Southeast Missouri State's Uchtman named OVC's top indoor male field athlete

Friday, February 24, 2012

Southeast Missouri State received two Ohio Valley Conference indoor track and field postseason awards announced Thursday.

Senior thrower Josh Uchtman was named OVC male field athlete of the year and freshman jumper Jacob Kent shared OVC male freshman of the year honors.

Voting was done by the league's coaches and announced in advance of the OVC indoor championships that will be held today and Saturday in Nashville, Tenn.

"Both those guys had tremendous years and it's a big honor for them," Southeast coach Eric Crumpecker said.

Uchtman has bounced back from hip surgery that forced him to miss most of the 2010 outdoor and 2011 indoor seasons.

Uchtman has a conference-best distance of 60 feet, 11 1/4 inches in the shot put, which broke the school's indoor record and ranks 17th nationally. He holds Southeast's outdoor shot put record as well.

Uchtman, a native of Steeleville, Ill., also was the 2009 and 2010 OVC indoor male field athlete of the year. He was an NCAA regional qualifier during the 2009 and 2011 outdoor seasons and will look to take home his third conference title in the shot put this weekend. He is also a threat in the weight throw, where he ranks third in the OVC.

"I couldn't be happier for Josh. It's a good way to go out with his indoor career," Crumpecker said. "He's had a great career and a really good year. He's worked hard to battle through the injury."

Kent, a graduate of Ste. Genevieve High School, is tied for the OVC's top high jump at 6-8. He also holds top-10 marks in the long jump and triple jump.

"He's been having a really good freshman year," Crumpecker said. "We had several freshmen who were deserving, and I'm just glad one of them got it."

The Redhawks will look to continue their run of strong team finishes at the OVC indoor meet this weekend.

Both Southeast teams were third last season. Eastern Illinois is the defending champion in both divisions. Eastern Kentucky's men and women finished second a year ago.

"Eastern Illinois is the team to beat, but we feel like we can mix it up with them," Crumpecker said.

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