By: Aubrie Laufenberg
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. –A duo of senior cross country runners claimed the October Summit League Athlete of the Month honors announced by league officials Tuesday. South Dakota's Eldon Warner earned the accolade on the men's side, while Purdue Fort Wayne's Emma Rafuse earned the award on the women's side.
Warner picked up his first career Summit League Athlete of the Month honor after being named the 2018 Cross Country Championship Male MVP with an 8K time of 24:58.59. Warner was also named to the All-League First Team for the second-straight year.
Rafuse claimed her first career Summit League Athlete of the Month award after setting a Summit League Championship record in the 6K with a finish of 20:32.9 to take the title. She was named the 2018 Cross Country Championship Female MVP and named to the All-League First Team for the second-straight championship.
Male Athlete of the Month
Eldon Warner, South Dakota
Senior | Council Bluffs, Iowa
- Became the first Coyote on both the men's and the women's side to capture an individual Summit League cross country title
- Led the Coyotes at five meets during the season
- Clocked a personal-best 8K time (24:52) at the Bradley Pink Classic
Also nominated: Chase Cayo (South Dakota State), Scott House (Eastern Illinois), Cameron Auchinachie (Denver), Cody Burrows (Oral Roberts)
Female Athlete of the Month
Emma Rafuse, Purdue Fort Wayne
Senior | Greenville, Wis.
- Not only broke a 12-year old Summit League Championship record, but broke the Purdue Fort Wayne 6K school record as well
- Her championship finish (20:32.92) is the ninth-best 6K time in league history
- Was the first Mastodon to win the women's title since 2008
- At the Bradley Pink Classic, finished 6th out of a field of 298 runners
Also nominated: Rachel King (South Dakota State), Holly Enderle (North Dakota State), Jessica Harris (Eastern Illinois), Becca Latham (Denver), Hayley Dotseth (South Dakota), Katie Moller (North Dakota), Tori Roe (Oral Roberts), Annika Clinton (Omaha)
2018-19 Summit League Athletes of the Month
Male: Andre Shinyashiki / Denver / Soccer
Female: Olivia Swenson / North Dakota / Soccer
Male: Eldon Warner / South Dakota / Cross Country
Female: Emma Rafuse / Purdue Fort Wayne / Cross Country
ABOUT THE SUMMIT LEAGUE
Through 36 years of Division I athletics, The Summit League offers 19 championship sports and has a combined enrollment of nearly 115,000 at nine institutions, including three located in top 60 U.S. metro populations and two land-grant universities. Member institutions include: Denver (University of Denver), Purdue Fort Wayne (Purdue University Fort Wayne), the University of North Dakota, 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 12 NCAA Champions along with over 100 Academic All-Americans, and nearly 125 All-America selections and numerous former student-athletes competing at the highest professional level.