Texas sprinter Courtney Okolo is one of three finalists in the running for the Bowerman Trophy, which will be awarded to the nation’s top male and female student-athletes for 2016 in Orlando Friday night.
The United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association will present the awards at the JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes following the 5 p.m. red carpet ceremony.
Okolo earned her spot as a finalist with a campaign that featured a 400-meter record and multiple NCAA championships. She broke her own mark in the 400 meters in her outdoor debut this year by running a 49.71 at the LSU Alumni Gold in April. Okolo won the same event at the NCAA outdoor championships with a time of 50.36 seconds. In addition, she anchored the Longhorns’ 1600-meter relay to help Texas come from behind and claim victory at the NCAA championships.
Okolo defended her indoor NCAA title in the 400 as well, finishing in 50.69. She helped the Longhorns earn the victory in the 1600 relay as the team finished in 3:28.77. With Okolo on the relay team the Longhorns have posted four of the top seven 1600 relay times in NCAA history.
In addition, Okolo dominated the Big 12 conference, winning the 200 and 400 indoor titles. She set meet records in both events. Okolo took her third straight title in the outdoor 400 event and helped win the title on the 400 relay team. She’s the only woman to run a sub-51 in the 400 at the Big 12 meet, accomplishing that feat twice.
Keturah Orji of Georgia and Raven Saunders of Mississippi are the other finalists competing for the Bowerman Trophy.
The trophy is named after Bill Bowerman, former coach of Oregon and co-founder of Nike. Created in 2009, the trophy is billed as the Heisman Trophy for track and field athletes. Members of the media, statisticians and college administrators vote on the winners. An online fan vote accounts for one vote in the scoring.
Coverage of the event can be seen via webcast on texassports.com, TheBowerman.org or FloTrack.org.
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