Britton Wilson eyes redemption at Bowerman Awards after NCAA disappointment; sweeter if she and ‘bestie’ Hibbert sweep

By December 14, 2023

American sprinter Britton Wilson, a finalist for the prestigious Bowerman Award, sees the opportunity not only as a chance for personal recognition but also as a means to overcome the disappointment of not winning the 400m/400m hurdles double or either of the two events at the NCAA Outdoor National Championships in Texas last June.

The award that will be presented later today, Thursday, December 14 is named after legendary Oregon track and field coach Bill Bowerman and stands as the highest honor bestowed upon the year's best student-athlete in American collegiate track and field. 

Wilson, who is among the six finalists for the award, expressed her excitement about the possibility of a University of Arkansas sweep, particularly alongside her close friend and fellow athlete, Jaydon Hibbert.

"Yeah, I'm super excited and definitely even more excited that I'm there with Jayden. Me and Jayden have a really great relationship, so we become super close, so besties. So it's really exciting to get to be there with someone that's like one of my best friends and the fact that both the men's staff and the women's staff are all going to be there," Wilson remarked.

The American sprinter emphasized the camaraderie and positive attitude both she and Hibbert share, regardless of the final outcome. "So the environment's going to be really exciting...we're not going to be upset either way because we're both just like so happy and blessed to be there anyway and just to have this experience."

Reflecting on the setbacks she faced, Wilson discussed the impact of injuries on her mental state during the season. "The injury definitely was a little, a little bit of a bummer on like my attitude towards the future. It definitely made things a lot more mentally challenging, but other than that I think the season was really great and I have so many positive memories."

Detailing the severity of her injuries, Wilson explained, "It was both shins. My right one was a Grade 2 stress fracture, and my left one was a Grade 4 stress fracture."

Wilson who had been dominant in both 400m and 400m hurdles all season, attempted a feat no one had managed to accomplish before – win the 400m and 400m hurdles at an NCAA championship. Both events were 25 minutes apart.

Running with stress fractures in both shins, Wilson finished second in the 400m well behind fellow Bowerman finalist Rhasidat Adeleke, who ran 49.20, just missing Wilson’s NCAA record of 49.13. Wilson was well behind in second in 49.64. To add to the disappointment of not winning the flat-four, Wilson was a distant seventh in the 400m hurdles in 55.92, much slower than the 54.67 she ran in the preliminary round.

When asked if winning the Bowerman Award could make up for the disappointment of missing out on the historic double at the championships, Wilson shared her emotional journey.

"I actually was very, very, very heartbroken after the Nationals because I've done the double so many times. And doing that double has become really easy to me. And people think it sounds kind of crazy when I say that, but it feels really easy and I like enjoy doing it. So I was really just excited to do it at Nationals and get the chance to be the first person to do it," Wilson explained.

 

"But everything just kind of wasn't in my favor. The injury was worse. Mentally, I wasn't there. And so it was really heartbreaking because in my heart, I knew I could do it, but it just didn't happen that day," she continued.

Despite the setbacks, Wilson expressed gratitude for being a Bowerman finalist and believes winning the award could be a significant redemption. "Just being a finalist has meant a lot to me. And I think if I were to win it, it would definitely make up for all the little heartbreaks that I had from that Nationals race 'cause it was really hard on me."

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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