League Releases Outdoor Track & Field Preseason Poll

League Releases Outdoor Track & Field Preseason Poll

ELHMURST, Ill. – The ORU men's and women's track and field programs were each picked to finish fourth, per a vote of the league's head coaches, it was announced Friday afternoon. Mercy Abire and Aniekeme Etim were picked as preseason athletes to watch on the women's side, while Jaden Purnell and Omeiza Akerele were tabbed on the men's side.

North Dakota State's women, who have raked in a league-record 10-consecutive outdoor championships, secured the No. 1 spot in the 2018 preseason poll with 36 points and six of the seven first-place votes. The Coyotes of South Dakota were selected to finish second with 31 points and picked up the remaining first-place tally. South Dakota State came in third with 25 points, while Oral Roberts (22), Omaha (14), Western Illinois (11) and Fort Wayne (8) rounded out the women's rankings.

The men's poll was a bit closer, as the Bison took the No. 1 ranking with 16 points and four of the five first-place votes. The 'Yotes were selected second on the men's side as well with 12 points and one first-place tally, while South Dakota State (10), Oral Roberts (8) and Western Illinois (4) placed third through fifth, respectively.

The outdoor season gets underway next Friday, March 16, with a trio of squads headed to Tempe, Ariz., for the Baldy Castillo Invitational and a couple more teams traveling to Tulsa, Okla., for Tulsa Duels.

2018 #SummitOTF Women's Preseason Rankings

(First-place votes)

 

  1. North Dakota State

36 (6)

  1. South Dakota

31 (1)

  1. South Dakota State

25

  1. Oral Roberts

22

  1. Omaha

14

  1. Western Illinois

11

  1. Fort Wayne

8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2018 #SummitOTF Men's Preseason Rankings

(First-place votes)

 

  1. North Dakota State

16 (4)

  1. South Dakota

12 (1)

  1. South Dakota State

10

  1. Oral Roberts

8

  1. Western Illinois

4


SummitOTF Preseason Notes

 

  • Since joining the league in 2007-08, the Bison women have absolutely dominated the league's track & field scene, taking home the last 21 championship trophies (11 straight indoors, 10 straight outdoors)
  • On the men's side, NDSU has won the last three outdoor championships outright and has taken at least a share of the title in each of the last eight seasons 
  • Four male athletes accounted for the five highest individual league honors in 2017, and all four return to competition in 2018: SDSU's Kyle Burdick (Track Athlete of the Year and Track Championship MVP); USD's Chris Nilsen (Field Athlete of the Year); SDSU's Bryant Courter (Newcomer of the Championship and Field Championship MVP); and NDSU's Steffan Stroh (Field Championship MVP – split with Courter)
  • The women lose 2017 league honorees Rose Jackson (Track Athlete of the Year), Emily Grove (Field Athlete of the Year), Amber Eichkorn (Track Championship MVP) and Katelyn Weimerskirch (Field Championship MVP)
  • The 2017 Women's Newcomer of the Championship award was split between USD's Samara Spencer and Britny Kerr, both of whom return to the 'Yotes roster this season
  • Twelve championship records were set at the league's outdoor meet in 2017 (eight for the men, four for the women)
  • The Bison women posted the highest point total in league history at 2017 outdoor league championships with 335 points, surpassing the 300-point threshold for the second-consecutive season (no other program has accomplished that feat even once)
  • The Summit League sent a league-record 15 athletes to NCAA DI Outdoor Championships in 2017 and five of them return in 2018: USD's Nilsen (Pole Vault), SDSU's Burdick (1500m), ORU's Jaden Purnell (Triple Jump), and NDSU's Alyssa Olin (Javelin) and Alexis Woods (4x400-meter relay)
  • Of those five, Burdick and Olin secured second-team All-America honors, while Purnell and Woods earned honorable mention nods  
  • Nilsen was the only league athlete to earn first-team All-America status in 2017 after finishing tied for third at NCAA's with a 17' 10.5" (5.45m) vault

2018 #SummitOTF Women's Preseason Athletes to Watch List

 

Emma Rafuse // Fort Wayne // Jr. // Greenville, Wis.

