Historic Caribbean Sweep: Jamaican Jaydon Hibbert and St Lucian Julien Alfred clinch Bowerman Awards

By December 15, 2023

In a historic moment for Caribbean athletes, Jamaican Jaydon Hibbert and St Lucian Julien Alfred made history by claiming the prestigious Bowerman Awards in Denver, Colorado on Thursday night. Both the University of Arkansas and the University of Texas in Austin had the chance to sweep the award, a feat never accomplished since its inception in 2009, with both male and female winners in the same year.

The Razorbacks had Hibbert and standout 400m/400m hurdles runner Britton Wilson, while the Longhorns featured elite sprinter Alfred and decathlete Leo Neugebauer among the six finalists. However, it was Hibbert and Alfred who walked away with the coveted Bowerman Award, creating a historic Caribbean sweep.

Hibbert, at just 18 years old, became the first Jamaican, the first college freshman, and the youngest ever athlete to win the award. On the other hand, Alfred became the first St Lucian to claim the prestigious accolade. Both athletes expressed surprise and gratitude during their emotional acceptance speeches, leaving many in tears.

Alfred's coach, Eldrick Floreal, was visibly moved as the sprinter thanked him for the emotional and mental support that transformed her from a timid 17-year-old into a confident 22-year-old woman. Alfred also expressed gratitude to her parents, her proud mother in the audience, her absent father, and her UT teammates.

Hibbert extended his thanks to his coaches, parents, and everyone who played a role in his journey from Vaz Prep through Kingston College to the University of Arkansas.

Both athletes had outstanding years for their respective schools, contributing to their teams' success. Although neither was the first from the Caribbean to win the award (an honor belonging to the late Deon Lendore of Trinidad and Tobago in 2014), their recognition marked the first time that a pair of international student-athletes were honored since the award's inception.

Hibbert, at 18, is not only the youngest winner in the award's history but also the fifth men's horizontal jumper to receive the recognition. Alfred, at 22, is the seventh female sprinter to secure the Bowerman trophy. Both athletes made significant contributions to their teams' success in the NCAA championships, setting records and earning multiple titles.

Hibbert achieved collegiate indoor and outdoor triple jump records during his freshman year, sweeping both NCAA Division 1 indoor and outdoor titles. Alfred, contributing to five NCAA titles for the Longhorns, secured victories in the 60- and 200-meter indoor championships and the 100- and 200-meter outdoor crowns in the same year. She also played a crucial role in Texas winning the 4x100 relay at the Division 1 outdoor final, contributing to the women's team title.

 

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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