Hibbert among five Jamaicans on Bowerman watch list
Jamaica’s first Bowerman Awards winner Jaydon Hibbert of the University of Arkansas leads a quintet of Jamaicans who were included on the preseason Bowerman watch list for the 2024 track and field season.
Hibbert, who last December became the youngest person at age 18 to win the award, is also one of a record three athletes to be named from one school on the men’s list. He is joined by World Athletics Championships men’s long jump silver medallist Wayne Pinnock and high jumper Romaine Beckford on the men’s list.
World Championships representatives, high jumper Lamara Distin of Texas A&M University and horizontal jumper Ackelia Smith of the University of Texas, were named among the women.
The Bowerman award, which goes to the most outstanding track and field male and female athletes for the season — indoor and outdoor — will be awarded in December at the annual USTFCCCA Convention in Orlando, Florida.
If Hibbert, who had the world-leading mark in the triple jump last season, wins again, he would be the first person to win back-to-back Bowerman awards since the award began being handed out in 2009.
The three men named “have combined for six titles and 73 points in NCAA Championships held in 2022 and 2023”, the University of Arkansas Sports Information Department said in a release on Wednesday.
It also noted that: “Each claimed a title at the 2023 Jamaica Championships in their respective events – high jump for Beckford, long jump for Pinnock, and triple jump for Hibbert.” Distin took the women’s high jump title.
Hibbert was perfect through his first collegiate season, winning a pair of NCAA titles in the triple jump and produced the world-leading mark last year with a 17.87m performance that broke the outdoor collegiate record from 1982 as well as the world Under-20 record from 1985.
Pinnock, who also had a world-leading and lifetime best 8.54m mark during the qualifying round of the World Championships in Budapest, Hungary last August, won the South-Eastern Conference (SEC) outdoors title. He finished runner-up to teammate Carey McLeod at NCAA Outdoor and was also second at the SEC indoors and fourth in the NCAA outdoors.
Beckford, who won the NCAA outdoors while attending the University of South Florida in 2023, also winning a handful of Conference titles in the American Athletics Conference, was also the 2023 AAC Indoor Field Most Outstanding Performance.
Distin placed fifth at the World Championships and has been one of the most consistent female high jumpers in the NCAA over the two previous seasons, winning three NCAA high jump titles – twice indoors in 2022, and the outdoors in 2022.
She has a lifetime best 1.97m both indoors and outdoors, the third-best of all time in the NCAA indoors and fourth best outdoors. She has been on the Bowerman watch list seven times.
Smith, who competed in both the long and triple jumps at the World Championships, is making her third appearance on the watch list. She won the 2023 NCAA outdoor long jump title with 7.08m and was second in the triple jump with 14.54m, both marks the second-best ever in collegiate history.