Mondo Named Finalist for The Bowerman

by Aaron Hyder
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Mondo Named Finalist for The Bowerman

Baton Rouge, La. Mondo Duplantis became the first man in LSU track and field history to be named a finalist for The Bowerman the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association announced on Thursday. Duplantis is one of three finalists with Florida’s Grant Holloway and Texas Tech’s Divine Oduduru.

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Duplantis, who has since turned pro following his freshman season, made the most of his year in the Purple and Gold by winning the NCAA indoor pole vault title, sweeping the indoor/outdoor pole vault titles at the SEC Championships, and setting both the indoor/outdoor collegiate records in the pole vault.

The native of Lafayette, La., went 8-1 in pole vault finals this year while representing LSU. He started his season off indoors with a perfect 5-0 record. He won titles at the Razorback Invitational (5.83 meters/19′ 1.50”), Bayou Bengal Invitational (5.87 meters/19′ 3”), LSU Twilight (5.68 meters/18′ 7.50”), SEC Championships (5.92 meters/19′ 5”) and NCAA Championships (5.83 meters/19′ 1.50”). His 5.92 meter clearance at the SEC indoor meet broke Shawn Barber’s collegiate indoor record of 5.91 meters that he set in 2015 while also setting a Swedish national record, and his NCAA clearance of 5.83 meters made him the second man in LSU history to win a pole vault national title indoors alongside Russ Buller (2000). Mondo was the first man in collegiate history with at least four clearances of 19′ 1.50” (5.83 meters) or better indoors.

Outdoors, Mondo registered a record of 3-1 in event finals while competing five times. He opened the outdoor campaign with a clearance of 5.55 meters (18′ 2.50”) at the LSU Alumni meet for gold before he cleared what was then the No. 2 all-time clearance outdoors with a mark of 5.94 meters (19′ 5.75”) at the LSU Invitational for first place. At the SEC Championships on May 11 Duplantis cleared the collegiate record setting height of 19′ 8.25” (6.00 meters) to complete the indoor/outdoor SEC sweep. The only loss of his collegiate career came at the NCAA Championships when he took second place to Chris Nilsen of South Dakota. In the only non-final event of his collegiate career, Mondo cleared a height of 5.31 meters (17′ 5”) to qualify for the NCAA Championships. Duplantis’ season best of 6.00 meters (19′ 8.25”) is currently a world lead. Mondo’s collegiate record of 6.00 meters (19′ 8.25”) at the SEC Championships helped the Tigers secure their first team title at the meet since 1990.

Mondo was named the SEC Field Athlete of the Year during both the indoor and outdoor season and he was the USTFCCCA South Central Field Athlete of the Year during the indoor campaign.

With Mondo’s appearance as a finalist for The Bowerman, LSU becomes the fifth school in the history of The Bowerman to have both a women’s and men’s finalist in the same season. Duplantis is the fourth freshman in the history of The Bowerman on the men’s side to be named a finalist; he joins German Fernandez (Oklahoma State, 2009), Edward Cheserek (Oregon, 2014), and Donavan Brazier (Texas A&M, 2016).

The Bowerman, which debuted in 2009, awards the top female and male collegiate track and field athletes in the country every year. The winner of The Bowerman will be announced on December 19 at the annual USTFCCCA coaches convention that will be held in Orlando, Fla., at the JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes.