Courtesy: Spencer Farrin (Moscow, Idaho)
Four-time honoree Jeremy Klas leads list.
USTFCCCA honors nine Vandals
Courtesy: Idaho Athletic Media Relations
          Release: 07/25/2012
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NEW ORLEANS – Nine University of Idaho student-athletes were honored this week by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) as 2012 Division I All-Academic selections.

Three Vandal men, junior Jeremy Klas (Moscow, Idaho), junior Mike Marshall (Yakima, Wash.) and sophomore Ugis Svazs (Kuldiga, Latvia), were honored on Tuesday. On Wednesday, the organization announced its women’s selections, which included six Vandal women, sophomore Alycia Butterworth (Parksville, British Columbia), sophomore Hannah Kiser (Wenatchee, Wash.), junior Kristine Leonard (Rathdrum, Idaho), senior Gabby Midles (Camas, Wash.), junior Ellen Rouse (Orofino, Idaho) and junior Liga Velvere (Saldus, Latvia).

“It’s always exciting to see that many student-athletes rewarded for both academic and athletic excellence,” Idaho director of track and field/cross country Wayne Phipps said on Wednesday. “We always place a large emphasis on academic success with our kids, so it’s always really nice for them to be recognized with these awards. For them to do both parts at a high level means a lot to our program and our department.”

Among the nine honorees, two Vandals, Klas and Midles, are repeat honorees. Klas was a 2009, 2010 and 2011 selection, while Midles was also honored for the 2010 season. Kiser was also selected as a USTFCCCA Division I All-Academic selection for cross country earlier in the year. Idaho’s combined nine honorees are tied for its most since the award’s inception in 2007. Idaho also had nine student-athletes on the list in 2009.

Idaho represented nine of the Western Athletic Conference’s 22 individual honorees. The USTFCCCA handed out honors to 676 women and 431 men for the 2012 indoor and outdoor track and field seasons.

“It’s nice for us to show that you don’t have to sacrifice athletic success for academic success, or vice versa,” Phipps said. “It shows the balance that we have overall as a team and also it shows the result of the hard work in all aspects by these student-athletes.”

To be selected for the honor, student-athletes must have compiled a 3.25 or better cumulative grade-point average and have met at least one of two competitive standards. They either had to finish the indoor track and field season ranked among the NCAA’s top 96 in an individual event or top 48 in a relay, or must have competed in any round of the NCAA Division I Track & Field Championships during the outdoor season.

Alycia Butterworth
Butterworth is a sophomore from Parksville, British Columbia, who won her first career WAC crown in the 3000m steeplechase in dominating fashion in 2012. While she’s just in her second season as a Vandal, Butterworth is a six-time First-Team All-WAC honoree and a two-time NCAA qualifier in the steeplechase. She also finished fifth overall at the 2011 WAC Cross Country Championships to help lead Idaho to its second-consecutive team title. She holds a 3.85 cumulative GPA with a major in Business.

Hannah Kiser
Kiser is a sophomore from Wenatchee, Wash. She had a breakout 2011-12 season in which she earned USTFCCCA Second-Team All-America honors indoors in the 3000m after finishing 13th at the NCAA Indoor Championships. She also became the first Vandal women to qualify for the NCAA Cross Country Championships since 2004 and led the Vandal women to a second-consecutive WAC team title in cross country. She broke the Idaho and WAC all-time records in the 3000m during the season and also broke the WAC Championship meet record in the event. She won WAC crowns individually in the mile and 3000m at the WAC Indoor Championships and helped Idaho’s distance medley relay win with a WAC meet record. For her career, she is a six-time WAC champion, three-time NCAA qualifier, a 2012 Capital One Academic All-American and a two-time USTFCCCA Division I All-Academic selection. She is undefeated against non-Idaho WAC competition in her track and field career. Kiser is a double-major in Molecular Biology and Chemistry with a 4.00 GPA.

