EAST GREENSBORO – The North Carolina A&T has an athlete on each of their outdoor track and field programs on The Bowerman Watch List as the U.S. Olympic Trials get underway in Eugene, Ore., Friday.
Freshman Randolph Ross Jr. and sophomore Cambrea Sturgis made the semifinals Bowerman list this week on the men’s and women’s side, respectively, after each had terrific NCAA championships at the University of Oregon’s newly renovated Hayward Field last week.
Ross Jr. and Sturgis will now try to qualify for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics at Trials starting Friday.
The Bowerman award is track and field’s equivalent to college football’s Heisman Trophy Award. It identifies college track and field’s very best from women’s and men’s track and field.
Past winners include world champion hurdler Grant Holloway and Sha’Carri Richardson, one of the fastest women in the world.
The award is named after Bill Bowerman, former Oregon track and field coach from 1949-72. He remained active at the University of Oregon and in the coaching world even after the shoe company he cofounded, Nike, grew into a global giant.
Ross Jr. has had an exceptional 2021.
He finished second nationally in the indoor 400 meters before leading the Aggies 4×400-meter relay team to the indoor national championship. He went on to make his outdoor debut in March at the Texas Relays after the 2020 outdoor season was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
His debut included helping the 4×400 team run the fastest time in the world at 3:00.23. Ross Jr. then won the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) titles in the 400m and 4×400 as the Aggies won their fourth straight outdoor conference title.
At the NCAA East Preliminary Round, the Aggies 4×400 team, including Ross Jr., lowered the world’s fastest time by posting the third-fastest 4×400 time in collegiate history at 2:59.21. That propelled him to the NCAA championships, where he won national titles in the 400m and the 4×400.
Sturgis overcame an injury during the indoor season to have a historic outdoor season.
Her season started at the Texas Relays in March, where she won the 200m in 22.87. She went on to help the 4×100 team win at the prestigious Drake Relays in April before winning MEAC titles in the 100, 200 and 4×100 in May. She went on to record the fastest-qualifying 100m time at the NCAA regionals at 10.92.
It was the second-fastest 100m time in NCAA east regional history.
Sturgis pulled off the 100 and 200m double at the NCAA championships, marking only the 13th time in NCAA history an athlete has won the 100 and 200 at the same NCAA final. In winning the 100, Sturgis ran a 10.74 to run the fastest all-weather 100 in NCAA history.
Sturgis’s 22.12 time in the 200 is the third-fastest NCAA time in history.
Ross Jr. and Aggies senior Trevor Stewart compete in the men’s 400m Friday at 7:58 p.m. EST. Aggies seniors TeJyrica Robison and Madeleine Akobundu will compete in the women’s 100-meter hurdles Saturday at 8:04 p.m. EST.
Olympic Trials begin Friday at 3 p.m., Eastern Standard Time (EST) at Hayward Field. NBC will provide live coverage, June 18-27.
Track and Field coverage begins on NBCSN at 7 p.m. EST, with qualifying and continuing at 10 p.m. EST on NBC, with the finals in the men’s shot put and 10,000m. NBC will provide six nights of live coverage in primetime. Live coverage of the championships will conclude on Sunday, June 27, at 7 p.m. EST on NBC with numerous events.
Courtesy: N.C. A&T Athletics