Georgia sophomore Keturah Orji is one of 10 student-athletes nationwide who have been included on the 2016 Preseason Women’s Bowerman Award Watch List, according to an announcement from the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).
Orji is one of four sophomores on the list that features six members of the Southeastern Conference. The Bowerman is awarded each year to the top male and female collegiate athletes in the sport of NCAA track and field. Student-athletes’ performances during the NCAA indoor and outdoor seasons shall be considered. An student-athlete need not have competed in both seasons to be eligible for the award.
Orji, a native of Mount Olive, N.J., became the first true freshman in history to win the NCAA outdoor triple jump title in 2015 after traveling an American Junior and school record distance of 46 feet, 5 1Ž4 inches. Last year’s USTFCCCA Women’s National Outdoor Field Scholar Athlete of the Year also finished as the NCAA runner-up in the indoor triple jump and was seventh in the outdoor long jump for a third First Team All-America certificate.
At the league level, Orji swept the SEC indoor and outdoor triple jump championships and was third in the long jump at both meets. She finished her first season as the school record holder in the indoor (45-10.50) and outdoor (46-5.25) triple jump as well as the outdoor long jump (21-9).
Junior Kendell Williams, who is the two-time defending NCAA pentathlon champion and collegiate record holder in the event, is also receiving votes for the Watch List.
While a pair of throwers opened their year at the IceBreaker meet in Birmingham, Ala., in early December 2015, many of the other team members start their indoor season in Birmingham at the Blazer Invitational on January 15-16. The CrossPlex facility in Birmingham will house the 2016 NCAA Indoor Championships for the first time on March 11-12.