NDSU’s Otterdahl, USD’s Nilsen, UNO’s Ahrens earn weekly awards

Trio takes home weekly honors after nationally-ranked performances this past weekend.
Trio takes home weekly honors after nationally-ranked performances this past weekend.

By: Aubrie Laufenberg
 
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. –A number of nationally-ranked performances this past weekend has earned a trio of athletes Summit League Indoor Track and Field Athlete of the Week accolades. North Dakota State senior Payton Otterdahl and South Dakota junior Chris Nilsen claimed a share of the men's athlete of the week honor, while Omaha senior Stephanie Ahrens took home her first women's weekly award of the season.

Payton Otterdahl, North Dakota State
Senior | Throws 

  • Added 15 inches to his school record and NCAA-leading mark in the weight throw at the SDSU Indoor Classic with a mark of 78-11.25
  • Leads the nation in the weight throw by 20 inches this season
  • Is the only man to rank among the top five in collegiate indoor history in both the shot put and the weight throw
  • Ranks second in the world in the shot put

Chris Nilsen, South Dakota
Junior | Pole Vault 

  • Took second in the pole vault at the Tyson Invitational after vaulting a height of 18-8.75
  • Fell only to a professional vaulter in the invitational field
  • Topped five men ranked in the NCAA's top-10 this season
  • Matched his season-best of 18-8.75 for the third-straight week

Also nominated: Lucas Lingle (Western Illinois), Emmanuel Mwewa (Oral Roberts), Coby Hilton (South Dakota State)

Stephanie Ahrens, Omaha
Senior | Jumps 

  • Won the high jump at the Northwest Bearcat Invite with a jump of 6-0.5
  • Broke her previous indoor school record of 5-10.75 set back in 2015
  • Became the first UNO athlete in history to jump over six feet in the high jump
  • Currently ranks fifth in the nation

Also nominated: Emma Rafuse (Purdue Fort Wayne), Shelby Gunnells (North Dakota State), Bo Brasseur (Western Illinois), Megan Billington (South Dakota), Sasha Wells (Oral Roberts), Jaymie O'Connor (South Dakota State)

2018-19 The Summit League Athlete of the Week
December 4
M: Zack Anderson, South Dakota, Jumps
W: Molli Detloff, North Dakota, Throws 

December 11
M: Kelle'Mon Hinton, North Dakota State, Jumps
W: Bailey Retzlaff, North Dakota State, Throws 

January 15
M: Payton Otterdahl, North Dakota State, Throws
W: Bailey Retzlaff, North Dakota State, Throws 

January 22
M: Payton Otterdahl, North Dakota State, Throws | Chris Nilsen, South Dakota, Pole Vault
W: Molli Detloff, North Dakota, Throws 

January 29
M: Payton Otterdahl, North Dakota State, Throws
W: Helen Falda, South Dakota, Pole Vault 

February 5
M: Zack Anderson, South Dakota, Jumps
W: Maddy Nilles, North Dakota State, Throws 

February 12
M: Payton Otterdahl, North Dakota State, Throws | Chris Nilsen, South Dakota, Pole Vault
W: Stephanie Ahrens, Omaha, Jumps

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Through 36 years of Division I athletics, The Summit League offers 19 championship sports and has a combined enrollment of nearly 115,000 at nine institutions, including three located in top 60 U.S. metro populations and two land-grant universities. Member institutions include: Denver (University of Denver), the University of North Dakota, North Dakota State University, Omaha (University of Nebraska Omaha), Oral Roberts University, Purdue Fort Wayne (Purdue University Fort Wayne), 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 12 NCAA Champions along with over 100 Academic All-Americans, nearly 125 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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