Franklin and Okwelogu were named the track and field athletes of the year (Sideline Photos/The Ivy League).
EUGENE, Ore. – After a record-breaking outdoor campaign, Harvard women's track and field swept the awards for the Northeast region, as announced by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) on Monday. Senior Autumne Franklin was hailed as the Women's Track Athlete of the Year while junior Nikki Okwelogu was named the Women's Field Athlete of the Year. Jason Saretsky, the William W. 'Bill' McCurdy Director of Track & Field/Cross Country, was named the Women's Coach of the Year and associate head coach Kebba Tolbert was named the Women's Assistant Coach of the Year.
Franklin adds the award to a long list of accolades for the year, as the hurdler was also named the Ivy League Most Outstanding Track Athlete for both the outdoor and indoor campaigns. A USATF Olympic trials qualifier, Franklin qualified for her fourth-straight NCAA Championships in three events. Franklin was the Ivy League champion in the 400 hurdles, 4x100 relay and 4x400 relay, and she set Harvard and Ivy League records in all three events. Franklin is the top seed in the 400 hurdles at the NCAA Championships.
Okwelogu earned the honor after qualifying for her third-consecutive NCAA Championship in both the shot put and discus. The Ivy League champion in both events, Okwelogu shattered the program and conference records in both events and was named the Ivy League Most Outstanding Field Athlete. Okwelogu captured victories at three national meets this year, and enters the NCAA Championships as the top seed in the shot put.
Saretsky earned the award for the second time during his tenure at Harvard. Under his guidance, the Crimson program tallied 13 school records during the outdoor season, eight of which were Ivy League records. The Crimson women climbed to 10th in the national polls, and have spent nine-straight weeks ranked in the top-25. A dominant force within the conference, Harvard captured its third-consecutive Ivy League outdoor championship in 2016.
Tolbert garnered the outdoor accolade for the first time in his tenure at Harvard, as he was named the USTFCCCA Indoor Assistant Coach of the Year in 2015. In his fifth season coaching the sprints and hurdles, Tolbert's student-athletes have posted program records in six events, five of which were Ancient Eight records. This season, Tolbert has mentored five athletes that have advanced to the NCAA Championships and three that have qualified for the USATF Olympic Trials.
Harvard women's track and field is sending seven athletes to the NCAA Championships June 8-11, hosted by Oregon. The Crimson women enter the meet ranked No. 13 in the country.