NEW ORLEANS – Texas A&M discus thrower Shelbi Vaughan has been named to the group of 10 women’s semifinalist for The Bowerman Award, which honors the top male and female collegiate athlete in track and field. The women’s semifinalist, chosen by The Bowerman advisory board, was released Tuesday.
Joining Vaughan among the women’s semifinalist are Alabama’s Remona Burchell, Arkansas State’s Sharika Nelvis, Kendall Williams of Georgia, Oregon’s trio of Phyllis Francis, Jenna Prandini and Laura Roesler, Princeton’s Julia Ratcliffe, Shanieka Thomas of San Diego State, and Texas’ Courtney Okolo.
Three women finalists for The Bowerman Award will be named on July 10. Then voting, including an online fan vote, opens July 28. The winner will be announced December 17 at the annual United States Track & Field Cross Country Coaches Association convention.
Vaughan produced a stellar sophomore campaign in the discus, which included titles at the Texas Relays, SEC Championships and NCAA Championships as she went undefeated among collegiate competition.
In defending her SEC title Vaughan produced the top collegiate mark in 15 years with a career best of 208 feet, 8 inches (63.60), which ranks No. 6 on the collegiate all-time list. She bettered the SEC Championship meet record of 194-4 set in 1994 by LSU’s Danyel Mitchell.
Vaughan opened her series at the SEC meet with a then career best of 204-2 (62.25) and recorded her 208-8 in the final round to claim the conference title by 33 feet over the runner-up mark.
At the NCAA meet in Eugene, the same venue where Vaughan threw in 2012 to place fourth at the Olympic Trials, two fouls started her series. In the third round Vaughan hit a mark of 189-0 that took over the lead. An improvement to 196-11 (60.02) in the fifth round secured the victory by over nine and half feet on the rest of the field.
Vaughan became the first Aggie female to win a NCAA discus title in the history of the program and was just the second A&M female thrower to claim victory at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. Katy Doyle won the javelin for the Aggies in 2004.
The 2014 season for Vaughan included eight meets, winning seven of those meets outright and finishing as the top collegian in Arizona State’s Sun Angel Classic. She was second to post-collegian Whitney Ashley, 201-3 to 199-3, at the Sun Angel meet and bettered three other post-collegians amid the field of nine throwers.
Vaughan’s second season at Texas A&M opened with a 182-10 at UTSA’s Texas Challenge. She set a school record of 198-10 to defend her title at the Texas Relays, and then won the Stanford Invitational with a 198-5 effort. Following the Sun Angel meet, where Vaughan improved her school record to 199-3, she threw 177-9 to place first at Texas State’s Bobcat Classic.
Post season competition started with her successful SEC title defense in Lexington, Kentucky, where her series included marks of 204-2, foul, 197-0, 198-7, 198-11, 208-8. A mark of 194-0 placed Vaughan first at the NCAA West preliminary round prior to the NCAA Championship weekend.
Over the past two seasons Vaughan has added 16 feet in 2013 and 15 feet in 2014 to the previous A&M discus school record. As a freshman Vaughan raised the Aggie discus record from a 176-10 mark set in 2003 to 193-4 after improvements to 185-0 and 188-8 in her first two meets for A&M. This season she lifted her school record of 193-4 to 208-8 with improvements of 198-10, 199-3 and 204-2 along the way.
Including attempts amid her series this season, Vaughan produced 12 marks better than the 193-4 school record she set in 2013, ranging from 194-0 to 208-8.