Feb. 6, 2014
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The USTFCCCA released its February Watch Lists for The Bowerman, collegiate track and field’s top individual honor, and two Boilermakers were recognized. Dani Bunch is among the 10 individuals on the women’s watch list, while Chukwuebuka Enekwechi is receiving votes for the men’s list.
Bunch is the first Purdue woman to be included on the Watch List, while Enekwechi is the first Purdue male to ever receive votes. As a conference, the Big Ten has had just 11 Watch List appearances for the men and 13 for the women, not counting those receiving votes, prior to this week’s release. Of the 24 appearances by the Big Ten, only 12 different individuals have appeared on the list prior to Bunch.
Bunch and Enekwechi become the fourth pair from the Big Ten to be mentioned for The Bowerman at the same time. That feat has only happened 11 times in the history of the award, which started in 2009. The Purdue pair is the first male-female duo of throwers to appear simultaneously on the Watch List. Oklahoma had the throwing pair of Tia Brooks and Brittany Borman on the list four times in 2012. No thrower has won The Bowerman in its five-year history.
Bunch and Enekwechi have had record-breaking and world-relevant seasons. Bunch owns the shot put and weight throw school records, and has broken at least one record in all five meets this season. She has won five Big Ten Field Athlete of the Week honors this year, including four in a row. The fifth-year senior has twice been named Honorable Mention for the USTFCCCA Division I National Athlete of the Week. Bunch currently has the nation’s No. 1 weight throw and No. 3 shot put. Her weight throw mark is the fifth-best in the world this year, while her shot put mark is 19th. Her weight throw school-record mark of 22.35m (73-04.00) places her 11th on the all-time collegiate list.
Enekwechi holds the Purdue school record in the weight throw and is second in the shot put. He currently holds the world’s No. 1 mark in the weight throw with a best of 23.62m (77-06.00). Enekwechi has the 12th-best shot put distance in NCAA Division I and is the Big Ten leader. The sophomore was named the USTFCCCA Division I National Athlete of the Week in January, after throwing 22.25m (73-00.00) at the Gene Edmonds Invite. He has also been named honorable mention for the award twice, including earlier this week. Enekwechi has been named the Big Ten Field Athlete of the Week four times this year, a Purdue season and career record. He even appears in this week’s edition of Sports Illustrated in the “Faces in the Crowd” section. Enekwechi has the No. 8 throw in NCAA D-I history, not counting individuals with multiple marks. He also has the third-farthest throw for an American collegian.
The throwers have this weekend off, while the rest of the team heads to Notre Dame for the two-day Meyo Invite.