ELMHURST, Ill. - The Summit League selected South Dakota men's track & field student-athlete Chris Nilsen (Kansas City, Mo.) as the Male Athlete of the Month and Western Illinois women's basketball player Morgan Blumer (Milton, Wis.) as the Female Athlete of the Month for January.
Nilsen collects his first career Athlete of the Month honor after leading the nation in the pole vault with a jump of 18'2.50" (5.54m) at the Jack Johnson Classic on Jan. 28. At the time, that mark led The Summit League and was 19th in the world by the IAAF. The freshman won the pole vault event at three events during the month (Hawkeye Challenge, Jim Emmerich Invitational, Jack Johnson Classic), breaking his own school record each time. Nilsen was a three-time Summit League Track & Field Athlete of the Week award recipient during the month of January.
Blumer also earns her first career Athlete of the Month award after guiding Western Illinois to a 5-2 league record in January. She recorded career-highs of 36 points and 15 rebounds in the Jan. 14th win over North Dakota State and added her second double-double performance with 19 points and 11 rebounds in a win over Oral Roberts (Jan. 7). The junior also tallied 25 points vs. Denver (Jan. 5) and 28 points at South Dakota (Jan. 28). For the month, Blumer averaged 21.9 points, 7.4 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.3 blocks and 1.1 steals per game, while shooting 56 percent from the field, 50 percent from downtown and 77.4 percent at the free throw line. She also landed the No. 1 spot on SportCenter's Top 10 for her three-quarter court shot vs. IUPUI (Jan. 25).
Also nominated for the Men's Athlete of the Month: Kyle Robrock, Denver, swimming & diving; Mo Evans, Fort Wayne, basketball; Krisztian Somhegyi, IUPUI, swimming & diving; Albert Owens, Oral Roberts, basketball; Mike Daum, South Dakota State, basketball
Also nominated for the Women's Athlete of the Month: Lauren Loven, Denver, basketball; Olivia Coleman, Fort Wayne, track & field; Faith Ihim, Oral Roberts, basketball; Samara Spencer, South Dakota, track & field; Ellie Thompson, South Dakota State, basketball
ABOUT THE SUMMIT LEAGUE
Celebrating its 35th season of Division I athletics, The Summit League offers 19 championship sports and has a combined enrollment of over 120,000 at nine institutions, including four located in top 60 U.S. metro populations and two land-grant universities. Member institutions include: Denver (University of Denver), Fort Wayne (Indiana University-Purdue University-Fort Wayne), IUPUI (Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis), North Dakota State University, Omaha (University of Nebraska Omaha), Oral Roberts University, the University of South Dakota, South Dakota State University and Western Illinois University. Previously known as the Mid-Continent Conference, The Summit League rebranded in 2007 and has since produced eight NCAA Champions along with over 80 Academic All-Americans, 75 All-America selections and numerous former student-athletes competing at the highest professional level. For more information about the league, visit www.thesummitleague.org website, follow The Summit League on Twitter @thesummitleague and watch the weekly "Inside The Summit League" show at www.thesummitleague.org/itsl.