EUGENE – On the strength of his breakout 2021 campaign, two-time NCAA champion in the triple jump and Olympic finalist Emmanuel Ihemeje has been named to The Bowerman preseason watch list.
Additionally, reigning NCAA 60-meter champions Kemba Nelson and Micah Williams are receiving votes in the first releases of the year. The women’s preseason list was revealed Wednesday.
In his first competition as a Duck, Ihemeje broke the indoor school record with a mark of 16.41m/53-10.25 in the first round at the 2021 Razorback Invitational. He entered the NCAA Championships with the sixth-best qualifying mark but opened all eyes with his title-winning jump of 17.26m/56-7.5 at the national meet. With the effort, Ihemeje became the No. 6 indoor performer in collegiate history.
The Bergamo, Italy, native began the outdoor season with a win at the Hayward Premiere, and took second at the Pac-12 Championships. Ihemeje tied for the top jump of the day (16.60m/54-5.5) but finished as runner-up with just the one attempt from the first round.
He was the top qualifier at the NCAA West Preliminary (16.98m/55-8.5), and then in front of the home crowd at Hayward Field, secured his second national title two weeks later at the NCAA Championships. Ihemeje had a day’s best of 17.14m/56-3 to out-distance the field. That mark put him among the top 15 outdoor performers in NCAA history.
Representing his home country of Italy at the Tokyo Olympics, Ihemeje advanced to the finals where he finished 11th in his Olympic debut. He had a best of 16.88m/55-4.75 in the qualifying round of the triple jump.
With Thursday’s announcement, Ihemeje becomes the 10th UO man—and first jumper—to earn a spot on a watch list for The Bowerman.
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Named for legendary Oregon head coach Bill Bowerman and first awarded in 2009, The Bowerman is presented annually to the most outstanding men’s and women’s performers in collegiate track and field.
Five Ducks have won The Bowerman, a list featuring past UO greats Galen Rupp (2009), Ashton Eaton (2010), Laura Roesler (2014), Jenna Prandini (2015) and Raevyn Rogers (2017).
The next updates of the watch list are set for Feb. 2 (women) and Feb. 3 (men).
Oregon is set to open its 2022 indoor season Jan. 14-15, at the Cougar Classic in Spokane, Wash.