Nearly four weeks ago to the day, Jamaica’s Jaydon Hibbert became the youngest winner in the history of The Bowerman. Hibbert hoisted the iconic award at the conclusion of the 2023 USTFCCCA Convention at the Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center outside of Denver.

His path toward becoming the first repeat winner of collegiate track & field’s highest individual honour from either gender began Wednesday, as he headlines three Jamaicans that were unveiled on the Men’s Preseason Watch List.

Hibbert, who swept the NCAA triple jump crowns and shattered both the indoor and outdoor collegiate records as a freshman at Arkansas, was joined on the ten-man Watch List by Arkansas teammates high jumper Romaine Beckford and World Athletics Championships long jump silver medallist Wayne Pinnock.

Another 2023 finalist, Leo Neugebauer of Texas, 2023 semi-finalists Mykolas Alekna of California and Ky Robinson, as well as, Harvard teammates Graham Blanks and Kenneth Ikeji, Shaun Maswanganyi of Houston and Godson Oghenebrume of LSU, are also on the list.

The next Watch List on the men’s side will be released on February 8.

Earlier, on Tuesday, Jamaica’s long jumper Ackelia Smith of the University of Texas and high jumper Lamara Distin of Texas A&M University were named on the women’s side.

The Bowerman, which is presented to the best male and female track and field athletes in the US College circuit each year since it was inaugurated in 2009, will be awarded in December at the annual USTFCCCA Convention in Orlando, Florida.

Jamaica’s Jaydon Hibbert, a freshman at the University of Arkansas, is among the three male finalists for the 2023 Bowerman Award, collegiate track and field’s highest individual honor. The finalists that also include Kyle Garland of the University of Georgia and Leo Neugebauer of the University of Texas.

Hibbert, Garland and Neugebauer won a combined four NCAA titles, obliterated four collegiate records and notched 10 all-time top-10 performances in their respective events. This is just the second time in award history that all three men’s finalists broke at least one collegiate record (2017 was the first).

Eighteen-year-old Hibbert, formerly of Kingston College in Jamaica, is the undisputed King of the Triple Jump in collegiate history.

The Arkansas freshman completed the NCAA title sweep with a victory at the NCAA DI Outdoor Championships. Hibbert unified the indoor and outdoor collegiate records with a 17.54m effort indoors to win that NCAA crown, followed by a majestic, world-leading 17.87m outdoors at the SEC Championships.

Both marks are also U20 world records.

Prior to Hibbert taking the collegiate scene by storm, both of the collegiate records in the triple jump had stood for more than 35 years. Even more impressive might be the fact that Hibbert only needed 12 jumps all season to achieve all of those feats.

Hibbert is the third male athlete from Arkansas to be named a finalist for The Bowerman, joining 2016 award winner Jarrion Lawson and 2022 finalist Ayden Owens-Delerme. Hibbert is the fifth freshman man to be named a finalist and the youngest to be named a finalist in award history.

Garland, who hails from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, starred in the combined events this year. He won the heptathlon crown at the NCAA DI Indoor Championships with a near world-record 6639 points and demolished the collegiate record in the process. Outdoors, Garland amassed two of the top-4 decathlon scores in collegiate history: the first coming at the SEC Outdoor Championships where he tallied 8589 points for what is now the fourth-best; the second in a runner-up effort at the NCAA DI Outdoor Championships where he one-upped himself with 8630 points for the third-best.

Neugebauer, who hails from Germany, orchestrated a masterclass performance in the decathlon at the NCAA DI Outdoor Championships. It was on his home track in Austin, Texas, where Neugebauer amassed 8836 points to obliterate the collegiate record, set a German national record and climb all the way to No. 8 in world history.

Hibbert is one of two Caribbean athletes who are Bowerman finalists in 2023. On Monday, St Lucia’s Julien Alfred was among the three women finalists for the prestigious award.

Fan voting for The Bowerman begins Tuesday, June 27 on The Bowerman’s website and runs through Thursday, June 29. Paper voting also begins on Tuesday, June 27 and closes on July 14.

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