Rovelto, Jones, Otuonye Earn Regional Honors

MANHATTAN, Kan. -- Head coach Cliff Rovelto, as well as student-athletes Akela Jones and Ifeanyichukwu Otuonye were honored by the U.S. Track & Field Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) in the annual announcement of the NCAA Division I Outdoor Regional Awards. Announced earlier today, Rovelto was named Midwest Women's Coach of the Year, while Jones and Otuonye swept the men's and women's portions of the Midwest Field Athlete of the Year.

For Rovelto, his latest accolade adds to an extensive list of awards accumulated during the Wildcat head coach's 23rd season as head of the track program. He was honored by both the Big 12 and USTFCCCA during the indoor season, earning Women's Coach of the Year honors in the conference and Midwest Region, respectively. Sweeping the regional award for this year overall, Rovelto has now earned the honor for a seventh time in his head coaching career.


The Wildcat women, who enter this week's NCAA Championships as the No. 10 team in the country, have excelled under Rovelto's watch during the outdoor season. The women have totaled 10 entries to compete for national titles, making them one of only 10 women's programs in the country to have 10 or more entries competing in Eugene, Oregon. K-State also competed well at Big 12s, totaling a Big 12-era high 129.50 points to finish a 12-point runner-up to Texas. Individually, the women nabbed three Big 12 individual titles, as well as broke six school records.

In the field awards, Jones and Otuonye completed the overall season sweep for the Wildcats in the Midwest Region -- Jones and freshmen high jumper Christoff Bryan earned the honors during the indoor season.

Her first season as a Wildcat, Jones has followed up a stellar indoor campaign with an equally as impressive showing outdoors. She enters NCAAs set to compete in both the high jump and heptathlon, as well as part of the 4x400-meter relay squad. Along with a loaded slate of action in Eugene, Jones has shined elsewhere earning High-Point Scorer honors at Big 12s in Ames, Iowa, and breaking the long jump school record. She also ran a leg on the record-breaking 4x400 squad in Austin, Texas, at West Prelims. Primed to add All-American outdoor honors to her three indoor All-American nods, Jones' season-bests in the heptathlon (6,049 pts.) and high jump (1.87m/6-01.50) both rank top-five in Division I and in school history.

On the men's side, Otuonye's Field Athlete of the Year nod adds to what has been a career year for the junior from Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos. The national record holder in the long jump, Otuonye has racked a number of impressive accomplishments, including winning the first-ever Big 12 men's outdoor long jump title, as well as qualifying for NCAAs in the event. His wind-legal season-best of 7.87m/25-10 ranks him No. 5 in school history, while his all-conditions season-best of 7.98m/26-02.25 is fifth in the country.

Otuonye, along with Jones, are the first Wildcats to earn outdoor regional awards since Erik Kynard nabbed Field Athlete of the Year in 2013.

K-State will look to finish the 2015 outdoor season strong, sending 14 total entries to Eugene to compete at the NCAA Championships on June 10-13. For more information on the Wildcats' season finale, visit www.k-statesports.com.