SIOUX FALLS, S.D. –South Dakota State's Kyle Burdick and Rachel King alongside South Dakota's Chris Nilsen and North Dakota State's Akealy Moton were named The Summit League Athletes of the Year Wednesday in a vote by the league's head coaches for their impeccable performances during the 2019 outdoor track and field season.
Burdick, the 2019 Summit League Indoor Track Athlete of the Year, claimed the Men's Outdoor Track Athlete of the Year title as well, while Nilsen took home the Men's Outdoor Field Athlete of the Year crown after winning a national title in the pole vault at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships.
On the women's side, King, the 2019 Summit League Outdoor Track Most Outstanding Performer, became the first Jackrabbit in league history to earn the Women's Track Athlete of the Year honor. Moton, who was named the 2019 Summit League Outdoor Championship Field MVP, secured the Women's Field Athlete of the Year honor following her performances in the javelin and the shot put at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
North Dakota State's Don Larson earned his tenth consecutive Summit League Men's Outdoor Track & Field Coach of the Year honor after leading the Bison to their 10th straight league title. The North Dakota State men went on to earn 14 entries into the NCAA West Preliminary Rounds. Four Bison went on from preliminaries to represent the league at the NCAA Championships.
North Dakota State's Stevie Keller earned his fourth Summit League Women's Outdoor Track & Field Coach of the Year award after guiding the Bison to their 12th straight league title. The North Dakota State women sent 13 student-athletes to compete at the NCAA West Preliminaries where three went on to advance to the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
Below is a more thorough breakdown of each student-athletes' 2019 outdoor season.
Kyle Burdick, South Dakota State
Senior | Rapid City, S.D.
- Earned his third Championship Track MVP honor after scoring 26 points at the league outdoor championships
- Became the first league athlete to win three-straight outdoor track MVP awards
- Won the 10,000m (31:16.94), and finished runner-up in the 5,000m (14:35.17) and the 1,500m (3:50.45) at the league outdoor championships
- Is the second SDSU student-athlete to win multiple titles in the 10,000m event (2017,2019)
Chris Nilsen, South Dakota
Junior | Kansas City, MO.
- NCAA Champion in the pole vault
- Broke his own NCAA Championships meet record twice, vaulting a final height of 19-06.25 (5.95m)
- American leader and No. 2 in the world
- No. 3 all-time in NCAA history and No. 25 all-time in IAAF world record books
- Third NCAA title and sixth All-America honor
- Summit League Champion in the pole vault with a meet record vault of 19-00.75 (5.81m)
- Named the men's 2019 Summit League Most Outstanding Performer of the Championship
- Repeated as a semifinalist for The Bowerman
Rachel King, South Dakota State
Senior | St. Michael, Minn.
- Finished her senior year placing 21st in the 3,000m steeplechase at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships earning, USTFCCCA All-America Honorable Mention honors
- Was the first Jackrabbit track student-athlete to compete at the outdoor championship in NCAA DI West Preliminary era
- Qualified for the NCAA West Preliminaries for the fourth consecutive year
- Defended her 3,000m steeplechase title at the league outdoor championships
- Won her first career outdoor 5,000m race (16:40.98) at the league championships
- Named the women's 2019 Summit League Most Outstanding Performer of the Championship
Akealy Moton, North Dakota State
RFr. | West Fargo, N.D.
- Extended her school record and took home a gold medal in the women's shot put (56-10.25, 17.33m) at the league outdoor championships
- Finished runner-up in the javelin with a toss of 161-5 (49.19m) at the league championships
- Earned the women's 2019 Summit League Championship Field MVP
- Scored first-team All-American honors by placing fifth in the shot put at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships with a school record mark of 57-03.50 (17.46m)
- Earned honorable mention All-America honors after finishing 20th in the javelin (144-5, 44.02m) at the national outdoor championships
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), the University of North Dakota, North Dakota State University, Omaha (University of Nebraska Omaha), Oral Roberts University, Purdue Fort Wayne (Purdue University Fort Wayne), 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, nearly 125 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.