  • 2017 #SummitOTF Competitor – 800m, 1500m, 4x4
  • Personal-best 800m – 2:15.15 (2017 #SummitOTF Championships)

 

Alexis Woods // North Dakota State // Sr. // Parshall, N.D.

  • 2017 #SummitOTF All-League – 400m (1st), 200m (3rd), 4x1 (1st) and 4x4 (1st)
  • Set outdoor championship record in the 400m (52.99)
  • 2017 NCAA West Regional Qualifier (4x4)
  • 2017 USTFCCCA All-America Honorable Mention (4x4)

 

Alyssa Olin // North Dakota State // Sr. // Mott, N.D.

  • 2017 #SummitOTF Event Champion – Javelin
  • 2017 NCAA West Regional Qualifier – Javelin
  • 2017 USTFCCCA Second-Team All-America – Javelin (12th)

 

Stephanie Ahrens // Omaha // Sr. // Lincoln, Neb.

  • Two-time #SummitOTF Champion – High Jump (2016, 2017)
  • 2017 NCAA West Regional Qualifier – High Jump
  • 2017 Academic All-League

 

Lauren Houston // Omaha // Jr. // Omaha, Neb.

  • 2017 #SummitOTF Competitor – 800m, 4x4
  • Personal-best 800m – 2:09.86 (2016 Drake Relays)

 

Mercy Abire // Oral Roberts // So. // Delta, Nigeria

  • 2017 #SummitOTF Competitor – 100m, 4x1, 4x4, Long Jump
  • 2017 NCAA West Regional Qualifier – Long Jump

 

Aniekeme Etim // Oral Roberts // Fr. // Ikot Ekpene, Nigeria

  • 2018 #SummitITF Event Champion – 60m, 200m
  • 2018 #SummitITF Newcomer of the Championship
  • Collegiate-best 100m – 7.35 (2018 #SummitITF Championships)
  • Collegiate-best 200m – 23.93 (2018 #SummitITF Championships)

 

Shanice Cannigan // South Dakota // Sr. // Lucea, Jamaica

  • 2017 #SummitOTF All-League – 100mH (1st), 400mH (3rd), 4x1 (2nd), High Jump (3rd)
  • 2017 NCAA West Regional Qualifier – 100mH
  • Two-time event champion – 100mH (2016, 2017)
  • 2015 #SummitOTF Newcomer of the Championship

 

Helen Falda // South Dakota // So. // Pole Vault

  • Transfer from UT Arlington
  • 2017 NCAA West Regional Qualifier – Pole Vault
  • 2017 USTFCCCA First-Team All-America – Pole Vault (8th)
  • Sun Belt Conference Record Holder – Pole Vault (Indoor & Outdoor)

 

Megan Billington // South Dakota // Jr. // Grand Island, Neb.

  • 2017 #SummitOTF All-League – 5000m (3rd), 10000m (3rd)
  • Personal-best 10K – 35:02.16 (2017 Drake Relays)

 

Rachel King // South Dakota State // Jr. // St. Michael, Minn.

  • 2017 #SummitOTF Competitor – 1500m
  • 2017 NCAA West Regional Qualifier – 3000m steeplechase
  • Personal-best 3000m Steeplechase – 10:10.71 (2017 Mt. SAC)

 

Kasie Vollmer // South Dakota State // Jr. // Savage, Minn.

  • 2017 #SummitOTF All-League – Discus (2nd)
  • 2017 NCAA West Regional Qualifier – Discus
  • Personal-best Discus – 173' 11"   53.02m (2017 NCAA West Prelims) 

 

Jasmine Brown // Western Illinois // Sr. // DeKalb, Ill.

  • 2017 #SummitOTF All-League – Long Jump (2nd)
  • 2017 NCAA West Regional Qualifier – Long Jump, Triple Jump
  • 2015 #SummitOTF Field Athlete of the Year
  • 2015 USTFCCCA Second-Team All-America (Triple Jump)

 

Michaela Busch // Western Illinois // So. // Rock Falls, Ill.

