June 12, 2010
EUGENE, Ore. – Blessing Okagbare concluded her illustrious collegiate career giving retiring head coach Bob Kitchens one final national championship in the women’s long jump on the final day of the 2010 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Historic Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.
“Today was another great performance by another great athlete,” Kitchens said. “Blessing positioned herself as one of the all-time greats in UTEP history.”
Okagbare added 10 points to the women’s team score for a total of 29 points and a program best seventh-place finish at an outdoor national meet.
“The women had a great meet,” Kitchens added. “We’re walking away with a total of five All-Americans, four in the women, one in the men and two national championships. We can’t complain.”
The Olympic medalist soared to a mark of 6.79m (22-03.50) in her second attempt of the day to secure the fourth NCAA title of her career and the second at this year’s outdoor national meet. The four national crowns are the most ever by a UTEP woman.
Sophomore Anna Wessman earned the second consecutive All-America honor of her career with a fifth-place finish in the women’s javelin. Wessman needed just one throw, the first of six attempts, of 50.62m (166-01) to earn a spot in the top eight.
The conclusion of the 2010 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships were bittersweet for the Miners as Kitchens walks away from a storied 22-year career as head coach of the UTEP track and field programs. Kitchens, who began his career at Mississippi State, retires with 26 national champions, 263 All-Americans, 18 conference titles and 630 conference champions through a 42-year career.
“Today was definitely a great way to head out,” Kitchens said. “I’ve got mixed emotions about that. It’s all good, it’s a little sad, but at the same time it was a great day.”