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Stan Becton | | June 5, 2023

Ranking every Bowerman candidate ahead of NCAA track and field championships

Previewing the 2023 DI outdoor track and field championships

The final Bowerman watch list phase is here and 20 men and women have been named to the seventh update, the final update before national championships. The next reveal for the Bowerman will be the 2023 semifinalists, but before we get too far ahead, I ranked all 20 athletes on the Bowerman watch lists before they get the chance to add some individual — and potentially team — hardware to their collection.

Here's a look at all 20 Bowerman watch list members ranked.

LIVE UPDATES: Follow along for live updates of DI outdoor T&F championships in Austin, Texas

1. Britton Wilson, Arkansas (Sprints/Hurdles)

2. Julien Alfred, Texas (Sprints)

3. Jasmine Moore, Florida (Jumps)

4. Katelyn Tuohy, NC State (Mid-Distance/Distance)

The top four ranked Bowerman candidates are the same women who had the four best cases for the women's Bowerman award entering the preliminaries. With most competing with qualification taking priority over personal bests, little has changed between the four women.

The way that these four women have separated themselves from their fellow women's watch list members is why they take the top four spots on this list that features men's and women's Bowerman candidates. It's shown by the all-time high 28 men's Bowerman watch list members throughout the year that the men's race is more wide-open than the women's race. The dominance that Britton Wilson, Julien Alfred, Jasmine Moore and Katelyn Tuohy have shown throughout the year in their respective disciplines has set them apart entering the DI championships.


5. Kyle Garland, Georgia (Combined Events)

Kyle Garland is the leader in a uber-close men's Bowerman race. The decathlete won the indoor heptathlon title with a collegiate record and already had the second-best decathlon performance in NCAA history — to only himself — this season. He's performing at the levels Ashton Eaton did during his Bowerman winning season.

6. Jaydon Hibbert, Arkansas (Jumps)

Jaydon Hibbert is only a freshman. He's only 18 years old. He's still the best men's triple jumper in the country. Hibbert already set the outdoor triple jump record this year, and this came after he set the indoor triple jump record en route to a national title. For Hibbert to be so dominant, so early in his career is outstanding. 

No freshman male has ever won The Bowerman (freshmen women to win the award include Sha'Carri Richardson in 2019 and Athing Mu in 2021). Could Hibbert be the first?

7. Jorinde van Klinken, Oregon (Throws)

While most around the country were resting up and preparing for outdoor championships during the first weekend of June, Jorinde Van Klinken was in Florence, Italy, throwing in the Diamond League. Mind you, this is before she attempts the shot put-discus double at NCAAs. Van Klinken doesn't have an indoor title, so she'll be looking for her first with the double as one of four women to make every Bowerman watch list this season. If she pulls off the double a week after competing with the pros, there's potential for her to surge up to finish as a finalist.

8. Ayden Owens-Delerme, Arkansas (Combined Events/Hurdles)

The Bowerman goes to the most outstanding athlete in track and field and what Ayden Owens-Delerme is on the verge of doing would be just that. Owens-Delerme went from being a heptathlete in the winter to becoming one of the favorites in the 400 meter hurdles in the spring. If he can close this impressive transition with an individual NCAA title — and maybe a team title sweep too — he'll have a strong case to be selected as a Bowerman finalist for the second straight year.

WATCH LIST: The 2023 Bowerman watch list for men's and women's NCAA track and field

9. Mykolas Alekna, California (Discus)

Mykolas Alekna specializes in the discus and has already reset his previous collegiate record in the event this year. Alekna has remained on the Bowerman watch list since the preseason, without competing during the indoor season. However, the lack of any indoor performance keeps the otherwise dominant Cal Bear from rising higher on this list.

10. Cordell Tinch, Pittsburg State (Hurdles/Jumps)

Yes, you read that right. A Division II athlete is in my top-10 Bowerman candidates. Pittsburg State's Cordell Tinch has forced himself into the conversation after his performance at DII championships. He won three DII titles and led his team to the team title, running the fourth-fastest all-conditions 110 meter hurdles time in WORLD history and winning the high jump and long jump crowns. That's deserving of national recognition regardless of division.

