SIOUX FALLS – South Dakota State seniors Kyle Burdick and Rachel King are both named The Summit League’s Track Athletes of the Year on Wednesday morning.
The Jackrabbit duo is the second set of Summit League track athletes honored from the same school in the same outdoor season since the inception of the award in 2010.
SDSU has also had a pair of track athletes accomplish the feat indoors, back in 2017 when Joel Reichow and King were honored, and twice in cross country, with Reichow and Emily Donnay in 2016 and Chase Cayo and King in 2017.
For King, she becomes the first female Jackrabbit to win a Summit League outdoor post-season and championship award (Track Athlete of the Year, Championship Most Outstanding Performer in 2019).
The senior from St. Michael, Minn., concluded her historical Jackrabbit career at the NCAA DI Outdoor Track and Field Championships in the semifinals of the 3,000m steeplechase with a 21st-place finish (10:29.77).
The St. Michael, Minn. native competed in the first of two heats in the steeplechase and came across the finish line at No. 11, improving her overall place-finish from a year ago (23rd) and becoming a two-time All-America Honorable Mention.
Of her many achievements throughout her career, her most notable may be that she was the first female Jackrabbit in SDSU’s DI era to compete at the outdoor championship event on the track, accomplishing the feat last year.
This year, King continued to be the lone female track student-athlete representing the Yellow and Blue on the national stage while also being the first male or female SDSU student-athlete to qualify for the national championships in NCAA DI West Preliminary era (Sara Ackman also qualified in back-to-back seasons, but in the Midwest Regional in 2009 and West Regionals in 2010).
Throughout her SDSU career, she has claimed six school records, including six resets in the 3,000m steeplechase, while being named No. 2 all-time in two more events. Six school records held by an individual is second-most held by a Jackrabbit - male or female (Carly Carper).
King is also one of two student-athletes – male or female – to qualify for the NCAA West Preliminaries all four years of competition (Mary Wirth).
In cross country, she is a Championship MVP and Athlete of the Year recipient in 2017 for beating the competition and is a four-time first-team All-Leaguer, including a two-time NCAA All-Regional performer.
Burdick, the Rapid City native, finished his Jackrabbit career last weekend at his third consecutive NCAA West Preliminaries with a 14th-place quarterfinals finish in the 1,500m (3:43.14) and a 46th-place quarterfinal finish in the 5,000m (14:51.26).
He has competed in both of those events at the west prelims the past three seasons, moving onto the NCAA national championship in 2017 to run a 13th-place performance (3:43.78).
The 2017 Second-Team All-American earned his third consecutive Summit League Championship Track MVP outdoors this season for scoring 26 points (winning the 10,000m and finishing runner-up in the 1,500m and 5,000m) after being named the indoor Championship MVP for scoring 30 points (winning the mile, 3,000m, 5,000m).
At Western Illinois for 2019 outdoors, he completed a four-time all-league career in the 1,500m (winning two, runner-up in two), three-time all-league career in the 10,000m (winning two, runner-up once), and a two-time all-leaguer in the 5,000m (runner-up twice).
In all, he finished with 10 career wins for indoor (6) and outdoor (4) championships while posting his best performance in the 5,000m this year. He kept the SDSU streak of winning four consecutive 10,000m as he was the second student-athlete in Yellow and Blue to win multiple times in the event (Burdick - 2017, 2019 ... Lusignan - 2013, 2016).
For the indoor season, senior helped the team win their first indoor conference title since 1991, first one in The Summit League, while being the second-ever Jackrabbit to be honored as Track MVP (Joel Reichow in 2017).
His performance indoors will be noted as he is one of only three athletes in the league to ever win three or more. The last one to do it was Cameron Levins (2012, four - 800m, mile, 3,000m, 5,000m) of Southern Utah while Nevin Govan (1992 - LJ, TJ, HJ) did it for Eastern Illinois.
He’s tied for No. 4 all-time in the league for most indoor championship wins, two short of the most, while maintaining an indoor 3,000m undefeated career (six wins, three at championships).
In the process of winning three events in Brookings on February 22-23, two performances were meet records, including a 32-year old record reset in the mile (4:06.06). He now owns the indoor championship meet records in the mile, 3,000m, and 5,000m while scoring the most career points at indoor championship meets since at least 2008 (88 points).
For cross country, the Jack is a two-time NCAA All-Regional performer and three-time first-team all-league performer. He has been a part of three cross country team championships with his best place-finish in 2018 (runner-up behind teammate Cayo).