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    USD TF: Nilsen picks up second USTFCCCA National Athlete of the Week honor this season

    VERMILLION, S.D.–South Dakota sophomore Chris Nilsen has been named the U.S. Track and Field/Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) National Athlete of the Week for the period ended April 6. Nilsen earns the honor for the third time of his career.

    Nilsen vaulted a career best 19 feet, 2 ¾ inches, with a first-attempt make on Saturday at the Howard Wood Dakota Relays in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The height ranks Nilsen as the top American this season and fourth in the world. 

    Nilsen also earned Summit League Athlete of the Week honors for the 16th time of his young career. 

    The sophomore also makes a stamp on the NCAA record books. Nilsen ranks fourth in NCAA history, while his vault is the ninth-best jump by an NCAA athlete in all-conditions history. Lawrence Johnson of Tennessee holds the NCAA record of 19-7 ½ from 1996. 

    A native of Kansas City, Mo., Nilsen added to his resume with his third career jump beyond 19 feet. The 20-year-old honored his coach, three-time Olympian and 2008 Olympic Bronze Medalist Derek Miles, by clearing the bar one centimeter above Miles’ career best. 

    Nilsen has posted an impressive spring, previously garnering the USTFCCCA National Athlete of the Week honor by winning the 2018 Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays in 19-0 ¼. He also finished runner-up in the elite section of the Drake Relays a week ago with a jump of 18-11 ½. 

    The Coyotes are headed to the Summit League Outdoor Championships on May 10-12 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

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