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NEWS: Tuohy Not Among Bowerman Finalists, Valby Signs Nike NIL Deal & ETSU Cuts Men's Indoor Track


 

Katelyn Tuohy Not Listed Among Bowerman Finalists

On Tuesday, The Bowerman announced their three men's and three women's finalists for the 2023 Bowerman Award. On the women's side, the three finalists were Julien Alfred (Texas), Jasmine Moore (Florida) and Britton Wilson (Arkansas).


Katelyn Tuohy, the NC State superstar who won indoor national titles over 3000 meters and 5000 meters this past winter, as well as broke NCAA records in the mile (4:24), the 3000 meters (8:35) and the outdoor 5000 meters (15:03) was not listed among the finalists.


The Wolfpack phenom also won an individual cross country national title back in the fall, although The Bowerman does not review cross country performances when considering nominees and finalists.

Tuohy was a heavy favorite to be among the top-three finalists for this year's women's Bowerman Award. However, the NC State standout then faded in the 1500 meter finals at the outdoor national meet (to 7th place) and did not toe the line for the women's 5000 meter finals on the same stage.


Julien Alfred became the newest collegiate record holder in the 60 meter dash and the 200 meter dash earlier this winter on the indoor oval. She also became a four-time NCAA champion between the indoor and outdoor track seasons.


Jasmine Moore, meanwhile, set new NCAA records in the outdoor triple jump, the indoor triple jump and the indoor long jump. She also won national titles in those exact three events throughout 2023.


And then there is Britton Wilson, the dynamic 400 meter talent who set a collegiate record in that event on both the indoor and outdoor ovals. She also set the indoor 600 meter collegiate record and won the indoor 400 meter national title. The Arkansas runner did the ambitious 400/400 meter hurdles double at the outdoor national meet where she placed 2nd and 7th place, respectively.


A women's collegiate distance runner who focuses on events over 800 meters has not won The Bowerman Award since Jenny Simpson (née Barringer) won the honor in 2009. On the men's side, Cam Levins' was the last distance runner to win The Bowerman Award in 2012.


Parker Valby Signs NIL Deal With Nike

Earlier this week, Florida superstar Parker Valby announced that she has signed a "Name, Image & Likeness" (NIL) deal with Nike, becoming the brand's new first sponsored female NCAA track and field athlete.

Valby has garnered significant attention over the last year or two in the NCAA. The Florida standout broke onto the national scene last year after running 15:20 for 5000 meters at the 2022 outdoor national meet. In that race, she finished runner-up to Katelyn Tuohy.


The Gator star would go on to have a dominant 2022 cross country season where she once again settled for silver behind Tuohy at the NCAA XC Championships. And after an injury-plagued indoor track season, Valby finally won her first national title earlier this month, winning the outdoor national title over 5000 meters.


Valby now joins Tuohy (Adidas), Stanford's Charles Hicks (Nike) and Wisconsin's Evan Bishop (Brooks) as collegiate distance athletes with shoe brand sponsorship deals.


In a Q&A between Valby and her athletic representation (Kimbia Athletics), which was first posted by LetsRun.com, the Florida distance star noted that the deal, "...allows athletes like myself to earn an income while pursuing a college degree and competing in the NCAA. I love being part of a college team and representing my university, so for me it’s a real positive."


Earlier this year, distance coach Chris Solinsky left the University of Florida to become a distance coach at the University of Oregon. His replacement was Will Palmer, the former distance coach at Alabama who has since added Flomena Asekol and Allison Wilson as incoming transfers to the Gators' program.


East Tennessee State Cuts Men's Indoor Track

On Monday, East Tennessee State announced that they will be "discontinuing" their men's indoor track and field program. The decision is effective immediately, per the press release. Women's indoor track, women's outdoor track, women's cross country, men's outdoor track and men's cross country remain unaffected by the decision.

The below excerpt was taken from said press release...


“This was not a decision we made lightly,” ETSU Athletic Director Dr. Richard ‘Doc’ Sander said. “But we have to make tough decisions sometimes to ensure we are providing the best possible experiences for our student athletes as a whole and preserving the standard of excellence of our athletics programs.”
"Over the past few years, men have constituted a decreasing percentage of the ETSU’s overall enrollment, a trend observed at universities nationwide."

The press release also cited limited financial resources, as well as the objective to better align with Title IX requirements, as reasons behind the men's indoor track and field team being cut.


The Buccaneer middle distance and long distance men have recently been headlined by Miguel Parrilla who has run as fast as 1:48.84 for 800 meters. On the grass, the East Tennessee State men finished runner-up as a team at the 2022 Southern Conference XC Championships behind Furman.


To reiterate, only ETSU's men's indoor track program is being eliminated. Their men's outdoor track and men's cross country teams will remain.


Princeton Director of Men's TFXC, Fred Samara, Retires

On Tuesday, it was announced that Fred Samara, the Director of Men's Track & Field and Cross Country at Princeton, is retiring after 46 years with the Tigers. The 73-year old has led 10 Princeton athletes to NCAA titles and has produced six Olympians.


Princeton's press release of Samara's retirement noted that a, "national search for his successor will begin immediately."

Head cross country coach Jason Vigilante has proven to be one of the NCAA's better distance coaches over the past 12 years, allowing the Tiger men to emerge as a key dominant force in the Ivy League during that time. While only speculation, it is possible that Vigilante could end up as the men's program's next Director of Track & Field and Cross Country.


Texas Standout Crayton Carrozza Expected to Turn Pro

Earlier this week, former Texas star and two-time Olympian, Leo Manzano, announced via Instagram that he will be representing middle distance standout Crayton Carrozza who is expected to leave the NCAA and turn pro.


Manzano, a 2012 Olympic silver medalist over 1500 meters for the United States, works for Hawi Management, an athlete representation company that specializes in track and field.

Carrozza, a Longhorn ace himself, has evolved into one of the best middle distance talents in the NCAA. The Texas runner owns personal bests of 1:46 (800), 3:40 (1500) and 3:56 (mile). He was a DMR All-American in the winter of 2021 (3rd), an indoor mile All-American in the winter of 2022 (7th), a DMR national champion in the winter of 2022 and an 800 meter All-American in the winter of 2023 (2nd).


The Texas native also qualified for the outdoor national meet in 2021 and 2023, but finished in 9th place in the 800 meter finals in both showings. However, a recent Instagram post from Carrozza suggests that the Longhorn runner was dealing with an illness on the national stage earlier this month.

Despite having a year of eligibility remaining between indoor track and outdoor track (per TFRRS), the expected absence of Carrozza in 2024 could leave fellow Texas half-miler, Yusuf Bizimana, with one less name to worry about as he goes after additional NCAA titles.


There is loose speculation around the NCAA that Georgia's Will Sumner may turn pro later this summer. And by removing Carrozza from the collegiate picture entirely, the path towards NCAA gold for Bizimana seems to be clearer than it ever has been.


Of course, the introduction of Oussama El Bouchayby to Alabama, a Division Two megastar who has run 1:45.31 for 800 meters before, will likely pose as a legitimate threat to Bizimana come March and June of next year.

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