  • 2017 #SummitOTF Competitor – Women's Heptathlon, High Jump
  • Personal-best Heptathlon – 4,299 points (2017 #SummitOTF Championships)

 

2018 #SummitOTF Men's Preseason Athletes to Watch List

 

Payton Otterdahl // North Dakota State // Jr. // Rosemount, Minn.

  • Redshirted 2017 outdoor season
  • 2016 #SummitOTF Even Champion – Discus
  • Personal-best Discus – 179' 7"   54.73m (2016 Cobber Twilight)  

 

Brant Gilbertson // North Dakota State // Sr. // Watertown, S.D.

  • 2017 #SummitOTF All-League – 3000m Steeplechase (2nd)
  • 2017 NCAA West Regional Qualifier – 3000m Steeplechase
  • Personal-best 3000m Steeplechase – 8:58.16 (2017 Mt. SAC)

 

Omeiza Akerele // Oral Roberts // Sr. // Benin City, Nigeria

  • 2017 #SummitOTF Event Champion – 200m, 400m, 4x4
  • Helped set #SummitOTF Championship record in the 4x4 (3:11.06)
  • 2017 NCAA West Regional Qualifier – 200m, 400m

 

Jaden Purnell // Oral Roberts // Jr. // Silver Spring, Md.

  • 2017 #SummitOTF All-League – Triple Jump (2nd)
  • 2017 NCAA West Regional Qualifier – Triple Jump
  • 2017 USTFCCCA All-America Honorable Mention – Triple Jump

 

Eldon Warner // South Dakota // Jr. // Council Bluffs, Iowa

  • 2017 #SummitOTF All-League – 800m (3rd), 1500m (3rd)
  • Personal-best 800m – 1:51.59 (2017 Howard Wood Dakota Relays)
  • Personal-best 1500m – 3:50.99 (2017 #SummitOTF Championships)

 

Chris Nilsen // South Dakota // So. // Kansas City, Mo.

  • 2017 #SummitOTF Event Champion – Pole Vault
  • Set #SummitOTF Championship record in pole vault –  18' 1" (5.51m)
  • 2017 #SummitOTF Field Athlete of the Year
  • 2017 NCAA West Regional Qualifier – Pole Vault
  • 2017 USTFCCCA First-Team All-America – Pole Vault (3rd)

 

Ben Hammer // South Dakota // Jr. // Dell Rapids, S.D.

  • 2017 #SummitOTF All-League – Discus (2nd)
  • 2017 NCAA West Regional Qualifier – Discus
  • Personal-best Discus – 174' 8"   53.23m (2017 NCAA West Prelims)

 

Joe Reagan // South Dakota // Jr. // Topeka, Kan.

  • 2017 #SummitOTF All-League – 4x1 (1st), Long Jump (2nd)
  • Helped set #SummitOTF Championship record in the 4x1 (40.41)
  • 2016 #SummitOTF Newcomer of the Championship

 

Kyle Burdick // South Dakota State // Jr. // Rapid City, S.D.

  • 2017 #SummitOTF Event Champion – 1500m, 10000m
  • 2017 #SummitOTF Track Athlete of the Year
  • 2017 #SummitOTF Track Championship MVP
  • Set #SummitOTF Championship record in the 1500m (3:46.86)
  • 2017 NCAA West Regional Qualifier – 1500m, 5000m
  • 2017 USTFCCCA Second-Team All-America – 1500m (13th)
  • 2017 Academic All-League

 

Bryant Courter // South Dakota State // So. // Rich Hill, Mo.

  • 2017 #SummitOTF Event Champion – Long Jump, Triple Jump
  • 2017 #SummitOTF Newcomer of the Championship
  • 2017 #SummitOTF Field Championship MVP
  • 2017 NCAA West Regional Qualifier – Long Jump, Triple Jump

 

Josh Kirby // Western Illinois // So. // Creve Coeur, Ill.

  • 2017 #SummitOTF All-League – 110mH (2nd), 400mH (2nd)
  • Personal-best 110mH – 14.72 (2017 #SummitOTF Championships)
  • Personal-best 400mH – 53.16 (2017 #SummitOTF Championships)

#SummitOTF