The Bowerman Award is one of the most prestigious awards that can be given to a NCAA track and field student athlete. This year, Arkansas’ very own Kemar Mowatt is nominated for the honor.
Mowatt, a St. Elizabeth, Jamaica, native has proven throughout his career that he is deserving of this preseason nomination that was announced Jan. 8.
“This is my first time being nominated, and I was actually a little bit surprised when I saw my name on the list,” Mowatt said. “To be nominated is such a overwhelming and humbling feeling.”
Although he was shocked about being named to the pre-season watch list, his track career to this point is a huge indicator as to why he is being recognized.
Before starting his collegiate career at Arkansas, Mowatt ran for Texas A&M-Corpus Christi during his 2015 campaign and qualified for the NCAA Championships in the 400-meter hurdles.
He then transferred to the UofA as a sophomore, and within the first track and field season, he helped Arkansas place fifth in the 4x400 meter relay at the Southeastern Conference Championships. He was named an NCAA Outdoor First Team All-American for the 4x100-meter race as well as an NCAA Outdoor Second Team All-American for the 4x400 meter race. He was also named second-team All-American at the indoor national meet for the 4x400-meter relay.
Mowatt continued to push the boundaries of what a track and field student athlete could accomplish. In his junior year he placed fourth in the 400-meter hurdles representing Jamaica at the International Association of Athletics Federations, an international governing body for the sport of athletics. He earned fourth place in the 4x400 meter relay at the SEC Indoor Championships and took first place in the 400-meter hurdles. He was again named an NCAA Outdoor First Team All-American for the 400-meter hurdles and the 4x100 meter relay as well as a NCAA Indoor First Team All-American for the 4x400-meter relay.
What doesn’t show up on paper is how he treats his teammates and the respect they have for him as a person.
Larry Donald, senior track and field athlete and teammate of Mowatt said he plays a significant role for the men’s track and field program.
“Kemar is definitely one of the most important pieces to our track team as far as points scored and what he has to offer,” Donald said. “He is always willing to do whatever he can to help the team win.”
It could be easy for Mowatt to become complacent because of the overall success in his career, but Donald commends him for him remaining levelheaded, he said.
“The thing is he doesn’t talk smack ever,” Donald said. “He just does what needs to be done then goes about his day. He is extremely self motivated and resilient.”
Travius Chambers, a junior Razorback track and field student athlete, said he believes the same about Mowatt in regards to his work ethic.
“Personally, Kemar makes me push harder and harder in practice to reach the accolades that he has reached,” Chambers said. “Kemar is a leader he is always positive and he encourages others.”
Former Razorback track and field athlete Jarrion Lawson also expresses how Mowatt is a determined individual.
“His work ethic is outstanding,” Lawson said. “He comes to practice with a mindset of hard work. He does what he needs to do, doesn’t skip any reps and does a great job of taking care of his body.”
Lawson, 2016 Rio Olympian, and former Bowerman winner in 2016, believes Mowatt is a strong candidate for the award.
“I think he has all the characteristics of a Bowerman winner,” Lawson said. “Now all he needs to do is have a great season, which I know he already expects to do. Hopefully add some records and a NCAA title to his name. He can definitely do it.”
Now, Mowatt is looking to pick up right where he left off.
“This track season, I’m just looking to improve on where I left off last season,” Mowatt said. “God’s willing, and if I do that then I’m going to be in a good spot to score maximum points for my team.”
The Hogs have their first home meet Jan. 12. The men’s team finished fifth last year at the NCAA Indoor Championships and fourth at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, but the Hogs are looking to add another national championship to the history books.
“We have a great group of guys in all aspects both on the track and in the field events,” Mowatt said. “If all goes well, this year should be a program high for the men’s track team.”