University of Kentucky track and field hurdler Masai Russell has been named one of the ten collegiate track and field athletes to be featured on the Pre-NCAA Indoor Championships edition of The Bowerman Watchlist by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). The Bowerman Watchlist is an exclusive list that highlights the top track and field athletes in the nation, both indoors and outdoors.
This year’s finalists for The Bowerman will be announced in December, and Russell is no stranger to this watchlist. In fact, this is her second time appearing on The Bowerman Watchlist. She made the first watchlist, which was released in February, and now she has made the pre-NCAA indoor championships edition.
Russell’s inclusion on the watchlist is well-deserved. The graduate student from Potomac, Maryland, won the gold medal at the SEC Championships in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 7.77 seconds. This is her fifth win in the hurdles finals, and she has set a personal best in the 200 (23.51) and tied her best in the 60 (7.41).
Russell’s success is not limited to just her SEC Championships win. She has also set a new collegiate record with her 7.75-second hurdle run, breaking the previous record of 7.78 seconds set by Grace Stark of Florida in 2022 and Brianna Rollins of Clemson in 2013. Furthermore, Russell has also surpassed the Kentucky standard of 7.87 seconds set by Keni Harrison, an eventual Olympic medalist, in the 2015 NCAA Final.
With a time of 7.77 seconds at the SEC Championships, Russell now has the top two collegiate 60 hurdles times in history. Her impressive performance has placed her on the radar of The Bowerman Watchlist, an award that recognizes the best track and field athletes in the country.
Russell’s inclusion on the watchlist is also significant because she is the eighth UK female athlete to be featured on the list since its inception in 2009. She follows in the footsteps of Abby Steiner, who won the award last year. Russell’s success not only highlights her personal accomplishments but also showcases the talent and strength of the University of Kentucky’s track and field team.
In conclusion, Masai Russell’s inclusion on The Bowerman Watchlist is well-deserved. Her impressive performances on the track, including setting a new collegiate record and winning the SEC Championships, have placed her among the best collegiate track and field athletes in the nation. Russell’s success is also a testament to the University of Kentucky’s track and field program and its commitment to developing top-tier athletes.