USD’s Nilsen, Grove, ORU’s Ausua Named May/June Athletes of the Month

South Dakota's Emily Grove & Chris Nilsen and Oral Roberts' Miguel Ausua
South Dakota's Emily Grove & Chris Nilsen and Oral Roberts' Miguel Ausua

May/June Athletes of the Month

ELMHURST, Ill. - The Summit League selected South Dakota men's track & field student-athlete Chris Nilsen (Kansas City, Mo.) and Oral Roberts baseball player Miguel Ausua (Peñuelas, Puerto Rico) as the Male Athletes of the Month and South Dakota women's track & field athlete Emily Grove (Pontiac, Ill.) as the Female Athlete of the Month for May/June.

Nilsen is awarded his fifth consecutive Athlete of the Month honor after earning bronze at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships with a height of 17' 10.50" (5.44m) in the pole vault. Earlier in the month, he set a new Summit League Championships record with a vault of 18' 1.00" (5.51m). A native of Kansas City, Mo., Nilsen was named the league's Outdoor Field Athlete of the Year and the USTFCCCA Midwest Field Athlete of the Year. The five Athlete of the Month awards are league records for both a season and career by a male student-athlete.

Ausua collects his first career Athlete of the Month award after leading Oral Roberts to The Summit League's regular season and tournament titles in May. The junior earned Tournament MVP honors after tossing his first career complete-game shutout over North Dakota State in the league title game. Earlier in the month, he had wins over NDSU (May 7) and Western Illinois (May 19), while striking out 10 in a no-decision vs. Omaha on May 14. In the NCAA Regional, the Puerto Rico native tossed 6.1 innings with six strikeouts and allowed just one earned run in a loss to No. 11 Arkansas. For the month, Ausua went 3-1 with a 0.26 ERA in 34.0 innings pitched with 29 strikeouts and just seven walks, while allowing only one extra base hit. He was named the league's Pitcher of the Year and earned NCBWA All-America Second Team honors.

Grove captures her third career Athlete of the Month honor and second this season after earning Second Team All-America honors at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships. The senior placed 15th in the pole vault with a height of 13' 1.50" (4.00m). At the league championships last month, the Pontiac, Ill., native defended her title with a vault of 13' 7.75" (4.15m). The Summit League Outdoor Field Athlete of the Year, Grove was also named Academic All-Summit League and has earned more All-America honors than any other Coyote in the program's Division I history.

Also nominated for the Men's Athlete of the Month: Robert Murphy, IUPUI, track & field

Also nominated for the Women's Athlete of the Month: Roni Patterson, IUPUI, softball

In its fourth decade 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 75 Academic All-Americans, 65 All-America selections and numerous former student-athletes competing at the highest professional level. In 2014-15, The Summit League ranked first for NCAA Graduation Success Rate in women's basketball and second in baseball. For more information about the league and to "See The Summit", visit the newly re-designed website, follow Summit League Basketball on Twitter @summithoops and watch the weekly "Inside The Summit League" show at


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