NEW ORLEANS—South Dakota senior Chris Nilsen has been voted the National Indoor Field Athlete of the Year by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) as announced on Thursday. This marks South Dakota’s first National Athlete of the Year in the Division I era. The Coyotes boasted six National Athlete of the Year honors during the program’s Division II years with the most recent coming in 2000. Nilsen, a three-time NCAA Champion, broke the NCAA indoor record in the pole vault this season with a clearance of 19 feet, 5 ½ inches (5.93m). The height makes him the No. 4 indoor performer in American history and the No. 15 indoor performer in world history. Hailing from Kansas City, Missouri, Nilsen vaulted past 19 feet three times during February and was looking for his fourth NCAA title when the meet was canceled 24 hours prior from competition beginning.