Matt Jones is the online sports director for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A double graduate of the University of Arkansas, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, and voter for the Heisman Trophy.
Arkansas' Brown named a finalist for track's top award
Arkansas' Janeek Brown runs the 100 hurdles during the National Relay Championships on Friday, April 26, 2019, at John McDonnell Field in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE Arkansas sophomore sprinter Janeek Brown is a finalist for the top individual award in track and field.
Brown was named one of three finalists for The Bowerman award on Wednesday along with senior jumper Yanis David of Florida and freshman sprinter Sha'Carri Richardson of LSU. Brown is the second Arkansas female to be named a finalist for the award, and first since pole vaulter Tina Sutej in 2011.
No Arkansas female has ever won the award, which is named for former Oregon coach and Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman. Arkansas' Jarrion Lawson won the men's Bowerman in 2016.
The Bowerman is given to the most outstanding male and female collegiate athlete from the indoor and outdoor track and field seasons. This year's trophies will be presented at the U.S Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association convention in Orlando, Fla., on Dec. 19.
"It's huge for the program to get that type of recognition," Arkansas coach Lance Harter said, "in that conversation that these are our celebrities in track and field.
"This is the who's who of track and field. That she's in that conversation is pretty special."
Brown was the 100-meter hurdles champion in 12.4 seconds at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships earlier this month in Austin, Texas, which was the second-fastest time ever ran in the event. She was also the SEC champion in the event.
Brown had a fourth-place finish in the 200 and was a member of the Razorbacks' third-place 400-meter relay team at the NCAA outdoor meet. She finished fifth in the 60 hurdles at the NCAA indoor meet in March.
Harter said Brown matured into a team leader as a sophomore. Harter recalled a story about Brown beating him to the punch and telling Arkansas' 3,000-meter runners what they needed to do in their event at the NCAA Indoor Championships in March.
"As I was approaching where they were about to take the track, Janeek was coming in the opposite direction and bumped into me, and said, 'Coach, don't worry about it, it's already taken care of,'" Harter said.
"It's that type of confidence and such a team player that she took it upon herself that she said, 'I've got to make sure the distance crew is ready to go.'"
David was the NCAA indoor champion in the triple jump and the NCAA outdoor champion in the long jump, and swept the SEC championships in the two events.
Richardson was the NCAA champion in the 100-meter dash outdoors, setting the collegiate record in 10.75 seconds. Richardson was the SEC outdoor champion in the 100 and 200 meters, and was on the Tigers' 400-meter relay team that also won a conference championship.
Richardson announced last week she is turning pro.
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