Jessica Beard wins The Bowerman Award
The Bowerman Award, which is track and field's version of the Heisman trophy, debuted in 2009 and is presented annually by the USTFCCCA to the most outstanding male and female collegiate track & field athletes in the nation. The award is named for legendary Oregon track & field and cross country coach Bill Bowerman.
Beard, who is a native of Euclid, Ohio, won the fan vote in August and was a finalist along with LSU sprinter Kimberlyn Duncan, who is from Katy, Texas, and Arkansas pole vaulter Tina Sutej, who hails from Slovenia.
"It's so nice to recognized in this way and for our accomplishments to be honored the same way they do in football and basketball," said Beard. "Now we are getting recognized in our sport.
"I couldn't be happier and so excited to bring this award back to Aggieland, also know as 'Three-peat, Texas'. I couldn't have done it without all the people who voted for me, so I'm really excited."
Beard enjoyed many special moments in her career as an Aggie, from being part of seven Big 12 conference titles that blossomed into three consecutive NCAA Outdoor Championships and completing the first-ever triple-double of national team titles by the A&M men's and women's teams in the same year during the 2009, 2010 and 2011 seasons.
"Working with the team boosted my self-esteem and individual goals," said Beard. "I couldn't have achieved an award like this without my teammates. They truly helped me."
Individually, Beard set school records in the 400 at Texas A&M and in her senior campaign completed a sweep of the 400 NCAA titles, indoor and outdoor, as well as anchor the Aggies to school record victories in the NCAA 4 x 400 relays.
Beard's Bowerman moments came in winning her first NCAA 400 crown indoors with a loud home crowd cheering her on to a world-leading 50.79-second victory. Outdoors the anchored the A&M 4 x 400 to a come-from-behind win while setting a record split of 49.13 seconds at the NCAA Outdoor Championship.
"I'll never forget how loud it got when I was running at the NCAA Indoor," noted Beard. "I knew the crowd was backing everything I did and I was hoping my form wouldn't break with all these Aggies cheering for me. I did it for the Aggies."
THE BOWERMAN WINNERS
2011: Jessica Beard, Texas A&M
2010: Queen Harrison, Virginia Tech
2009: Jenny Barringer, Colorado
2011: Ngoni Makusha, Florida State
2010: Ashton Eaton, Oregon
2009: Galen Rupp, Oregon