NEW ORLEANS – Men’s finalists for The Bowerman were announced Thursday by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).

Tennessee’s Christian Coleman and the Texas A&M duo of Fred Kerley and Lindon Victor were chosen by The Bowerman Advisory Board as the top male athletes during the 2017 collegiate track & field campaign. All three are now in the running to win the highest individual honor in collegiate track & field.

This marks the second time in the nine-year history of The Bowerman that each of the finalists hail from the same conference (2010 men, Pac-12) and the third time one men’s program had multiple finalists (Oregon in 2009 and 2010).

Coleman returned from competing in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games on a two-fold mission: To break records and leave no doubt he was the best short-distance sprinter at the collegiate level.

The junior from Atlanta, Georgia, told his coaches that he wanted to complete the sprint double-double, which meant he’d win the 60- and 200-meter titles indoors and 100- and 200-meter titles outdoors. A tall order for sure – but if pulled off, he’d become the first man to attain that feat since former Tennessee great Justin Gatlin in 2001.

Christian Coleman and Justin Gatlin race during the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials (Photo: USA Today).

Coleman also made it clear he wanted to shatter former The Bowerman winner Ngoni Makusha's six-year-old collegiate outdoor record of 9.89 in the 100. Heck, the digits "9.88" graced the background of Coleman's phone throughout the season so he didn't keep it a secret.

Well, mission accomplished – on all fronts – and it wasn’t even close.

Historically Fast First Crown

Christian Coleman won his first NCAA title with a scorching victory in the indoor 60 where he matched the collegiate record of 6.45 set by BYU's Leonard Myles-Mills in 1999 and won by .09, the largest margin of victory in meet history.

Two-Step In The Lone Star State

Christian Coleman wasn't done in College Station, Texas, as he steamrolled the field in the indoor 200.

Coleman broke the stagger by the 100-meter mark and clocked the second fastest time in collegiate history (20.11). He won by 20 one-hundredths of a second, the largest spread between first and second place since 2007 (Walter Dix, 0.31).

Reigning In Eugene, Oregon

Christian Coleman won his third NCAA title of 2017 in the 100 and tied - Who else? - Ngoni Makusha's margin of victory from 2011 when he set the collegiate record (.08).

Not One, Not Two, Not Three, But Four

Christian Coleman had to work for his fourth NCAA title of 2017, which came in the 200, but it was worth the toil.

Coleman edged LSU's Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake by four one-hundredths of a second at the finish line (slimmest margin of victory since 2008 when Walter Dix went back to back) and held up four fingers in celebration.

To The Rocky Top Of The Record Book

You didn't think we'd forget about this one, did you?

Christian Coleman ripped through the NCAA semifinals to the tune of 9.82 seconds, smashing Ngoni Makusha's record of 9.89. Coleman also became the fourth fastest American ever in the process.

"You get goose bumps when you achieve something great, like setting a record, and watching him [at NCAAs] gave me goose bumps as well. You're able to watch a star being born. I'm just going to get my popcorn ready, sit back and enjoy the show." - Justin Gatlin on Christian Coleman

Coleman is the first finalist from Tennessee in program history. He is also the first true short-distance male sprinter to be a finalist. While Makusha and 2016 The Bowerman winner Jarrion Lawson competed in either the 100 or 200 – or both, at that, in Lawson's case – they also both starred in the long jump.

Don't forget that Coleman became just the eighth man in world history to go sub-10 seconds in the 100 and sub-20 seconds in the 200 in the same day. He accomplished that feat at the SEC Outdoor Championships.


That's pretty much all we'd need to say – and show you – about Kerley's senior year to assure you, the reader, of his The Bowerman finalist credentials, but that would be doing the native of Taylor, Texas, a disservice.

While Kerley's 2017 collegiate track & field campaign was punctuated by his record-breaking dash at the NCAA West Preliminary Round in Austin, Texas, the former walk-on – Yes. You read that correctly – won four combined NCAA titles (two individual, two relay) and wrote his name all over the record books.

"When I first got here [to Texas A&M] I was coming off an injury and ran 45.10 that season. Coach (Pat Henry) told me that if I can get through this last season healthy there is no telling what I can do. This season was a blessing." - Fred Kerley

Kerley joined the conversation for The Bowerman on March 2 and never left.

