Courtesy: Idaho Athletic Media Relations
|Alumni Awards for Excellence|
MOSCOW, Idaho – Every year, the University of Idaho honors the top 10 percent of its senior class with Alumni Awards for Excellence and for 2012-13, five Vandal student-athletes were recognized in that select group.
Janelle Chow of the volleyball team, Kelsie Saxe of the swim & dive team and soccer players Jill Flockhart, Lauren Layton and Chelsea Small were recognized with the awards, which are given to approximately 40 students annually “who have achieved outstanding academic success and have demonstrated career and professional preparation; campus and community leadership and involvement.”
At least two student-athletes have been honored with the awards every year since 2007, but this year’s five selections are the most in a single year.
“We have high expectations that our student-athletes will excel in their sport and the classroom,” Idaho director of athletics Rob Spear said. “This is another example of the quality of our student-athletes and their commitment to excellence.”
Chow is a libero on the volleyball team from Mercer Island, Wash. (Mercer Island HS). She earned Western Athletic Conference All-Tournament Team honors last week after helping to lead the Vandal women into their first appearance in the WAC Championship match. She finished the season ranked third in the WAC in digs per set (4.59) and ninth in service aces per set (0.23).
Her 559 digs this season were second-most in Idaho single-season history, while her 1,064 career digs rank sixth all-time at Idaho. Chow ranked second on the team in 2012 with 24 service aces and held serve as the Vandal women fought off three straight match points in the fifth game of the WAC semifinal to win and advance to the title game.
“It’s pretty amazing what she has been able to do in her time in college,” said Idaho volleyball coach Debbie Buchanan. “She only sleeps like four hours a day. She has three different jobs. She is involved in so many things. In my 13 years at Idaho I don’t think I’ve ever had a player as involved in as many things as Janelle and she stays on top of everything.”
Chow is an Exercise Science and Health major who holds a 3.59 cumulative grade-point average. She is a two-time WAC All-Academic honoree who is due to graduate in May.
“She always has a smile on her face and is always bouncing around,” Buchanan said. “She has formed a lot of relationships on campus and in the community based on how outgoing she is.”
Flockhart is an outside midfielder from Salmon Arm, British Columbia (Salmon Arm Secondary), for the Vandal soccer team. She is a three-time All-WAC selection, with a pair of First-Team picks in 2010 and 2011. She also was honored in 2011 as a National Soccer Coaches Association of America Third-Team All-West Region pick. She ended her career in 2012 ranked second all-time at Idaho with 17 career assists. She also ranks third all-time in game-winning goals (5) and fourth in career points (35).
She played in and started 83 consecutive games at Idaho – every Vandal game since 2009 – both school records that she shares with three teammates.
“It’s great when an international student gets recognition, because the school system here is a little different and there is an adjustment period,” Idaho head soccer coach Peter Showler said. “For Jill to be able to do that and receive this type of accolade along with everything she’s done on the pitch, gives her just rewards. She’s done a fantastic job of balancing everything and performing so well all around.”
Flockhart in an International Studies major with an emphasis on Global Development and a focus on Latin America. She is a three-time WAC All-Academic honoree and a 2011 NSCAA Second-Team Scholar All-Region honoree who holds a 3.85 cumulative GPA. She plans to study abroad next year and continue her playing career through Soccer Without Borders.
Layton is a defender on the soccer team from Spokane, Wash. (Mead HS). She was voted Most Inspirational Player by her teammates in 2011 and was a 2010 Second-Team All-WAC honoree. She finished her career ranked third all-time in career assists with 15.
In addition to her soccer exploits, Layton took an ASUI Service Break trip to Africa during her junior year, after which she returned to Idaho and founded a campus chapter of Love146, an organization that raises awareness and supports efforts to end child trafficking and exploitation around the world.
“Running a club is like a full-time job,” Showler said. “Balancing that with soccer and school, while keeping the GPA she has is indicative of her commitment to doing as well as she can in everything she does.
Doing all of this on top of her overseas quests is just a phenomenal achievement. She embodies the true student-athlete and she is a very good ambassador for the University of Idaho.”
Layton is a three-time WAC All-Academic honoree, a 2010 CoSIDA Second-Team Academic All-District honoree and 2011 NSCAA Honorable Mention Scholar All-West Region pick. She will graduate in May with a degree in International Studies, with an emphasis in international relations and an area focus on Africa.
Saxe is a swimmer from Verong, Wis. (James Madison Memorial HS) who specializes in the breaststroke and individual medley at Idaho. She holds Idaho’s school records in the 100- and 200- yard breakstrokes and is a member of Idaho’s school-record 200-yard and 400-yard medley relays. She ranks in the top 10 in Idaho history in both the 200 IM and the 100 butterfly.
This season as a senior team captain, she helped lead the Vandal women to the program’s first dual-meet victory over Northern Arizona.
“Kelsie is one of the finest young ladies I have ever have had the pleasure to work with,” said Idaho head swimming coach Mark Sowa. “She is a thoughtful leader who seeks out teammates who may be struggling and helps them in the right direction. Her motivation as a student is evident in how she carries herself and the pride she takes in being a Vandal. She is very much deserving of such an honor."
Saxe is a Public Relations major with a 3.93 cumulative GPA who will graduate in May. She is a three-time WAC All-Academic honoree and last season helped the women’s team earn a Collegiate Swimming Coaches of America Scholar All-America Team honor.
Small is a forward on the soccer team from Solana Beach, Calif. (Torrey Pines HS), who ended her career in November as Idaho’s all-time scoring leader. She holds Idaho program records for both single-season and career goals, points, game-winners and shots. She also shares the program record games played and started at 83. She finished her career with 39 goals, 13 assists, 91 points and 16 game-winners on 404 shots. Small ended her career ranked in the top 10 in WAC history in career goals, points and shots.
“It’s a culmination of everything she’s put together over her four years here,” Showler said of Small’s honor. “The minute she stepped on campus, she’s gone from strength to strength, both on the pitch and in her academics.”
Small is a four-time First-Team All-WAC honoree (the first in school history) and a two-time NSCAA All-West Region pick. She was the 2009 WAC Freshman of the Year and the 2010 WAC Offensive Player of the Year. She was a three-time WAC Offensive Player of the Week and a three-time all-tournament team selection.
Her academic honors match her athletics ones. She’s a three-time CoSIDA First-Team Academic All-District honoree, a 2010 Second-Team Academic All-American, a 2011 NSCAA First-Team Scholar All-West Region honoree, in addition to three WAC All-Academic honors.
“She has multiple accolades in soccer, and it’s always nice to see her getting these academic awards to back up that she is a true student-athlete,” Showler said. “She embodies and typifies that title and she’s fully deserving of everything she gets.”