Three League Athletes Gear Up for IAAF's Across the Pond

From left to right: Chris Nilsen, Deborah John and Emily Grove.
From left to right: Chris Nilsen, Deborah John and Emily Grove.

ELMHURST, Ill. – One current student-athlete and two former ones will represent the Summit League and their respective universities on the biggest stage track and field has to offer at the 2017 IAAF World Championships in London.

South Dakota's Emily Grove (United States) and Chris Nilsen (United States) will compete in the pole vault events this weekend, while North Dakota State's Deborah John (Trinidad & Tobago) hits the track for the 100-meter hurdles next Friday, August 11 at 4:45 a.m. CT.

Grove, a three-time league "Field Athlete of the Year" and six-time USTFCCCA All-American, will begin the semi-final round of the women's vault this afternoon at 1:45 p.m. CT.

Graduating this past spring, Grove is coming off a 2017 outdoor campaign in which she set the new Summit League record in the vault (4.60m, 15' 1") and successfully defended her 2016 title at this year's league championships. She went onto earn second-team All-American honors after a 15th-place showing at the national meet in Eugene.

Not to be outdone, Nilsen also posted an incredible 2017 track and field season. During indoors, the native of Kansas City, Mo., became the first freshman and only the 11th athlete in Summit history to secure a national championship after winning the men's pole vault competition at a height of 5.70m (18' 8.25"). Nilsen carried that momentum into the outdoor season, garnering his second-career Summit "Field Athlete of the Year" accolade after setting both the league championship pole vault record (5.51m, 18' 1") and the league's all-time pole vault mark (5.73m, 18' 9.5").

The two-time All-American will compete in the semi-finals of the men's vault Sunday at 4:40 a.m. CT.

Like Grove, John is also an esteemed alumnus of the Summit League. The 2013 league indoor "Track Athlete of the Year" and five-time Summit champ earned her first-career USTFCCCA All-American honor during the 2014 outdoor season after setting the league's all-time 100mH record (13.30). Additionally, John holds the league championship record in the 60mH (8.47).

A full schedule of all league athletes competing at IAAF's can be found below. For more information, here is the link to the host page: IAAF World Championships.

University             Athlete                                   Event             Date (Time)                         

NDSU                     Deborah John                      100mH           Aug. 11 (4:45 a.m.)

South Dakota          Emily Grove                          PV                   Aug. 4 (1:45 p.m.)

South Dakota          Chris Nilsen                          PV                   Aug. 6 (4:40 a.m.)



Through 35 years of Division I athletics, The Summit League offers 19 championship sports and has a combined enrollment of nearly 100,000 at eight institutions, including three 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), 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 with the University of North Dakota becoming an official member on July 1, 2018. Previously known as the Mid-Continent Conference, The Summit League rebranded in 2007 and has since produced nine NCAA Champions along with over 90 Academic All-Americans, nearly 100 All-America selections and numerous former student-athletes competing at the highest professional level. For more information about the league, visit website, follow The Summit League on Twitter @thesummitleague.


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