Four HepsNation representatives were honored by the US Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) with regional accolades yesterday.
Penn’s Thomas Awad and Harvard’s Nikki Okwelogu were given the honors of being the best athletes in their respective regions. Awad was honored as the Mid-Atlantic Male Track Athlete of the Year for having the 6th fastest time in the 5km this season (13:33.29 that broke a 37-year old school record), winning both the Outdoor Heps 5km and 1500m titles in a thrilling manner this past May that earned him the Outdoor Heps Track MVP honor, and making it to the NCAA 5km finals as one of the top runners in the East Region. Okwelogu won the Northeast Female Field Athlete of the Year honor by being one of the best shot putters in the nation (ranked 9th in the nation with her Ivy League record 56-02), winning both the shot put and discus throw titles at Outdoor Heps that earned her the Outdoor Heps Field MVP honor, and qualifying for the NCAA finals in the shot put. Okwelogu also won the indoor equivalent honor this past indoor season.
Coaches Jason Saretsky and Megan Johnson are among the top coaches in the Northeast Region. Saretsky led the Crimson to their second-straight Outdoor Heps title in May, which helped him win the Ivy League Coach of the Year honor. It was the first time in school history that the team won back-to-back titles. Johnson is the coach behind two of Heps throwing champions and NCAA finals qualifiers – Stephen Mozia in the shot put and Rudy Winkler in the hammer throw. Mozia also won the Outdoor Heps Throws MVP honor, while Winkler has been improving his mark in the hammer throw record books throughout the season. Both Saretsky and Johnson earned these regional honors in 2014.