TUCSON, Ariz. – The University of Arizona Wildcat track and field program will have a finalist on the men's and women's side for The Bowerman this year. On Thursday, the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches' Association (USTFCCCA) announced the three women that are finalists for the highest honor given to the most outstanding male and female student-athletes in collegiate track & field.
Former Wildcat Brigetta Barrett is a finalist for The Bowerman for the second-straight year. Brianna Rollins (Clemson) and Kori Carter (Stanford) are the other two finalists for the women. The Pac-12 has now had four women named finalists but the Pac-12 has never had a winner.
Barrett closed out her collegiate career on a high note after sweeping both the indoor and outdoor NCAA Division I high jump titles for the third consecutive season. She is the most successful female high jumper in collegiate history. She also set the outdoor collegiate record and the all-time dual meet record in the event, all while going unbeaten against collegians in 10 event finals between the indoor and outdoor seasons. She cleared winning heights of 6-3¼ (1.91m) in seven of those finals, and five times took attempts at breaking the collegiate record — succeeding at the Pac-12 Championships with a clearance of 6-6¼ (1.99m).
She was named the 2013 Pac-12 Women's Field Athlete of the Year for the first time in her career. Barrett was also named the USTFCCCA National Women's Field Athlete of the Year this season, the first time she received that honor as well. She also was named the 2013 Women's West Region Field Athlete of the Year. She ended her career at Arizona by winning her last 25-straight collegiate competitions.
Her brief four-event indoor season culminated with a season's-best clearance of 6-4¾ (1.95m) to take the NCAA Division I indoor title by two inches over the nearest competitor. She missed just once through her first seven heights before taking three tries at an indoor collegiate-record 6-6¼ (1.99m), which she did not clear. Her previous season's best prior to the indoor championships had been a clearance of 6-3¼ (1.91m) in her 2013 debut at the Razorback Team Invitational.
Her outdoor season was one for the record books, as she not only claimed the Division I Outdoor high jump title but also set collegiate and all-time dual meet records along the way with two of the ten best clearances in collegiate history. Just as she did indoors, she took the outdoor Division I title with a winning height of 6-4¾ (1.95m), this time with a bit more drama as she cleared her final height on her third attempt, before taking three tries at a new collegiate record of 6-6¾ (2.00m). Barrett is the first woman in collegiate history to win three-straight indoor and outdoor titles. She also owns the most high jump titles in collegiate history with six. Amy Acuff (UCLA) had five. Barrett is the second woman in collegiate history to win three-straight outdoor titles; former Wildcat Tanya Hughes is the other. Hughes accomplished the feat in 1991, 1992 and 1993. The women's track and field program at Arizona has now claimed eight outdoor titles in the women's high jump.
The record she was attempting to usurp was none other than her own, set a month prior at the Pac-12 Championships. After a long build-up featuring 13 heights cleared in one attempt and five others on which she passed, she was successful on her third and final attempt at 6-6¼ (1.99m) to break the previous collegiate record of 6-6 (1.98m) held by Acuff (1995) and Kajsa Bergqvist (SMU, 1999). She then missed on three attempts at 6-7½ (2.02m).
The collegiate record wasn't the only all-time mark she took from Acuff, as Barrett cleared 6-4¼ at the Arizona-Arizona State-Northern Arizona tri meet to surpass Acuff's all-time dual meet high jump record of 6-4 (1.93m) set in 1995. That was also Barrett's winning height at the Stanford Invitational to launch her 2013 outdoor campaign.
As a professional, Barrett won the 2013 USA Championship in the women's high jump with a personal-best clearance of 6-8.25 (2.04m). In her Nike uniform, Barrett went out with a make, choosing to not continue jumping after she cleared that height. Her only miss of the competition came on her first try at 6-8.25, she cleared on her second. It is the best competition of her career by the height she cleared and with the amount of misses she had. Barrett's mark is No. 1 in the world for the 2013 outdoor season. She will represent Team USA at the World Championships for the second-straight time. She also competed at the 2011 IAAF World Championships for the U.S. and took 10th place. She earned a runner-up finish at the 2011 USA Championships. Barrett's previous personal-best clearance was 6-8 (2.03m) at the 2012 London Olympic Games. Her clearance of 6-8.25 was only 1/2 inch away from the American record set by Chaunte Lowe in Des Moines in 2010. That record is 6-8.75 (2.05m). Barrett's clearance is the second best in U.S. history.
In the coming weeks, dozens of select media personnel, track & field statisticians, and collegiate administrators will choose the top male and top female as the award winners. In addition, beginning July 29, fans can visit TheBowerman.org to submit their choices as online voting will account for one full vote in the process.
Finalists were chosen by The Bowerman Advisory Board, a ten-person panel of experts in the sport, based on performances recorded during the indoor and outdoor 2013 track & field seasons. Only performances through the conclusion of the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships are used in consideration. Notable competitions and results beyond that point played no part in the selection process.
The winners will be first announced during a ceremony held in conjunction with the USTFCCCA Convention. The finalists and their families will be invited to take part in the special event that will be held at the JW Marriott Grande Lakes in Orlando, Fla., on December 18.