Mizzou Track & Field junior Karissa Schweizer (Urbandale, Iowa) was placed on The Bowerman semifinalist list, announced Wednesday by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). Schweizer is one of 10 semifinalists for the most prestigious award in collegiate track & field.
Courtesy Mizzou Athletics, click here! Feature photo: Karissa Schweizer-Dowling-Mizzou ©Michael Scott 2017. https://miscottrunning photo.shutterfly.com
After deliberation from a panelist of 12, the semifinalist list will be shrunk to three finalists next Wednesday (June 21). From then, a group of voters comprised of media, coaches, statisticians and fans will decide 2017’s winner, which will be announced in December.
“The Bowerman Award is the most prestigious award in track & field to be bestowed on an individual,” said head coach Brett Halter. “I am thrilled that the Bowerman committee is recognizing Karissa’s efforts over the last year, she has certainly demonstrated that she is a worthy candidate for the honor.”
Schweizer, who was named the NCAA Midwest Region Women’s Cross Country, Indoor and Outdoor Track Athlete of the Year, concluded her terrific junior campaign by winning the 5,000m run outdoor national title at the 2017 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Eugene, Ore. The Tiger junior reset her 5K school record by finishing with a time of 15:38.93 and became just the fourth female in NCAA history to win the distance triple crown (cross country, indoor 5,000m and outdoor 5,000m NCAA titles), and first since 2008. Schweizer is preceded by Villanova’s Jennifer Rhines (1994-95), Arizona’s Amy Skieresz (1996-97) and Texas Tech’s Sally Kipyego (2007-08).
Returning to her home state of Iowa, Schweizer was elevated to the 1500m “Rio Rematch” heat at the Drake Relays (April 28), a race which featured 11 professionals runners and six Olympians. The Urbandale, Iowa, native held her own against some of the world’s best mid-distance runners, finishing eighth in rainy conditions with a time of 4:18.16. At the SEC Championships (May 12-13), Schweizer won her fourth conference title of the year by finishing first in the 5000m run with a time of 15:51.76. She also finished runner-up in the 1500m run with a time of 4:18.42 to accumulate 18 points at the meet, the second-highest point total among female competitors.
During the indoor season, Schweizer became the first female in Mizzou Athletics history to win multiple NCAA titles when she won the 5,000m indoor crown at the 2017 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships in March. She also finished runner-up in the 3,000m run to guide Mizzou to an eighth-place finish at the meet, its third top-10 finish at the NCAA Indoor meet in program history. Prior to her NCAA Indoor success, Schweizer became the first Tiger to capture two conference titles at the same meet when she won the 3,000m run and mile run at the SEC Indoor meet. For her performance, Schweizer was named the Cliff Harper Trophy winner for being the top female scorer at the meet.
Schweizer’s outstanding season started with the cross country success in the fall, where she won the SEC Championship, NCAA Midwest Region Championship and NCAA Championship. With the victory, Schweizer became Mizzou’s first National Champion in cross country. In six meets during the season, Schweizer finished first in five races, winning at the Commodore Classic (Sept. 17), Chile Pepper Festival (Oct. 1), SEC Championships (Oct. 28), NCAA Midwest Regional (Nov. 11) and NCAA Championships (Nov. 19). The Tiger junior became the first individual conference champion in program history since 1997 and first regional champion since 2003.
Schweizer has amassed numerous awards during the 2016-17 athletic season. During the cross country season, Schweizer was named the SEC Cross Country Women’s Runner of the Year, the USTFCCCA Midwest Region Cross Country Women’s Athlete of the Year, the USTFCCCA Cross Country Women’s National Athlete of the Year and the Honda Sport winner for Cross Country. During the track season, she has been named the SEC Indoor Track & Field Women’s Runner of the Year, the USTFCCCA Midwest Region Indoor Track & Field Women’s Track Athlete of the Year and the USTFCCA Midwest Regional Outdoor Track & Field Women’s Track Athlete of the Year.