Okwelogu, Saretsky and Tolbert Collect USTFCCCA Regional Awards

Photo courtesy of Tim O'Dowd
Photo courtesy of Tim O'Dowd

Nikki Okwelogu set a new Ivy League record in the shot put at Heps on March 1 (Tim O'Dowd).


NEW ORLEANS – On Friday, March 6, the USTFCCCA announced its 2015 Indoor Track and Field Regional Athletes and Coaches of the Year for NCAA Division I with three members of the Harvard women's team earning recognition for the Northeast Region.

Sophomore thrower Nikki Okwelogu was named the Field Athlete of the Year, Jason Saretsky, The William W. "Bill" McCurdy Director of Track and Field/Cross Country was named the region's top women's head coach and Kebba Tolbert was named the women's Assistant Coach of the Year.

Okwelogu was named Field Performer of the Meet at the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships. She set the Ivy League record with a shot put toss measuring 56-2 (17.12m), becoming the first-ever Ivy Leaguer to go over 17 meters and moving to ninth-best in the nation. She won five shot put events this year and finished runner-up in the only other she entered. With her throw at Heps, she earned a spot at the NCAA Championships in Fayetteville, Arkansas on March 14.

Ninth-year head coach Saretsky was at the helm of the third consecutive Indoor Heps title for Harvard's women. The Crimson posted a program-best 125 points with 19 individuals and two relay teams reaching the podium. Highlighting the podium finishes were victories by Okwelogu in the shot put, Danielle Barbian in the 60 and 200 meter dashes, Autumne Franklin in the 60 meter hurdles and the 4x800 meter relay team that took gold. Over the course of the season, Harvard broke five school records and two Ivy League marks with Saretsky earning co-Coach of the Year honors in the Ivy League.

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Associate head coach Tolbert is in his fourth season guiding the sprinters, hurdlers and horizontal jumpers at Harvard. At Heps, the athletes he coached accounted for 52 of the Crimson's 125 points. Barbian set the new Ivy League standard in the 60 meter dash at 7.40 before going on to capture the 200 meter crown. Harvard went 1-2 in the 60 meter race, as Ashley Collinsworth finished on the heels of Barbian in 7.44.