Foster, Kovacs and Johnson honored by USTFCCCA

University Park, Pa. — Seniors Joe Kovacs (Nazereth, Pa.) and Ryan Foster (Tasmania, Australia) have been named Mid-Atlantic Athletes of the Year, while Associate Head Coach Chris Johnson garnered Mid-Atlantic Women's Assistant Coach of the Year, announced by the United States Track and Field/Cross Country Coaches' Association (USTFCCCA) on Monday. Kovacs and Foster are set to compete in the shot put and mile run, respectively, at the weekend's NCAA Indoor Championships at Texas A&M University, while Johnson has the Nittany Lion sprinters poised for another outstanding NCAA showing.

Kovacs, who earns the distinction for the second-straight year, recently captured his first-career Big Ten title, winning the shot put with a personal-best throw 65-1.25 (19.84), which was also good for NCAA automatic-qualifying status. Kovacs' toss, which ranks second in Penn State indoor history, is also third best in Division I this season. Kovacs took bronze-medal honors at the NCAA Indoor Championships a year ago, earning All-America status. Throughout the current season, Kovacs posted a shot put win at the Akron Invitational, as well as a runner-up finish at the elite Penn State National.

A three-time USTFCCCA winner, Foster ran to his third-straight Big Ten Indoor title in the 800-meters last month, earning the fourth conference title of his career. Nationally, Foster stands 12th in the mile run, after running a school-record 3:58.49 at the Penn State National. The senior also clocked an impressive 2:19.96 for the 1,000-meters this season, which ranks as the top time by a collegian in 2011. A year ago, Foster finished third at the NCAA meet in the 800, earning his second-career All-America finish.

Johnson has kept the Nittany Lion sprints and hurdles as national mainstay during his seven-year Penn State career, including more than 50 All-America performances. This season, Johnson guided Shavon Greaves (Lakewood, N.J.) to her third-straight Big Ten title in the 200-meters, as well as an NCAA-automatic qualifying performance in the event at 23.17. Johnson also led the women's 4x400-meter squad of Doris Anyanwu (Beltsville, Md.), Ije Iheoma (Holland, Pa.), Greaves, and Megan Duncan (North Huntingdon, Pa.) to conference gold, making it six-straight indoor conference wins for the Nittany Lions in the event. Johnson will lead both a men's and women's 4x400 into action at the national competition this weekend, which will mark the sixth-consecutive appearance for a Johnson coached women's 4x400 at the NCAA indoor meet. Johnson has now garnered the coaching honor on six occasions.

Action in College Station begins on Friday, March 11, and runs through Saturday, March 12.

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Last Updated March 21, 2011