Wildcats Nab Multiple Big 12 Indoor Honors

MANHATTAN, Kan. - K-State Track and Field head coach Cliff Rovelto along with multiple Wildcat athletes were honored by the Big 12 for an impressive 2014-15 indoor campaign. Announced by the conference office earlier Wednesday, Rovelto was named Women's Coach of the Year, while Akela Jones earned Women's Performer of the Year and freshmen A'Keyla Mitchell and Nate Gipson were each awarded Outstanding Freshman.

The four conference honors mark an unprecedented indoor awards haul for the K-State Track and Field program in the Big 12 era.

For Rovelto, he was named indoor coach of the year for the first time ever. In his 23rd season as head coach of the track program, Rovelto led the women to program-bests in regards to both points (132.50) and finish (second) at last weekend's Big 12 Indoor Championships in Ames, Iowa. The accolade adds to a long list of coaching awards for Rovelto, as he is already a two-time Big 12 Outdoor Women's Coach of the Year (2001 & 2002), five-time Midwest Region Coach of the Year and the 2001 USTCA Women's Outdoor National Coach of the Year.

Jones, meanwhile, became only the second women's Wildcat, and fourth athlete overall in program history, to earn Indoor Women's Performer of the Year. Already joining former K-State All-American and Olympian Austra Skujyte as the only women's athletes to earn high point scorer of the conference championships with her 24 points scored across three events last weekend - long jump (1st), high jump (2nd), 60-meter hurdles (3rd) - Jones is also the first women's athlete since Skujyte in 2002 to earn the yearly accolade. She, along with Texas' Courtney Okolo and Baylor's Rachel Johnson, were all honored, marking the first time in indoor women's conference history the award has been given to multiple athletes.

A junior-transfer from Oklahoma Baptist, Jones has dominated in her first year with the Wildcats. Along with her latest conference honor, Jones has nabbed a Big 12 title in the long jump, earned conference Athlete of the Week twice and broken school records in the 60-meter hurdles and long jump. Before beginning her outdoor campaign, Jones will compete in the NCAA Championships next weekend, as she has qualified in three events - 60H, high jump and long jump.

For the freshmen Mitchell and Gipson, they are the first set of teammates to both be named Outstanding Freshman since Texas Tech's Bryce Lamb and Shade Weygandt swept the award in 2010.

Mitchell, who qualified for NCAAs in both the 200-meter and as part of the 4x400, was only the second Wildcat women's athlete - Amy Mortimer won in 2000 - to be named Outstanding Freshman. She, along with Hannah Cunliffe from Oklahoma, were awarded this season's honor. A native of Corpus Christi, Texas, Mitchell's accolade came thanks to an impressive showing at Big 12s that saw her rack up 12 points over three events - 60-meter (5th), 200-meter (3rd) and 4x400 (2nd). Prior to the conference meet, Mitchell had also set school records in the 60m, 200m and as part of the NCAA-qualifying 4x400-meter relay squad.

Lastly, Gipson was the first Wildcat men's athlete to be named Indoor Outstanding Freshman. The high jump runner-up at last weekend's conference championships, Gipson cleared a season-best 2.22m/7-03.25 to lead a talented group K-State high jumpers that combined to score a total of 18 points in the event. He, along with fellow freshman Christoff Bryan, will both compete in the high jump as the lone K-State men's NCAA qualifiers next weekend.

2015 Big 12 Indoor Track & Field Outstanding Performer of the Year
MEN: Edward Kemboi, Iowa State
WOMEN: Rachel Johnson, Baylor | Akela Jones, K-State | Courtney Okolo, Texas

2015 Big 12 Indoor Track & Field Outstanding Freshman of the Year
MEN: Nate Gipson, K-State
WOMEN: A'Keyla Mitchell, K-State | Hannah Cunliffe, Oklahoma

2015 Big 12 Indoor Track & Field Coach of the Year
MEN: Mario Sategna, Texas
WOMEN: Cliff Rovelto, K-State