(MSUB Athletics release)
INDIANAPOLIS – Among the 19 schools who were named finalists for the 2018 NCAA Division II Award of Excellence was Montana State University Billings, announced by the organization from its national headquarters on Tuesday.
The Award of Excellence is based on the NCAA Division II community engagement philosophy, and honors institutions and athletic conferences across the nation annually for service to their local communities.
For its ongoing work with Team IMPACT, MSUB was selected as the award winner from the Great Northwest Athletic Conference for this year, claiming a $500 prize to be used towards future community engagement activities.
“We couldn’t be more proud of our student-athletes and coaches who have brought this valuable partnership with Team IMPACT to life,” said MSUB director of athletics Krista Montague. “We are humbled to receive this recognition, and to be among our top peers at the Division II level is something we are proud of. Giving back to the community is one of our foundational pillars as an athletic department, and we feel a sense of accomplishment in that area by being selected as an Award of Excellence finalist. Perhaps most rewarding of all however has been watching the positive impact Elijah, Sebastien, and Bria have had on the young men and women on our teams.”
MSUB will now be in the running for one of the three national awards, presented to the top three universities as adjudicated by the NCAA Division II Student Athlete Advisory Committee. The top prize is $1,500 and a nationally televised basketball game in 2018-19, the second prize is $1,250, and the third prize is $1,000. The national award winners will be announced at the NCAA Convention on Jan. 20 in Indianapolis.
On Oct. 31, 2017, the MSUB men’s basketball team signed six-year-old Elijah Salley of Billings to its roster through the Team IMPACT program. Designed to partner children who are facing life-threatening diseases with collegiate athletic teams, Team IMPACT made its third match with MSUB over the last four years.
In addition to Elijah on the Yellowjackets’ men’s basketball roster, MSUB’s men’s soccer team features Sebastien Easton who joined in 2014 and the softball squad has Bria Koch who signed in 2016.
For more information about MSUB’s partnership with Team IMPACT, including photos of Elijah, Sebastien, and Bria with their teams, visit the MSUB Team IMPACT webpage online here.
MSUB is one of just two schools from the NCAA D2 west region to be a national finalist, along with Cal State University Monterey Bay.