hard work that Sam has put in this year,” Ole Miss head coach Brian O’Neal said. “Not only has he been recognized as an NCAA Champion, but he’s also been noticed by the Bowerman Committee. He is a great ambassador for Ole Miss.”
Rebel senior sprinter Isiah Young, the SEC Men’s Runner of the Year, had been on the Bowerman watch list, but did not make the semifinalist cut after placing top three in the 100 and 200 meters at the NCAA Outdoor Championships and helping Ole Miss to an eighth-place team finish.