Open Announce

Habtom Samuel Makes the Cut as Bowerman Award Semifinalist

by Connor Gilbert

After wrapping up NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships with two more First Team All-American finishes and an NCAA title in the 10,000m, Habtom Samuel has been named as one of 10 semifinalists for the prestigious Bowerman Award, the USTFCCCA announced Thursday.

It’s the second honor of a big day for the Eritrean freshman, who earlier this morning was also named the Mountain West Outdoor Track & Field Athlete of the Year as voted by the league’s coaches to complete a sweep of conference Athlete of the Year honors in XC, Indoor and Outdoor.

First awarded in 2009, The Bowerman is bestowed to collegiate track & field’s top male and female athlete for the year, regardless of discipline. The Bowerman Advisory Board, and ultimately, The Bowerman Voters, are instructed to consider performances inclusively from the collegiate indoor track & field and outdoor track & field seasons only.

Samuel is just the second man from New Mexico to be named as a semifinalist, joining two-time semifinalist Josh Kerr (2017, 2018). Samuel swept the indoor 3,000m and 5,000m Mountain West titles and finished as a First Team All-American in both events at Indoor Nationals before winning the 10,000m and finishing sixth in the 5,000m at Outdoor Nationals to conclude the season with four First Team All-American finishes on the oval in just his freshman year alone — five counting cross country.

Members of The Bowerman Advisory Board, who have produced watch lists throughout the season, devise these lists of semifinalists by providing a ranked-ordered list of 10 athletes who they believe had the most outstanding season. The list of semifinalists represents the group’s consensus.

The same Advisory Board will assemble to deliberate who will be named as finalists. Those selections will be made public on Monday, June 24 and Tuesday, June 25. Ultimately, the winners are chosen by The Bowerman Voters who consist of national and regional media personnel, track & field statisticians, NCAA collegiate administrators, past winners, and Presidents of affiliated organizations. Samuel would be the first athlete from New Mexico to be named as a finalist for the award — Kerr and Courtney Frerichs are the only two Lobo honorees in the award’s history.

Men’s Semifinalists — June 20
Romaine Beckford, Arkansas (Jumps)
Jordan Davis, Southern Connecticut (Javelin)
Caleb Dean, Texas Tech (Sprints/Hurdles)
Christopher Morales Williams, Georgia (Sprints)
Leo Neugebauer, Texas (Combined Events)
Wayne Pinnock, Arkansas (Jumps)
Tarik Robinson-O’Hagan, Ole Miss (Throws)
Habtom Samuel, New Mexico (Distance)
Parker Wolfe, North Carolina (Distance)
Nico Young, Northern Arizona (Distance)

Since the start of the 2023-24 season, Samuel has racked up accomplishments at a pace unseen by any true freshman in UNM history. This week, he added his first NCAA title and another All-American finish today to a lengthy resume:

  • 2023 Mountain West Athlete of the Year (XC)
  • NCAA Runner of the Week (XC)
  • USTFCCCA Mountain Region Athlete of the Year (XC)
  • Mountain West Champion (XC)
  • NCAA Mountain Region Champion (XC)
  • NCAA Championship Runner-Up (XC)
  • Mountain West Championship Record Holder (XC)
  • UNM Program Record Holder – 5,000m, 3,000m, Mile (Indoor)
  • Fastest collegiate mile ever ran at the Albuquerque Convention Center (3:59.12)
  • 11th-Fastest 5,000m time in NCAA History (Indoor)
  • Mountain West Championship Performer of the Meet (Indoor)
  • Mountain West Championship Record Holder – 5,000m, 3,000m (Indoor)
  • Mountain West Champion – 5,000m, 3,000m (Indoor)
  • USTFCCCA First Team All-American – 5,000m, 3,000m (Indoor)
  • No. 2 10,000m time in NCAA History (Outdoor)
  • 2024 Mountain West Indoor Track Athlete of the Year
  • Mountain West Champion – 1500m, 5,000m (Outdoor)
  • NCAA Champion – 10,000m (Outdoor)
  • USTFCCCA First Team All-American – 5,000m, 10,000m (Outdoor)