Kingston, Jamaica - On Saturday, Monmouth University freshman Khari Bowen (Monroe, NJ/Monroe Township) won the 5k at the 2012 Jamaican National Junior Championships at Kingston's National Stadium, with a winning time of 15:32, five seconds better than the second place finisher.
Monmouth head coach Joe Compagni said, "The race became very tactical because of the heat, but Khari did a nice job of being patient, sitting with the leader and then putting in a big effort in the last 300 meters to get away and win by almost 50 meters."
A Native of New Jersey with dual citizenship, Bowen qualified for both the U.S. and Jamaican Junior National Championship in multiple events.
"We chose the Jamaican Championships because he has run there before and this meet gave him a better chance to be selected for an international team," added Compagni. "He may not have the time needed to run at the World Junior Championships in Spain, but he is certainly qualified for the CAC Junior Championships."
The CAC Championships includes the top athletes from all the Central American and Caribbean nations, and will be held June 28-July 1 in San Salvador, El Salvador.
Bowen is wrapping up a spectacular freshman year that included high level performances in all three season. In cross country, Bowen earned All-Northeast Conference and All-East honors in his first year, leading the Hawks to some of their best finishes as a team in the last several years.
During indoor track, Bowen earned NEC All-Rookie Team status in both the 3K and 5K, scoring in the 5K to help the Hawks win the NEC Indoor Championships as a team. He also qualified for the IC4A Championships in the 5K with a best time of 14:43.
In outdoor track, Bowen took fourth at the NEC Championships in the 10K and 5K to contribute to Monmouth's fourth straight NEC Outdoor Track & Field team title, earning NEC All-Rookie honors in the process. He showed his range by also anchoring the Hawks' record-setting distance medley relay team at the Penn Relays, running a strong 1600 meter leg to move Monmouth into second in their section and third overall in the event. After NECs, Bowen filled in for an injured teammate at the IC4A Championships with a strong leg on the 4x800 relay that ran 7:43.
"Khari would be proud to represent Jamaica at the CAC Championships if he is invited," commented Compagni. "Either way, though, he has earned some excellent performances in all three seasons, which is tough to do, and should continue to improve as part of a strong distance group with us."