NEW ORLEANS – Texas A&M’s tandem of junior Olivia Ekponé and sophomore Shelbi Vaughan were named to The Bowerman women’s watch list this week following record breaking performances at the SEC Championships.
The Aggie pair joined Texas and Oregon as other schools who had two athletes each named to the watch list this week among the 10 athletes selected. Awarded for the first time in 2009, The Bowerman trophy is presented annually by the USTFCCCA to the most outstanding male and female collegiate track and field athletes in the nation.
Ekponé set career best times in both the 100 and 200 meters as she swept the SEC Championship sprint titles in 11.11 and 22.23 seconds. The previous best time in those events by Ekponé included 11.23 in the 100 from winning the Penn Relays last month and a 23.02 from winning the Sun Angel Classic a month ago.
In breaking the Texas A&M school record of 22.25 in the 200 meters, Ekponé moved past some Aggie sprint legends in the process. Tied for ninth on the A&M all-time list with her 23.02, Ekponé went ahead of Jessica Beard (23.02), Ashton Purvis (22.95), Dominique Duncan (22.94), Ashley Collier (22.89), Kamaria Brown (22.58), Porscha Lucas (22.29), Jeneba Tarmoh (22.28) and school record holder Simone Facey (22.25).
With the current world leading time in 2014, Ekponé also recorded the fastest collegiate 200m time into a headwind, topping the previous best effort of 22.29 by Nebraska’s Merlene Ottey during the prelims of the 1989 NCAA Championships in Provo, Utah. On the all-time collegiate list Ekponé equals the No. 3 time with the No. 4 performance. She broke the SEC Championship record of 22.35 shared by Georgia’s Debbie Ferguson (1999) and LSU’s Kimberlyn Duncan (2013).
Her 11.11 in the 100 moves her to No. 3 on the A&M all-time list and equals the fastest collegiate time in 2014 under wind legal conditions. On the 2014 world list she is equal No. 9.
In finishing the SEC Championships as the women’s high-point scorer with 22.5 points, Ekponé anchored the Aggie relay to a 3:28.59 victory with a 49.9 split that moved A&M from third to first place.
Vaughan dominated the SEC field by 33 feet in defending her conference discus title. She opened with a career best throw of 204-2 (62.25), moving to No. 9 on the all-time collegiate list and bettered her Aggie school record of 199-3 (60.74).
In the final round Vaughan added four more feet to her school record with a stellar 208-8 (63.60) as she produced the best collegiate throw in 15 years in moving to No. 6 on the all-time collegiate list. Vaughan added 14-plus feet to the previous SEC Championship record of 194-4 set in 1994 by LSU’s Danyel Mitchell.
As the collegiate leader in 2014, Vaughan also ranks second among U.S. throwers and is currently 13th in the world. The victory at the SEC Championships was her sixth discus win among collegians this season and she recorded eight wins among collegians last year as a freshman.
Vaughan leads the collegiate list this season by 10-plus feet as three throwers are in the 190 range with Jessica Maroszek the closest at 197-5 (60.18).