SIOUX FALLS — South Dakota used top-three finishes in 13 of 16 sports to win its first Summit League Commissioner’s Cup announced Tuesday by the League office. The Coyotes also won their fourth consecutive Dr. Helen Smiley Women’s All-Sports Award.
The Coyotes totaled 90 points while participating in 16 of 19 Summit League sports, one point more than South Dakota State and 10 points more than third-place finisher North Dakota State. It was the wide margin in the women’s standings that pushed USD to the top. The Coyotes placed first or second in seven of 10 women’s sports, generating 62 points. North Dakota State was second in the women’s race with 49 points.
“I couldn’t be more proud of this accomplishment by our student-athletes, coaches and staff,” said USD Athletic Director David Herbster. “Our goal will always be to have across-the-board success on the field of competition and in the classroom. Winning the Summit League Commissioner’s Cup is a testament to the goals, dedication and hard work of our teams.”
In addition to winning its fifth consecutive women’s cross country crown, the Coyotes finished in second place of the standings in eight other sports: women’s basketball, men’s golf, women’s indoor and outdoor track and field, men’s and women’s swimming and diving, softball and volleyball. Four other teams placed third including men’s cross country, men’s indoor and outdoor track and field, and women’s tennis.
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.