From SFA Athletics
NEW ORLEANS, LA (Press Release)- After a record-breaking year in 2015, Stephen F. Austin senior Demi Payne has been placed on the 2016 Preseason Women's Bowerman Award Watch List, the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) announced on Wednesday afternoon.
Now in its eighth year of existence, The Bowerman is the highest individual honor in the sport of collegiate track and field. Payne was named one of three women's finalists for the award at the conclusion of last season, and attended the annual awards ceremony in San Antonio on December 17th.
A staple on the Bowerman Watch List throughout the year, Payne cracked the top ten for six of eight releases in 2015 before being named a semifinalist on June 23 and a finalist on July 9. In August, the New Braunfels native won the women's fan vote portion of the selection process over Kentucky's Kendra Harrison and Oregon's Jenna Prandini.
To start 2016, Payne is the only female from a non-power five conference represented on the top ten list. She is also the only returning finalist in the group as Harrison and 2015 winner Prandini both turned pro at the conclusion of the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
Back for her senior year, Payne will have just one outdoor season left of eligibility as she will look to defend her NCAA pole vault title back in Eugene, Oregon this June. Payne comes into the year as the collegiate indoor record holder and currently owns the No. 2 spot on the all-time outdoor list. Between the two seasons, Payne holds 11 top-10 jumps in collegiate history, which were all set last year.
The Bowerman, which debuted in 2009, is presented annually by the USTFCCCA to the most outstanding male and female collegiate track & field athletes in the nation. It is named for legendary Oregon track & field and cross country coach Bill Bowerman.
For more information on The Bowerman, the award, the trophy and Bill Bowerman himself, visit TheBowerman.org.
Payne is already off to good start to 2016, winning her first title of the year last Saturday at the Expo Pole Vault Explosion in Belton, Texas with a short run jump of 14-10 (4.52m). She will next be in action this weekend in Akron.