Collegiate standouts Alfred, Nugent, Smith are Bowerman semi-finalists

By June 21, 2023
Alfred, Smith and Nugent each had record-breaking collegiate seasons. Alfred, Smith and Nugent each had record-breaking collegiate seasons.

St Lucia’s Julien Alfred and Jamaica’s Ackera Nugent and Ackelia Smith are among the semi-finalists for the 2023 Bowerman Award.

The Bowerman is the premier award in collegiate track and field, highlighting the top athlete in the sport for both men and women. While the award isn't officially announced until December at the annual USTFCCCA convention, the Bowerman committee releases watch lists throughout the year before the award's final announcement.

Alfred, 22, has been on every watch list update, including the preseason watch list. It's the second time in her career she has been named a semi-finalist having made the list last season. Alfred dominated both the indoor and outdoor season, winning five NCAA titles, four being individual events.

The 14-time All-American completed the indoor double with wins in the 60m dash and the 200m dash where she broke the collegiate record. Her dominance continued outdoors where she defended her 100m title and went back-to-back seasons without losing a collegiate 100m race. She added an outdoor 200m title to her name with the fastest all-conditions time in NCAA history and helped the Longhorns defend their 4x100 relay title on her home track.

Alfred was also named both the Indoor and Outdoor National Women's Track Athlete of the Year honoree this season by USTFCCCA.

Nugent, a transfer from Baylor, arrived at Arkansas with lofty career best times of 7.27 (60), 7.89 (60H), 11.09 (100), 24.13 (200 indoor), 24.18 (200 outdoor), and 12.45 (100H) and proceeded to better her times in four of the five events.

Opening the season with an 8.00 victory in the 60m hurdles, Nugent bettered her career best with a 7.88 victory two weeks later.

In the SEC Indoor Championships, Nugent lowered her 60m hurdle best to 7.81 as silver medalist and her 60m best fell twice – 7.22 in the prelims and 7.20 as the bronze medalist.

Prepared to face the same elite hurdlers she raced in the conference meet during the NCAA Indoor Championships, Nugent broke the collegiate record in the semifinal with a 7.72 to top the previous record of 7.75 set by Kentucky’s Masai Russell earlier in the season.

Nugent also became the Jamaican national record holder, bettering the 7.74 by Michelle Freeman from 1998. On the world all-time list, Nugent ranks as the No. 6 performer with the No. 10 performance.

In the NCAA 60m hurdle final, a 7.73 for Nugent delivered her second gold in the event over a 7.78 for Russell. Nugent previously won the indoor title in 2021.

Outdoors, Nugent opened in the 100m hurdles with a windy 12.95 (3.9) in the Texas Relays prelims but didn’t contest the final. Russell won the final in a collegiate record of 12.36 (2.0) with LSU’s Alia Armstrong runner-up at 12.57.

Racing at the LSU Invitational, on the same venue hosting the SEC Championships two weeks later, Nugent edged out Armstrong for a 12.52 to 12.56 victory.

On the return visit to Baton Rouge for the conference meet, Nugent clocked a windy 12.49 (2.2) in the prelims and set a career best 12.43 to earn a silver medal in the final, moving to No. 6 on the all-time collegiate list.

Armstrong claimed the victory in 12.40 with Russell third at 12.47. Nugent added a fourth place in the 100 with an 11.13.

In the NCAA Outdoor final, Nugent flew down the track to earn the victory with a scintillating 12.25w (3.8), which became the collegiate all-conditions best time ever. A 12.32w for Russell claimed silver while Armstrong finished with bronze at 12.49w.

 Smith finished in the top-three spots in both the long jump and triple jump at both NCAA meets this season. She was the NCAA runner-up in the long jump and finished third in triple jump during the indoor season.

Smith dominated the long jump during the outdoor season, setting the No. 2 mark in NCAA history at the Big 12 Championships with a jump of 7.08m and went on to win the NCAA title at 6.88m. She finished as the runner-up in the triple jump at NCAA with a personal-best mark of 14.54m and became the only Longhorn, male or female, to finish in the top-two of both events at the same NCAA championships.

The Bowerman will announce the three finalists on Monday, June 26.

Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At SportsMax.tv he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

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