The Texas A&M senior turned heads at the Razorback Invitational in late January, when he recorded one of the quickest lead-off legs of an indoor 4x400 in world history. Kerley shot out of the blocks in 44.96 and helped Texas A&M lower the collegiate record to 3:02.52.

By the end of the indoor season, Kerley made quick work of the open 400 as well. Kerley went undefeated at that distance on his way to the NCAA title and clocked three of the fastest times in collegiate history, of which included the No. 3 mark of 44.85, the No. 5 mark of 45.02 and the No. 8 mark of 45.10.

Texas A&M senior Fred Kerley celebrates after winning the indoor 400-meter title in College Station, Texas (Photo: Image of Sport).

Outdoors, Kerley kept that momentum going and attacked the record book.

The senior tallied four top-10 times in the open 400 – including the collegiate record of 43.70, the No. 3 mark of 44.09, the No. 4 mark of 44.10 and the No. 10 mark of 44.30 – paced the Aggies to a collegiate record in the sprint medley, helped them to a pair of all-time top-10 marks in the 4x400 and won two more NCAA titles to boot (400, 4x400).

However, there was no bigger performance for Kerley than what he did in 43.70 seconds over 400 meters inside Mike A. Myers Stadium. With Quincy Watts, the former record holder in attendance, Kerley took a sledgehammer to his 25-year-old standard of 44.00 and became the seventh fastest man in world history.

Fred Kerley (right) poses with Quincy Watts after breaking the collegiate record (Photo via Twitter).

Kerley is one of four male finalists from Texas A&M in the past four years. He joins 2014 The Bowerman winner Deon Lendore, 2016 finalist Donavan Brazier and current finalist Lindon Victor in that regard.

If Kerley wins The Bowerman, he'd be the second male 400-meter specialist to win collegiate track & field's highest individual honor (Lendore is the other).

Victor's candidacy as a finalist comes down to two numbers.

Let us explain.


Record-breaking decathletes love the Texas Relays for some reason.

Nearly 11 years to the day that Trey Hardee topped Tom Pappas' collegiate record in Austin, Texas, Victor returned the favor at the same meet. Victor put up a Day 1 collegiate scoring record of 4516 and Hardee – who competed alongside him throughout the first day – took notice.

Victor slowed a bit, but by the end of the two-day competition, he amassed 8472 points, seven more than Hardee compiled in 2006.

Texas A&M senior Lindon Victor is helped off the track (Photo: Austin American-Statesman).
"I don't think my record will last as long as Trey's did. I think it will only last a few months until I do my next one." - Lindon Victor after the Texas Relays in late March

Victor's words couldn't have been more prophetic.


Less than two months later, Victor returned to the multi scene in Columbia, South Carolina at the SEC Outdoor Championships and demolished his own record.

This time Victor answered a slow start on the first day and broke the Day 2 collegiate scoring record. Victor totaled 4174 of his 8539 points in the 110 hurdles, discus, pole vault, javelin and 1500. In fact, it was in the discus where Victor bettered his own collegiate decathlon discus record to 55.22m (181-2).

"It shows my versatility. If I have a bad first day, I know I can come back and have a good second day. Now it's a matter of putting both of them together." - Lindon Victor on his Day 2 collegiate scoring record

Victor capped his senior season with an NCAA decathlon title and notched the second best score in meet history in the process (8390). The Grenada native won by 209 points, the largest margin of victory since 2010 when former The Bowerman winner Ashton Eaton set the bar at a whopping 656 points.

And if you're counting at home, Victor is now the proud owner of the No. 1, No. 2 and No. 7 marks in collegiate history based on his work in 2017 alone.

See where Lindon Victor stacks up among the top-10 in collegiate history.

Victor – who, along with Coleman, remained on every Watch List – joins Eaton as the only decathletes to be finalists for The Bowerman.

Will you #VoteColeman?
Will you #VoteKerley?
Will you #VoteVictor?

Fan voting for The Bowerman is now open, which comprises one of the many components when deciding a winner of collegiate track & field's Heisman.

We'll find out which of these three men – Christian Coleman, Fred Kerley or Lindon Victor – take home The Bowerman on December 15 at The Bowerman Presentation Show at the annual USTFCCCA Convention in Phoenix, Arizona.

Former Arkansas standout Jarrion Lawson won The Bowerman in 2016 (Photo by Craig Macaulso).


Photos Courtesy: Image of Sport

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