ATHENS, Ga. — Georgia track and field junior Denzel Comenentia has been named one of the 10 semifinalists for The Bowerman, which is given annually to the nation’s most elite collegiate male and female in the sport.
This announcement from the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) comes a day after Lady Bulldog senior Keturah Orji and freshman Lynna Irby were included as two of the 10 women’s semifinalists.
Also on Wednesday, Comenentia was named the USTFCCCA National Men’s Field Athlete of the Year for the first time after sweeping the USTFCCCA South Region honors indoors and outdoors in 2018. Orji was named the National Co-Women’s Field Athlete of the Year and head coach Petros Kyprianou was named the National Men’s Coach of the Year.
Comenentia is the first semifinalist for the Bulldog men since Maicel Uibo in 2015. Three finalists for the women’s Bowerman are expected to be announced on June 20 while the three for the men will be announced on June 21.
Comenentia, a native of Amsterdam, Netherlands, won both the NCAA outdoor shot put and hammer throw championships, scoring 20 of the Bulldogs’ 52 points en route to the team’s first NCAA team title. He was the meet’s top scorer and delivered UGA its first national hammer crown since 2003 and first national shot championship since 1994. Comenentia also single-handily gave the Bulldogs their first two NCAA outdoor titles in the same season in history. He became the first competitor since 2008 (Auburn’s Cory Martin) to win both events at the same national championships and only the third overall.
At the SEC level, Comenentia also swept the two throws titles to help him earn SEC Men’s Outdoor Field Athlete of the Year and USTFCCCA South Region Men’s Outdoor Field Athlete of the Year honors. He was also the first since 2008 (Martin) to win both events at the SEC meet and joined Martin as one of the few conference competitors who accomplished that feat in back to back years. Comenentia took over the spot at the No. 10 all-time collegiate performer with the No. 17 all-time collegiate performance after lifting his top effort in the hammer a Dutch national record distance of 250 feet, 8 inches at NCAAs. Also setting a meet record in the hammer at SECs, Comenentia finished with the nation’s second-longest shot put mark in 2018 and moved to No. 2 on Georgia’s all-time list with an effort of 68-6.
Indoors, Comenentia set a school record in the shot put with a winning effort of 67-0.75 (No. 4 nationally) at the Tiger Paw Invitational and picked up two more victories in the event during the regular season. After taking third at the SEC Indoor Championships, Comenentia improved to second at the NCAA met with a shot put mark of 66-7. Starting the year with a then personal record of 73-6.75 to win the weight throw at the Clemson Invitational, he established a fresh facility record (77-9.50, which is No. 2 on the school’s all-time list and on the 2018 national list) in the event to win his first SEC title in the weight. Comenentia added another First Team All-America certificate in the weight at the NCAA Championships after his top effort measured 73-8.