COURTESY: Arkansas State
NEW ORLEANS, La. (7/10/14) – Arkansas State seniorSharika Nelvis has been named one of three 2014 Women’s Finalists for The Bowerman Trophy by The Bowerman Advisory Board, the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) announced Thursday.
A native of Memphis, Tenn., Nelvis is the first student-athlete from the Sun Belt Conference, regardless of gender, to be named a Bowerman Trophy finalist. The A-State senior won two national titles this past season in the outdoor 100-meter hurdles and the indoor 60-meter hurdles, leading to her third straight Indoor and Outdoor All-America selection by the USTFCCCA. Additionally, she was recently chosen as the 2014 Honda Sports Award winner for women’s track and field and is a nominee for the 2014 NCAA Woman of the Year.
Joining Nelvis as finalists for the award are sophomore sprinter Courtney Okolo of Texas and senior middle distance runner Laura Roesler of Oregon. These three women will travel to Phoenix, Ariz., for the awarding of The Bowerman Trophy Dec. 17 as part of the annual USTFCCCA Convention.
Voting for the trophy will begin on July 28 and conclude on Aug. 12. Fans will have an opportunity to make their voices heard in a fan vote that will ultimately count as one ballot alongside those cast by media members, statisticians, USTFCCCA member coaches and other experts from around the nation.
The Bowerman Trophy, which is named for legendary Oregon track & field and cross country head coach Bill Bowerman, was first awarded in 2009 and is presented annually by the USTFCCCA to the most outstanding male and female collegiate track & field athletes in the nation. Former Clemson standout Brianna Rollins, the reigning World Champion in the 100-meter hurdles and the current American record holder in the event, was the 2013 Bowerman Trophy recipient.
Nelvis was recognized as the 2014 USTFCCCA South Central Region Women’s Outdoor Track Athlete of the Year and the 2013-14 Sun Belt Conference (SBC) Female Athlete of the Year. She captured three conference event individual titles at the 2014 SBC Outdoor Track & Field Championship meet with first-place showings in the 100-meter hurdles, 100-meter dash, and 200-meter dash en route to being honored as the SBC Women’s Most Outstanding Track Performer by scoring a league-meet leading 38 points. Nelvis, a three-time (2012-14) All-SBC First-Team pick, was also tabbed as the USTFCCCA’s Division I National Women’s Outdoor Track and Field Athlete of the Week (May 12) and honored as the SBC Women’s Outdoor Track Athlete of the Week three times (April 16, 23, and 30) this spring.
In the indoor season, Nelvis was the 2014 SBC Women’s Outstanding Indoor Track Athlete as she won all four of her events at the 2014 conference meet with top performances in the long jump, 60-meter dash, 200-meter dash, and 60-meter hurdles to finish with a meet-best 40 points. She was named twice (Jan. 15 and 22) the SBC Indoor Track Athlete of the Week in the 2014 campaign.
The USTFCCCA is a non-profit professional organization representing cross country and track & field coaches of all levels. The organization represents over 8,000 coaching members encompassing 94 percent of all NCAA track & field programs (DI, DII, and DIII) and includes members representing the NAIA as well as a number of state high school coaches associations. The USTFCCCA serves as an advocate for cross country and track & field coaches, providing a leadership structure to assist the needs of a diverse membership, serving as a lobbyist for coaches’ interests, and working as a liaison between the various stakeholders in the sports of cross country and track & field.