However, unlike everyone else on this list, Tinch's season is over. With nothing left to add to his Bowerman resume, he'll need some help to rise up this list.

11. Sondre Guttormsen, Princeton (Pole Vault)

Sondre Guttormsen has been consistent as one of the best pole vaulters in the country this year. He's already hit 5.90 meters and the collegiate record could be in reach in Austin. While Guttormsen only comes in at No. 11 on this list he could easily climb the ladder if he performs as expected in June.  

12. Ackera Nugent, Arkansas (Sprints/Hurdles)

A strong finish to the indoor season that included a 60 hurdles record and NCAA title has Ackera Nugent as the leader among a stacked group of 100 hurdlers entering the championships. 

13. Masai Russell, Kentucky (Sprints/Hurdles)

Masai Russell set collegiate records during both the indoor and outdoor season in the 60 and 100 hurdles, respectively. She also has the second-best 400 hurdles time this year, adding to her Bowerman resume. However, a runner-up finish in the 60 hurdles keeps her from being one of the top contenders for now.

RECORDS: Watch every collegiate record set in 2023

14. Jordan Geist, Arizona (Throws)

Jordan Geist won the indoor shot put title and has been one of the best in the country, even during the outdoor season too. Geist has also performed well in the hammer throw, winning the Pac-12 title and finishing second at west prelims. He'll be going for the throwing double at NCAA championships. If Geist wins two more individual titles he'll soar up the Bowerman voter's ballots.

15. Fouad Messaoudi, Oklahoma State (Mid-Distance)

The next two athletes on this list are close and really are another 1a-1b situation (or in this case 15a but you get the point). However, Fouad Messaoudi gets the nod at No. 15 because he ran a key leg to the indoor DMR championship relay in addition to his individual indoor title and individual outdoor conference title.

🔮: Predicting every men's individual event winner at DI outdoor track and field championships

16. Dylan Jacobs, Tennessee (Distance)

Dylan Jacobs has been one of the best distance runners in the country... when he's on the track. Jacobs only ran in one outdoor regular season race, winning the 10K at the Bryan Clay Invitational. However, Jacobs did position himself for an NCAA Championships double when he won the 5K at the SEC Championships.

With an indoor 5K NCAA title in tow, Jacobs would surely rise up the list if he adds two more individual titles. Until then, the Tennessee Vol has more to prove.

17. Alia Armstrong, LSU (Sprints/Hurdles)

By all accounts, Alia Armstrong's outdoor season has been fantastic. She won the SEC Championship in the 100 hurdles and she ran 12.31 seconds in the SEC heats, the fastest all-conditions time in NCAA history. So why does she only come in at No. 17 on this list?

Well, the Bowerman is an indoor AND outdoor track and field award, and Armstrong only ran in one indoor race. That said, a great showing at NCAA championships could propel Armstrong into the finalist tier.

18. Ackelia Smith, Texas (Jumps)

Ackelia Smith made her watch list career debut after conference championships, thanks to her long jumping the second-furthest distance in NCAA history. While impressive, Smith doesn't have an indoor championship nor a collegiate record like many of the rest on this list. 

🔮: Predicting every women's individual event winner at DI outdoor track and field championships

19. Duncan Hamilton, Montana State (Distance/Steeple)

Duncan Hamilton joins Tinch as the newest athletes on the watch list. Hamilton ran the second fastest 3000 meter steeplechase time by anyone not named Henry Rono in NCAA history. If Hamilton breaks what appears to be an unbreakable record en route to an NCAA title, that could be enough to make him a Bowerman finalist when it's all said and done. Until then, the newest entrant remains at No. 19.

20. Rhasidat Adeleke, Texas (Sprints)

Rhasidat Adeleke has not disappointed this year, running multiple sub-50 second 400 meters. Her times would likely be good enough to have won an indoor title and to be the favorite in the 400 meters in any other year. It just so happens that 2023 has seen the aforementioned Wilson run faster. A win at outdoor championships could change that, but in the meantime the Irish star slots in at No. 20 after being on and off of the Bowerman watch list throughout the year.

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