Trio Named #SummitITF Athletes of the Week

Trio Named #SummitITF Athletes of the Week

ELMHURST, Ill. – For their performances over the weekend, South Dakota State's Colton Bender and Oral Roberts' Jaden Purnell were named Summit League Co-Athletes of the Week on the men's side, while South Dakota's Helen Falda locked up the women's honor for her vaulting efforts at the Tyson Invitational.

For the third-consecutive week, Bender reset the school record in the men's weight throw event, muscling a 68' 10" (20.98m) throw on his fourth attempt from the circle. Not to be outdone, Purnell also broke a school record with a personal-best leap in the men's triple jump (51' 3.5", 15.63m).

Falda moved to 11th on the NCAA performance list by clearing a vaulting height of 14' 0.75" (4.29m)—good enough for a first-place finish at the meet.  

Helen Falda, SOUTH DAKOTA

So. // Torino, Italy

  • Competed at the Tyson Invitational
  • Meet included six teams then-ranked in the top-25 (per USTFCCCA)
  • Cleared an indoor personal-best height of 14' 0.75" (4.29m)
  • Bested old indoor PB by three and a half inches
  • Moved to No. 3 all-time in USD history
  • Ranks No.1 in The Summit League and 11th nationally this season
  • First-career Summit League Athlete of the Week honor

Also nominated: Alexis Woods (NDSU), Aniekeme Etim (ORU), Willa Koenig (Omaha), Rachel King (SDSU)

Previous winners: Aniekeme Etim, Oral Roberts – Dec. 5 // Maddy Nilles, North Dakota State – Dec. 12 // Bailey Retzlaff, North Dakota State – Jan. 16 // Maddy Nilles, North Dakota State – Jan. 23 // Megan Billington, South Dakota – Jan. 30 // Amanda Levin, North Dakota State – Feb. 6

Colton Bender, SOUTH DAKOTA STATE

Sr. // Rapid City, S.D.  

  • Competed at the SDSU Indoor Classic
  • Threw a career-best 68' 10" (20.98m) on his fourth attempt
  • Finished first overall among a field of 59 competitors
  • Reset his own school record for the third-straight week
  • Ranks No. 1 in The Summit League and 24th nationally this season
  • Fifth-career win in the weight throw (fourth this season)
  • First-career Summit League Athlete of the Week honor

Jaden Purnell, Oral Roberts

Jr. //Silver Spring, Md.   

  • Competed at the 3rd Annual Indoor Gorilla Classic (long and triple jump)
  • Recorded a personal-best in the triple jump on his final attempt (51' 3.5", 15.63m)
  • That mark set the school record in the triple jump
  • Ranks first in The Summit League and 33rd in the NCAA this season
  • Also set a career-best in the long jump (23' 10", 7.26m)
  • First-career Summit League Athlete of the Week honor

Also nominated: Steffan Stroh (NDSU), Ethan Bray (South Dakota)

Previous winners: Bryant Courter (SDSU) and Corey Reid (USD) – Dec. 5 // Alex Talley, North Dakota State – Dec. 12 // Chris Nilsen, South Dakota – Jan. 16 // Chris Nilsen, South Dakota – Jan. 23 // Chris Nilsen, South Dakota – Jan. 30 // Ethan Bray, South Dakota – Feb. 6


ABOUT THE SUMMIT LEAGUE

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 www.thesummitleague.org website, follow The Summit League on Twitter @thesummitleague.

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