Kristine Leonard
Leonard was a 2012 NCAA qualifier in the discus throw. The junior from Rathdrum, Idaho, is a four-time All-WAC honoree who ranks in Idaho’s all-time outdoor top 10 in both the shot put and discus throw. She finished 40th at the NCAA West Preliminary in the discus with a throw of 147-1. Leonard earned First-Team All-WAC honors in 2012 with a third-place finish in the shot put and Second-Team honors with a fourth-place showing in the discus. She is a four-time WAC All-Academic selection who holds a 3.78 GPA in Studio Art.

Gabby Midles
Midles, a senior from Camas, Wash., is a three-time NCAA qualifier, three-time First-Team All-WAC honoree and a two-time WAC champion in the women’s hammer throw. She was the 2012 WAC runner-up in the hammer and took 34th in the hammer at the NCAA West Preliminary, despite being slowed by a back injury during the season. She was an NCAA finalist as a junior in 2011. For her career, Midles is a six-time All-WAC honoree and an eight-time WAC All-Academic selection. She finished her career this year as Idaho’s school record holder in the women’s hammer throw at 194-6. Midles is a Studio Art major with a 3.52 GPA.

Ellen Rouse
Rouse is a junior from Orofino, Idaho. She was an NCAA qualifier in the women’s javelin outdoors and finished 35th at the NCAA West Preliminary. She earned her first career First-Team All-WAC honor with a third-place finish at the WAC Outdoor Championships and has three career All-WAC honors to her name. Rouse ranks sixth all-time at Idaho in the javelin and is additionally a five-time WAC All-Academic honoree. She is an Exercise Science and Health major with a 3.79 cumulative GPA.

Liga Velvere
Velvere, a junior from Saldus, Latvia, won a pair of WAC titles and broke the Idaho 800m record indoors. She helped Idaho’s distance medley relay break the WAC Championship meet record during the indoor season and claimed the individual 800m title at the meet. She had the fastest outdoor 800m time and the second-fastest 400m hurdles time in the conference in 2012, but suffered a late knee injury and wasn’t able to compete at the conference championships. For her career, Velvere is a five-time WAC champion, seven-time All-WAC honoree, a four-time WAC All-Academic selection and a 2011 NCAA qualifier. She is an Exercise Science and Health major with a 3.67 cumulative GPA.

Jeremy Klas
Klas is from Moscow, Idaho. He is a three-time USTFCCCA All-American in the pole vault and also holds Idaho’s indoor school record in the event. He earned Second-Team All-America honors during the indoor season after tying for 11th at the NCAA Indoor Championships with a height of 17-4.5. Klas is a four-time WAC champion, including an unprecedented three-consecutive indoor pole vault crowns from 2010-12, and is a seven-time First-Team All-WAC honoree. He is also a two-time CoSIDA Academic All-District honoree. In addition to the indoor school record, he ranks second all-time outdoors in the event. He is the first and only Vandal men to qualify for the NCAA Championships indoors in the pole vault and the only non-thrower in Vandal history to qualify for the NCAA Championships three times in a row. He is a Computer Science major with a 3.57 cumulative GPA.

Mike Marshall
Marshall, a junior from Yakima, Wash., broke out in his second year with the team. A former walk-on, Marshall was a 2012 USTFCCCA Honorable Mention All-American in the men’s javelin after finishing 17th at the NCAA Outdoor Championships with a throw of 224-9. He claimed the WAC title in the event with a mark of 218-10 and finished 12th at the NCAA West Preliminary with a toss of 222-11. He set the Dan O’Brien Track Facility record in May with a career-best throw of 230-6, which also ranks third all-time at Idaho. He is a two-time All-WAC honoree and a two-time WAC All-Academic selection who holds a 3.61 GPA in Education.

Ugis Svazs
Svazs shined for Idaho in the men’s javelin in his first competitive season as a Vandal in 2012. He finished second behind Marshall in the javelin at the WAC Championships with a throw of 218-0 and qualified for the NCAA West Preliminary, where he took 14th with a best mark of 216-5. He moved into fourth all-time at Idaho in the event at the Duane Hartman Invitational in April with a career-best throw of 227-5. He is a 2012 WAC All-Academic honoree who holds a 3.50 GPA in Exercise Science and Health.
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