USD’s Nilsen, WIU's Clemens Named February Athletes of the Month

South Dakota's Chris Nilsen & Western Illinois' Emily Clemens
South Dakota's Chris Nilsen & Western Illinois' Emily Clemens

February Athletes of the Month Release 

ELMHURST, Ill. - The Summit League selected South Dakota men's track & field student-athlete Chris Nilsen (Kansas City, Mo.) as the Male Athlete of the Month and Western Illinois women's basketball player Emily Clemens (Muscatine, Iowa) as the Female Athlete of the Month for February.

Nilsen earns his second consecutive honor after breaking the American Under-20 indoor record with a jump of 18' 8.25" (5.69m) at the Tyson Invitational. That height earned him a spot on the Bowerman Award Watch List. He also vaulted a height of 18' 5.50" (5.62m) at The Summit League Championships, besting the previous league record mark by 10 inches. During February, Nilsen won the pole vault at three meets and broke three records (South Dakota, Summit League, American Under-20). His clearance of 18' 8.25" (5.69m) at the Tyson Invitational also earned him a rank of 12 on the IAAF's world list.

Clemens captures her first career Athlete of the Month award after leading Western Illinois to a perfect 7-0 record on the month and its first regular season title since 2006. The junior had five 20-plus point outings, including a pair of double-doubles to end the month. In the win over Fort Wayne, she tallied 25 points with 12 assists and followed that with 24 points and 10 assists against South Dakota. A two-time Player of the Week in February, she began the month with a 21-point, four-assist performance against Oral Roberts and added 20 points against Omaha and South Dakota State. For the month, Clemens averaged 20.7 points, 8.0 assists, 3.9 rebounds, 2.0 steals and a 3.7 assist/turnover ratio.

Also nominated for the Men's Athlete of the Month: Kyle Robrock, Denver, swimming & diving; John Konchar, Fort Wayne, basketball; Krisztian Somhegyi, IUPUI, swimming & diving; Alex Renner, North Dakota State, track & field; Noah Cummings, Oral Roberts, baseball; Mike Daum, South Dakota State, basketball; Malachi Adams, Western Illinois, track & field

Also nominated for the Women's Athlete of the Month: Johanna Roas, Denver, swimming & diving; Melissa Berger, IUPUI, swimming & diving; Rose Jackson, North Dakota State, track & field; Kennedy Ishee, Oral Roberts, golf; Samara Spencer, South Dakota, track & field

Celebrating its 35th season 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 80 Academic All-Americans, 75 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 and watch the weekly "Inside The Summit League" show at


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