ELMHURST, Ill. (KWSN) — For the second time in three years, South Dakota State University has captured the Commissioner's Cup as the top athletic program in The Summit League. Jackrabbit teams also combined to win the Dr. William Steinbrecher Men's All-Sports Award for the first time, while ranking second in the race for the Dr. Helen Smiley Women's All-Sports Award.
On the strength of first-place finishes in men's cross country, men's basketball and women's basketball, the Jackrabbits claimed the Commissioner's Cup with 94.5 points. Of the 18 championships in which the Jackrabbits compete, they finished in the top three in 10, while placing in the top five in all but two. The Jackrabbits finished in the top two in five men’s championship sports on their way to capturing the Dr. William Steinbrecher Award.
North Dakota State, last season’s Commissioner’s Cup recipient, took second with 87.0 points. The next three positions were separated by one point each with South Dakota (78.5) taking third, followed by Oakland (77.5) and Kansas City (76.5). Western Illinois finished sixth with 65.5 points, while newcomer Omaha (64.0), Fort Wayne (59.5) and IUPUI (58.0) rounded out the standings.
The Commissioner’s Cup is given annually to the member institution that collects the most combined points in relationship to placement in league-sponsored sports between its men’s and women’s athletic programs, while the All Sports Awards are given to the institutions that accumulate the most points in men’s sports and women’s sports. The men’s award is named for former Valparaiso Director of Athletics Dr. William Steinbrecher, who guided the Crusaders from 1979-2004, while the women’s award is named for former Western Illinois Director of Athletics Dr. Helen Smiley, who headed WIU’s athletic program from 1994-2001.
North Dakota State collected its third consecutive Dr. Helen Smiley Award after placing first in women’s cross country, women’s indoor track and field, women’s golf, softball and women’s outdoor track and field.
Courtesy: South Dakota State University