BATON ROUGE - The winner of The Bowerman will return to the NCAA ranks for the first time in history when Lady Tiger senior Kimberlyn Duncan kicks off the 2013 indoor season on Saturday, and she is certainly the favorite to defend her title as a member of the first women's watch list published Thursday by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.
Duncan made history on Dec. 19 when she was announced the winner of The Bowerman as the top athlete in collegiate track and field for the 2012 season. Not only is she the first LSU athlete to capture the trophy, but she is the first SEC athlete honored as the winner during the four years of the coveted award.
A native of Katy, Texas, Duncan must battle a strong group of athletes to defend her trophy. She is joined by fellow 2012 finalist Brigetta Barrett of Arizona, as well as three semifinalists in Oklahoma thrower Tia Brooks, Oregon sprinter English Gardner and Illinois sprinter Ashley Spencer.
There are 10 women's athletes representing nine different programs from across the country named to the award's preseason watch list, which will be updated throughout the 2013 campaign.
Duncan starts the 2013 season as the two-time defending NCAA Indoor and NCAA Outdoor champion in the 200-meter dash after becoming the first sprinter in collegiate history to sweep national titles in the event in back-to-back seasons with her performance a year ago. She has also captured the NCAA Outdoor silver medalist in the 100-meter dash as the nation's leading dual sprinter in 2011 and 2012.
Not only did Duncan smash the SEC Championship meet record with a career-best time of 10.96 a season ago to become the No. 3-ranked performer in collegiate history, but she broke her own low-altitude collegiate record in the 200-meter dash when she clocked a PR of 22.19 in the NCAA semifinal.
Not only did Duncan take home The Bowerman as the winner of track's Heisman Trophy in 2012, but she was also the USTFCCCA's NCAA Women's Track Athlete of the Year and SEC Co-Women's Runner of the Year, as well as the winner of the Honda Sports Award for women's track and field.
Duncan is one of the most decorated sprinters in collegiate history as she is a five-time NCAA Champion, seven-time SEC Champion and nine-time All-American in her LSU career.
Duncan will kick off her 2013 indoor season on Saturday as the Tigers and Lady Tigers make their trip to Birmingham, Ala., to compete at the Crimson Tide Indoor Opener being held at Fair Park Arena. The Lady Tigers are ranked No. 4 and the Tigers are ranked No.1 0 in the preseason power rankings published by the USTFCCCA on Tuesday afternoon.
The Bowerman Preseason Women's Watch List
Name, Class, School, Event
Brigetta Barrett, Senior, Arizona, High Jump
Tia Brooks, Senior, Oklahoma, Throws
Diamond Dixon, Junior, Kansas, Sprints
Kimberlyn Duncan, Senior, LSU, Sprints
Katie Flood, Junior, Washington, Distance
English Gardner, Junior, Oregon, Sprints
Georganne Moline, Senior, Arizona, Hurdles
Betsy Saina, Senior, Iowa State, Distance
Brittany Smith, Senior, Illinois State, Throws
Ashley Spencer, Sophomore, Illinois, Sprints
The Bowerman Preseason "Also Receiving Mention" List
Name, Class, School, Event
Emma Coburn, Senior, Colorado, Distance
Octavious Freeman, Sophomore, Central Florida, Sprints
Andrea Geubelle, Senior, Kansas, Jumps
Jordan Hasay, Senior, Oregon, Distance
Morgann Leleux, Sophomore, Georgia, Pole Vault
Kai Selvon, Senior, Auburn, Sprints