NDSU's Lillejord, Johnson Named March Athletes of the Month

North Dakota State's Andy Lillejord and Whitney Johnson - Photos by Dennis Hubbard
North Dakota State's Andy Lillejord and Whitney Johnson - Photos by Dennis Hubbard

March Athletes of the Month Release

ELMHURST, Ill. - The Summit League named North Dakota State’s men’s track & field student-athlete Andy Lillejord (Jamestown, N.D.) and women’s softball player Whitney Johnson (Lake Crystal, Minn.) as its Male and Female Athletes of the Month for March.

Lillejord captures the Male Athlete of the Month award for the first time in his career after being named the league’s Indoor Field Athlete of the Year. He recording a seventh-place finish in the heptathlon at the NCAA Championships with 5,793 points.  The junior was named to the USTFCCCA All-America First Team for his performance, which broke his own school record by 132 points. Lillejord’s finish marked the highest in league history in the heptathlon at the NCAA Indoor Championships.  The Jamestown, N.D., native was also named the 2013 Summit League Field Championship MVP after defending his heptathlon title with a league and DakotaDome record of 5,661 points.  He also posted second-place finishes in the pole vault (16’9.25”/5.11m) and long jump (23’8.75”/7.23m).  Lillejord finished the season ranked 12th in the nation in the heptathlon (5,685 points), second in the league in the long jump (24’3.75”/7.41m) and third in the pole vault (16’9.25”/5.11m).

Johnson earns her first career Athlete of the Month honor after defeating a pair of ranked opponents and tossing a no-hitter during the month. The senior threw her second career no-hitter in an 8-0 win over Radford at the Georgia Bulldog Invitational on March 2. Later in the day, she blanked host No. 23 Georgia, 3-0, allowing just one Bulldog hit while striking out four batters. Her second one-hitter of the month came on March 9 in a 7-1 win over UC Santa Barbara at the Long Beach State Invitational. In a 13-0 win over No. 20 Nebraska on March 20, the three-time pitcher of the week went the distance, fanning six batter and surrendering just four hits. She also recorded a save in the 4-2 win over Northern Illinois on March 13. On the Bison career charts, she is first in appearances (138) and tied for first in games started (117). For the month, Johnson had a 9-2 record with a 1.46 ERA and 91 strikeouts in 76.2 innings pitched.

Also nominated for the Men’s Athlete of the Month: Santiago Ruiz, IUPUI, golf; Grant Fleming, Kansas City, tennis; Tim Koons, Oakland, baseball; Alex Mortensen, Omaha, baseball; Jeff Mettler, South Dakota, track & field.

Also nominated for the Women’s Athlete of the Month: Larissa Franklin, Fort Wayne, softball; Kerah Nelson, IUPUI, basketball; Courtney Frerichs, Kansas City, track & field; Kassandra Komma, Oakland, golf; Allie Mathewson, Omaha, softball; Nicole Seekamp, South Dakota, basketball.

Entering its fourth decade of Division I athletics, The Summit League offers 19 championship sports and has a combined enrollment of over 144,000 at nine universities, four of which are located in top 58 U.S. metro populations (Detroit, Indianapolis, Kansas City and Omaha). Member institutions include: Fort Wayne (Indiana-Purdue-Fort Wayne), IUPUI (Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis), Kansas City (University of Missouri-Kansas City), North Dakota State University, Oakland University, Omaha (University of  Nebraska Omaha), 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 54 All-Americans, 37 Academic All-America selections and seven NCAA Championships. For more information about the league and its history, visit www.thesummitleague.org to "See The Summit" or follow on Twitter @thesummitleague.