University of Akron sophomore Shawn Barber, who became the school’s first male individual NCAA Champion in the pole vault last weekend, has been named to the The Bowerman Men’s Watch List, the U.S. Track & Field/Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) announed recently.
Barber is the first athlete in Mid-American Conference history to be named to the 10-person list for the men or women. The Bowerman Trophy, which was first awarded in 2009, is presented annually by the USTFCCCA to the most outstanding male and female collegiate track & field athletes in the nation.
With a winning clearance of 18-10.25 (5.75m), Barber smashed his own Canadian National record and bested last year’s outdoor champion Sam Kendricks of Ole Miss in a thrilling dual at the NCAA Indoor Championships in Albuquerque, N.M. A dual citizen, Barber became the Zips fourth individual national champion overall and the third from the track & field program.
Barber received mention for The Bowerman Watch List as a true freshman in 2013.
Indiana’s Derek Drouin and Clemson’s Brianna Rollins are the reigning winners of The Bowerman, which is named for legendary Oregon track & field and cross country coach Bill Bowerman. In addition to their collegiate achievements, Rollins is the reigning World Champion in the 100 meter hurdles — an event for which she also holds the American Record — while Drouin has won bronze medals at both the 2012 Olympics and 2013 IAAF World Championships.
Past winners include Olympic gold medalist, World Champion and decathlon world-record holder Ashton Eaton (2010); 10,000-meter Olympic silver medalist Galen Rupp (2009); and 2011 IAAF World Champion at 1500 meters, Jenny Simpson (2009).
In total, the winners from the award’s first four years have won three Olympic Medals, six World Championships (one relay, two indoor) and 11 World Championships medals (two relay, one indoor). When considering finalists for the award, 13 individuals have earned a combined six Olympic medals, eight World Championships (one relay, four indoor) and 23 World Championships medals (three realy, six indoor).
Former winners of and finalists for The Bowerman currently hold 21 national records. Each former winner of the men’s Bowerman Trophy holds at least two national records, while two of the five women’s winners are current national record-holders.
Bowerman served the sport of track and field in numerous ways. His leadership in the USTFCCCA’s predecessor organization, the National Collegiate Track Coaches Association, and his contributions to NCAA track and field and the running community as a whole are among his many lasting legacies.
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