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Oduduru Named Finalist for The Bowerman

Nigerian sprinter one of three remaining in race for collegiate track and field’s highest honor.

 

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NEW ORLEANS – Divine Oduduru is again entering territory in which no Texas Tech track and field athlete has before.

At first, it was the territory of a sub-10 100m and sub-20 200m. Next, it was helping lead the men’s team to an NCAA Championship. It has always been school records. Now, it is making the list of finalists for The Bowerman – the highest award a collegiate track and field athlete can earn.

Oduduru’s career at Tech, which officially ended last week with his announcement of turning pro, has been legendary. While it has been stellar since he arrived on campus in 2017, it was this 2019 season that ushered in the word “legendary.”

Oduduru was hot right off the bat, running the world indoor 200m lead of 20.08 for a Big 12 Championships record. On the same day, he ran a career-best 6.52 in the 60m for the two-title sprints sweep. He traveled to Birmingham for the NCAA Indoor Championships and returned home with a national title in the 200m.

If the indoor tracks were hot, Oduduru absolutely scorched the outdoor tracks.

His season began at the Texas Relays, which was highlighted by a 4×100 relay school record – which he would lead his squad to break three more times throughout the year. Individually, he opened at Texas A&M’s The Reveille, at which he casually ran a 10.13 to hop into the national top-four as he announced his intent to be a player in the race for the national title in the event.

However, it was two weeks later the world would find out – and find out quickly – that Oduduru was the one leading that race. Oduduru made history at the Michael Johnson Invitational, becoming the 10th man ever to break the 10- and 20-second barriers in the 100m and 200m, respectively on the same day. He did so with a 9.94 in the former, then just 45 minutes later busted out an absurd 19.76. It was the first time he had broken either barrier in his career, and both marks were plenty good for the world lead.

Oduduru ran in two races at the Big 12 Championships, where he promptly was a part of two championship meet records. He began with a meet record in the 4×100, where he ran the second leg of a squad that ran 38.83 for the gold. Individually, he became the first man to dip below 10 seconds in the 100m at a conference meet when he ran 9.99 for the win. The junior’s points helped Tech lock down its second-straight indoor/outdoor sweep of the conference.

Oduduru did his job at the NCAA West Preliminary, qualifying for nationals individually in the 100m and 200m while helping the 4×1 grab an automatic bid as well. At nationals, he ascended to yet another level, running the 100m in a world-leading 9.86, then blistering a 19.73 in the 200m for the fastest time ever recorded at an NCAA meet and surpassing his previous 19.76 for the second-fastest ever run by a collegiate. This was all done after leading the 4×100 relay to a third-place finish in 38.45 – yet another school record.

“Divine is the greatest dual sprinter of all-time in the NCAA,” said Director of Track & Field and Cross Country Wes Kittley. “His marks speak for themselves, and his many wind-legal marks are unprecedented. Simply the very best.”

Oduduru will join Florida hurdler Grant Holloway and LSU pole vaulter Mondo Duplantis on the list of finalists for The Bowerman. Fan voting is open here from 3 p.m. on Thursday, June 20 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, June 27. The Bowerman will be presented on Dec. 19 in Orlando, Fla.

—TECH—


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