UK's Bryant, Harrison Named Bowerman Semifinalists



By Jacob Most
June 23, 2015

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Dezerea Bryant and Kendra Harrison are semifinalists for the Bowerman Award. Kentucky track and field's dynamic duo led the Wildcats to a school-record NCAA Runner-up team finish earlier this month.

Tuesday's news helped confirm how historic their seasons were in standalone context.

The Bowerman Watch List Committee named 10 women as Semifinalists for collegiate track & field's highest individual honor, the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association announced on Tuesday.

The Committee will now vote those 10 women down to three Finalists. The Finalists will be revealed July 9, and the voting for the Bowerman winner will begin shortly thereafter.

Bryant and Harrison are Kentucky's first-ever semifinalists. Both will compete for a place on the U.S. World Championships team at the USATF Outdoor Championships later this week



Harrison's NCAA-winning 100m hurdles time of 12.55 would have equaled the Bronze Medal performance at the 2013 IAAF World Championships, while her 400m hurdles time of 54.09 would have equaled the Silver Medal Performance as the last World Championships, and none of the women in that 2013 World Championship Final had run a race earlier that day or the day prior.


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The case for Bryant
The Kentucky senior won the NCAA 200-Meter Championships with the low-altitude collegiate-record time (22.18) to upset a field, which included two previous NCAA 200m Champions and the woman who won the NCAA 100m title earlier in the meet. She was the Silver Medalist in both short sprints at the SEC indoor meet before taking Bronze in the 200m and seventh in the 60m at indoor NCAAs. Outdoors, she was Bronze Medalist in the 100m and 200m at the SEC championships before breaking out in Eugene. Her NCAA 200m winning time of 22.18 seconds came just 45 minutes after taking Bronze in the 100.

The case for Harrison
Harrison, also a senior, won two national championships in 2015 and came a few tenths shy of winning a third. She was named USTFCCCA National Track Athlete of the Year by Division I coaches. She won the 60-meter hurdles indoors, the 100m hurdles outdoors, and took second in the 400m hurdles outdoors. Her times in the 100m hurdles (12.50) and 60m hurdles (7.87) make her the third fastest college woman ever, trailing only Ginnie Powell and Bowerman winner Brianna Rollins in both events, and she is the fifth-fastest collegian ever in the 400m hurdles. Her times are all the more impressive considering they came within 35 minutes of one another. For context, Harrison's NCAA-winning 100m hurdles time of 12.55 (making her the No. 2 performer in the world this year) would have equaled the Bronze Medal performance at the 2013 IAAF World Championships, while her NCAA Silver Medal 400m hurdles time of 54.09 (also ranked No. 2 in the world this year) would have equaled the Silver Medal Performance as the last World Championships, and none of the women in that 2013 World Championship Final had run a race earlier that day or the day prior. She won SEC championships in both short hurdles, in fact she went undefeated indoors and outdoors in short hurdles finals this year.

The Bowerman Women's 2015 Semifinalists

(Click student-athletes' names for biographies & notes)

NAME YEAR SCHOOL EVENTS HOMETOWN
Dezerea Bryant SR Kentucky Sprints Milwaukee, Wis.
Quanesha Burks SO Alabama Jumps Hartselle, Ala.
Kendra Harrison SR Kentucky Hurdles Clayton, N.C.
Shamier Little SO Texas A&M Hurdles Chicago, Ill.
Sandi Morris SR Arkansas Pole vault Greenville, S.C.
Keturah Orji FR Georgia Jumps Mount Olive, N.J.
Demi Payne JR Stephen F. Austin Pole vault New Braunfels, Texas
Jenna Prandini JR Oregon Sprints/Jumps Clovis, Calif.
Emily Sisson SR Providence Distance Chesterfield, Mo.
Shelbi Vaughan JR Texas A&M Throws Mansfield, Texas
 
Women's Finalists: July 9
Souce: USTFCCCA


About the Bowerman
The Bowerman Trophy is awarded annually to the most outstanding individual athlete in collegiate track and field.

The Bowerman, which debuted in 2009, is presented annually by the USTFCCCA and considered the most prestigious individual award in collegiate track and field.

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), 2011 IAAF World Champion at 1500 meters Jenny Simpson (2009), 2013 100-meter hurdles World Champion Brianna Rollins (2013) and 2012 Olympic high jump bronze medalist Derek Drouin (2013).

In total, the winners from the award's first four years have won three Olympic Medals, two World Championships and six World Championships medals. When considering finalists for the award, 13 individuals have earned a combined seven Olympic medals, four World Championships and 17 World Championships medals.

Former Oregon head coach and Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman, who the award is named for, 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.