ELMHURST, Ill. - The Summit League selected South Dakota State men’s basketball student-athlete Nate Wolters (St. Cloud, Minn.) and Omaha women’s track & field student-athlete Sami Spenner (Columbus, Neb.) as its Male and Female Athletes of the Month for January.
Wolters collects his first career Athlete of the Month honor after surpassing the 2,000 career point mark and leading South Dakota State to 28-straight home victories, currently the second-longest in the nation. The senior guard scored his 2,000th career point on Jan. 17 in the win at Western Illinois, snapping the Leathernecks 11-game win streak and handing them their first league loss of the season with 22 points, five rebounds and six assists. On Jan. 3, Wolters set the Jackrabbit school record for career free throws made while scoring 23 points with seven assists in the win at Kansas City. Two nights later, the St. Cloud, Minn., native set the school’s career scoring mark in the win at South Dakota with 26 points. For the month, the Jan. 21 Player of the Week, averaged 21.6 points, 5.5 assists, 5.4 rebounds and 2.3 steals per game. He shot 48 percent (56-of-118) from the field and 85 percent (45-of-53) at the line as the Jacks went 7-1 and ascended to a first place tie in the standings during the month. Wolters was also named finalist for both the Bob Cousy and John Wooden Awards on Jan. 10.
Spenner becomes the first Omaha student-athlete to earn the Athlete of the Month award after capturing three consecutive Athlete of the Week awards in January. At the Jack Jennett Invitaitonal, the junior set the school record and top league mark with a score of 4,104 in the pentathlon. If eligible, her mark would rank fifth in the country and currently ranks 23rd in the world. In the pentathlon, she set personal bests in the high jump (5’-7.75”), 800 meters (2:16.42) and 60-meter hurdles (8.92). She also established a new school record in the long jump at the Nebraska Wesleyan Invitational with a top league mark of 20’-2.50”, which would rank 14th in the country. The Columbus, Neb., native also set the league’s third-best high jump mark (5’-7.75”) and fourth-best 800 meters (2:16.42) time during the month. Spenner’s league-best triple jump mark of 41’-1.75” set in December would still rank 21st in the nation.
Also nominated for the Men’s Athlete of the Month: Frank Gaines, Fort Wayne, basketball; Tony Carroll, IUPUI, swimming & diving; Andy Lillejord, North Dakota State, track & field; Travis Bader, Oakland, basketball; Terell Parks, Western Illinois, basketball.
Also nominated for the Women’s Athlete of the Month: Jenny Oleksiak, IUPUI, swimming & diving; Eilise O’Connor, Kansas City, basketball; Deborah John, North Dakota State, track & field; Karin Tomeckova, Oakland, swimming & diving; Ashley Luke, Western Illinois, basketball.