NEW ORLEANS (ustfccca.org) – A week filled with upsets and surprises at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Ore., turned an already tight race for the Women's Bowerman Trophy into an even more wide-open affair, as evidenced by the 10 Semifinalists announced Tuesday by The Bowerman Advisory Board.
Only five members of the pre-Championships Watch List ultimately ended up among the 10 Semifinalists for collegiate track & field's highest individual honor, all of whom are among this group of 10 for the first time in their careers.
This group, similar to the men announced Monday, is the youngest crop of Women's Semifinalists since 2010 when Semifinalists were first named. Among their ranks are five underclassmen and just the second-ever true first-year collegian Women's Semifinalist in Georgia's Kendell Williams.
From these 10 women, three finalists will be announced on July 10 before voting – including an online fan vote – opens July 28. The winner of collegiate track & field's highest individual honor will be announced December 17 at the annual U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Convention.
The divide between youth and experience is especially distinct as the four seniors (Oregon's Laura Roesler and Phyllis Francis; Arkansas State's Sharika Nelvis; San Diego State's Shanieka Thomas) and one junior (Remona Burchell, Alabama) on the list are balanced out by a true freshman (Williams) and four sophomores (Texas' Courtney Okolo; Oregon's Jenna Prandini; Princeton's Julia Ratcliffe; Texas A&M's Shelbi Vaughan), all with the potential for long collegiate careers and more Semifinalist appearances ahead of them.
Of those four seniors, three were able to complete the indoor and outdoor sweep in their respective signature events to cap their collegiate careers.
Senior Sharika Nelvis of Arkansas State capped an undefeated season in hurdle events of 100 meters or fewer with a 100-meter hurdles win at NCAAs in 12.52w (+2.8m/s) for the third-fastest all-conditions time in meet history and the 2014 all-conditions world lead.
Among her 10 other wins in sprint hurdle finals was the NCAA Indoor 60-meter hurdles crown by thousandths of a second. She is both Arkansas State's and the Sun Belt Conference's first Semifinalist, regardless of gender.