FAYETTEVILLE – Online fan voting for The Bowerman opened Monday morning, as part of the selection process for the nation’s top award in collegiate track and field. The University of Arkansas’ Tina Sutej is one of the three female finalists for the award. Online voting at www.thebowerman.org will run through August 16. Sutej is the first Razorback to be named a finalist for the prestigious award.
Finalists for The Bowerman were announced July 14 by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). Joining Sutej on the finalists’ list are Jessica Beard of Texas A&M and Kimberlyn Duncan of LSU. The award, in its third year of existence, will be presented Dec. 14 in a ceremony at the USTFCCCA Convention in San Antonio.
Over 20,000 votes were cast in online fan voting in 2009 and more than 27,000 votes were made during last year’s campaign. The previous two winners of The Bowerman on the women’s side are Jenny (Barringer) Simpson of Colorado in 2009 and Queen Harrison of Virginia Tech in 2010. Sutej would be the first field competitor to receive the honor.
Sutej became the ninth national champion in program history with her victory in the pole vault at the NCAA Indoor Championships in March. Along the way, she became the indoor and outdoor collegiate record holder with clearances of 14-10.75 (4.54m) to set the new indoor mark and 15-1.5 (4.61m) to establish the new outdoor record.
Including the indoor national crown and two SEC titles, Sutej won 13 of 14 competitions spanning both indoor and outdoor seasons. Her only setback, a second-place result, came at the NCAA Outdoor Championships where she cleared the winning height but finished with runner-up honors on misses.
During the course of the 2011 season, Sutej set meet records at the New Balance Collegiate Invitational (14-7.25/4.45m), SEC Indoor Championships (14-10.75/4.54m), Texas Relays (14-9/4.50m), Penn Relays (14-7.25/4.45m), SEC Outdoor Championships (15-1.5/4.61m) and NCAA Outdoor Championships (14-7.25/4.45m). She also now owns the top five indoor and outdoor jumps in school history.