Six Pac-12 track and field athletes named The Bowerman semifinalists

Pac-12 Conference

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. - Three men’s and three women’s Pac-12 track & field athletes were named semifinalists for the prestigious The Bowerman Award, presented annually by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) to the most outstanding male and female collegiate track & field athletes in the nation. Both lists are well populated by OREGON Ducks, with freshmen duo Edward Cheserek and Devon Allen earning a spot on the 10-member men’s list. On the women’s side, all three Pac-12 women are Ducks, with Jenna Prandini, Phyllis Francis and Laura Roesler earning semifinalists honors. Joining the Duck contingency is ARIZONA’s distance runner Lawi Lalang. The three women semifinalists by one team is the most ever in the history of the award.

Lawi Lalang (Eldoret, Kenya) is the only senior on the men’s list and is the only one that was a semifinalist a year ago. He went on to be one of three finalists for The Bowerman. Lalang capped a successful collegiate track career winning the 5000 meters at the NCAA Championships in meet-record time (13:18.36), and was the runner up in the 1500 meter by just .04 seconds. Lalang was named the Pac-12 Men’s Track Athlete of the Year by the league’s coaches.

Edward Cheserek (Newark, N.J.) and Devon Allen (Phoenix, Ariz.) are two of three freshmen named semifinalists. The duo were among the four individual champions that helped Oregon claim the men’s NCAA title for the first time since 1984. Cheserek was the national champion in the 10,000 meters and was runner-up to Lalang in the 5000 meters by less than half a second.

Allen set a NCAA Championships record en route to claiming the 110-meter hurdles crown with a time of 13.16, beating out hurdlers that posted the No. 3 and No. 4 all-time best performances in the race. Allen was also voted the Pac-12 Men’s Track & Field Newcomer of the Year.

The Duck women’s trio helped the team to a third-place finish at the NCAA Championships with sophomore Jenna Prandini (Clovis, Calif.) scoring 24 points, the most by a female student-athlete since 2001. She won the long jump individual title and was the runner up in the 200-meter race, while finishing third in the 100 meters. She also ran a leg of the 4x100-meter relay. Prandini was voted the Pac-12 Women’s Track Athlete of the Year and the Pac-12 Women’s Field Athlete of the Year, becoming the first-ever athlete to sweep both awards since the award’s inception in 2005.

Senior Laura Roesler (Fargo, N.D.) was undefeated this year in the 800 meters, moving on to claim the individual national title in the event. Senior teammate Phyllis Francis (Queens, N.Y.) was the runner-up in the 400 meters at the NCAA Championships. She set the American and collegiate records in the indoor this season, as well.

The Bowerman Trophy was first awarded in 2009 and is named after legendary Oregon track & field and cross country coach Bill Bowerman. The award is voted on by the Bowerman Advisory board which is comprised of NCAA collegiate administrators, national and regional media, and track & field statisticians. The award was first presented in 2009. For more information, visit www.ustfccca.org.

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