UTEP Track and Field Sweeps Regional Awards
The UTEP track and field program swept the Mountain Region awards given by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association and voted on by the nation’s coaches.
All-American Blessing Okagbare picked up two awards being named the USTFCCCA Female Mountain Region Field Athlete of the Year and the Track Athlete of the Year.
A senior from Sapele, Nigeria, Okagbare is tied for the nation’s fastest time in the 60 meters heading into this weekend’s NCAA Indoor Championships and holds the third-fastest among the collegiate ranks in the 200 meters this season. Okagbare’s top 60-meter time of 7.18 is the eleventh-fastest ever recorded by a collegian and ranks ninth in the world this season. She won Conference-USA titles in both events and set both season bests at the conference championships.
Okagbare earned the 2010 Conference USA titles in both the long jump and the triple jump this year. Her best long jump mark of 21-11¾ (6.70m) ranks first in the NCAA this year and eighth all-time for a collegian. She also has a best of 44-5½ (13.55m) in the triple jump, which ranks fifth among collegians this year in that event.
Head coach Bob Kitchens was named the Mountain Region Women’s Head Coach of the Year. Kitchens led the Miners to the its first conference championship in program history this season, propelling his team to a number 22 national ranking headed into the NCAA Indoor Championships.
Kebba Tolbert was named the region’s Assistant Coach of the Year. Tolbert coaches the jumps, sprints, and multi-events for UTEP. His athletes scored 45.5 points to lead UTEP to its first women’s Conference USA Indoor Championship. Okagbare is among Tolbert’s charges.