Year-end awards from the North Dakota AP Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association continue today with the release of the College Male and Female winners.
Starting with the college male category, the North Dakota State University football team has been named the Male College Team of the Year. The Bison rolled to a 15-0 record outscoring their opponents by a whopping 29 point average. NDSU surpassed Georgia Southern for the most titles in FCS history, becoming the fifth FCS team to finish an undefeated season as national champions, joining the 2013 Bison team. The Bison defeated Eastern Washington 38-24 in the title game, claiming their seventh national title in the last eight years.
Other finalists included North Dakota State University Basketball and University of Jamestown basketball.
The College Male Coach of the Year was NDSU head football coach Chris Klieman. Klieman guided the Bison to a 15-0 record and the FCS national title. Klieman, who has left NDSU to become the head coach at Kansas State, compiled a 112-8 record with seven titles in eight years since joining the program as an assistant.
Other finalists included North Dakota State basketball coach Dave Richman and North Dakota State Track and Field coach Justin St. Clair.
The College Male Athlete of the Year was shared by two athletes…North Dakota State Track and Field standout Payton Otterdahl and Dickinson State football star Jay Liggens.
Otterdahl, a senior from Rosemount, Minnesota, swept the NCAA Division One indoor titles in the shot put and weight throw and added a runner-up finish in the discus and fourth place in the shot put at the outdoor championships. Otterdahl was named the U.S. Track and Field Coaches Association national men’s indoor athlete of the year after setting the all-time collegiate record in the shot put.
Liggens, from Bismarck, is a two-time NAIA All-American defensive back who signed a free agent contract with the Philadelphia Eagles. Liggens finished his Dickinson State career with 14 interceptions, 8 of them in his senior year.
The other finalist was North Dakota State University quarterback Easton Stick.
Turning to the college female side, it was clean sweep by Valley City State University in all three categories.
The Vikings softball team won the Female Team of the Year after shattering the school record for wins with 54 and the program’s third appearance in the NAIA World Series. They finished the season ranked number six in the country, the highest ranking in program history.
The other finalist was North Dakota State University softball.
Valley City pitcher Emily Smith was the winner of the College Female Athlete of the Year. She was named a NAIA second team All-American after posting a 33-1 record with a 1.18 ERA. She finished the season ranked third in the nation in wins. At the plate, she batted 398.
The other finalist was North Dakota State University Track and Field standout Akealy Moten.
Valley City softball coach Mike Mook completed the sweep by winning the College Female Coach of the Year. In his fourth year, Mook guided the Vikings to a 54-5 record and an appearance in the NAIA World Series.
Other finalists included Jamestown wrestling coach Shauna Kemp and North Dakota State University softball coach Darren Mueller.
The high school male and female winners will be released tomorrow.