UNDER FURTHER REVIEW – A Bowerman ‘home game’

Dozens of her friends and fans joined Anna Hall of Greenwood Village and her mom, dad and three sisters in what emcee John Anderson of ESPN called “a Bowerman home game” last Thursday night at the Gaylord Rockies Resort.

Among her hometown contingent were all of the coaches who had helped develop her, starting at age seven, into a finalist for the award that’s presented annually to the nation’s top female and male track & field athletes.

It was the first time the lavish Bowerman production was held in Colorado, and it happened to coincide with Anna Hall’s selection as a finalist. The awards, named in honor of long-time Oregon track coach and Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman, are sponsored by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.

In final voting by the Bowerman selection committee, sprinter Abby Steiner of the University of Kentucky topped local favorite Hall, heptathlon champion for the University of Florida, and Camryn Rogers of Cal-Berkeley, whose specialty is the hammer throw.

Florida State hurdler Trey Cunningham was the men’s Bowerman honoree.

Although Christmas was only 10 days away when the Bowermans were presented, Hall was not “home for the holidays,” as the popular song goes.

Ever-committed to putting in the work it takes to be elite, she explained: “I’m going right back to Florida. I can get in another full week of training before Christmas.”

A “friends and families” reception began the gala evening, followed by an awards program that far exceeded the annual nationally televised college football Heisman Trophy announcement.

During the almost two-hour extravaganza, each finalist was introduced as she or he walked down a center aisle through the large audience. Later each was interviewed o nstage by Anderson in front of the vocal audience of track enthusiasts.

Each athlete also was feted with videos of performance highlights and recorded tributes. In Anna’s case, the salute came from three-time Olympic gold medalist and six-time medal-winner Jackie Joyner-Kersee, considered by many the greatest female track & field athlete of all-time in Hall’s event, the heptathlon.

“Her ceiling is incredibly high,” said Florida head track & field coach Mike Holloway when interviewed, also onstage, about Anna. “The sky’s the limit.”