Every third Thursday of each month, Idaho Director of Athletics Dr. Rob Spear will post a new blog entry directed towards Vandal fans. Dr. Spear will use these monthly communiqués to set the record straight and talk to you – Vandal to Vandal..
An archive of previous blog entries can be accessed here.
What a year it has been! This has easily been our most successful year since we have been a member of the Western Athletic Conference. From a competitive standpoint 14 of our 16 teams placed in the top third of conference standings which resulted in a second-place finish in the WAC’s Commissioner’s Cup.
Our three conference championships in women’s cross country, men’s indoor track and men’s outdoor track led the way and were the most since we joined the WAC. The WAC awards its Commissioner's Cup to the school that performs the best in each of the conference's 19 men's and women's championships. Points are awarded in order of finish, equal to the number of teams that participate in each sport and are averaged between a team’s regular season finish (if applicable) and its WAC championship finish. We also had our first ever Joe Kearny award winner when Andrew Blaser received the Joe Kearney awarded to the best male and female athlete in the WAC.
Academically we continue to excel with two of our student-athletes, Kayla Mortellaro and Markus Geiger, winning the Stan Bates award. It marks the second time in three years that Idaho student-athletes have swept the awards, which are named in honor of former WAC commissioner Stan Bates and recognizes the recipient’s athletic, academic and community accomplishments. After its two honorees for 2011-12, Idaho now has eight total Stan Bates Award recipients, which is the most by any WAC school since the award was established in 1981. In addition, eight of our teams: men’s and women’s track & field; men’s and women’s cross country; men’s and women’s tennis; women’s swimming and diving; and women’s volleyball received team academic recognition. Speaking of volleyball it is the second consecutive year they were recognized by the American Volleyball Coaches Association for maintaining at least a 3.30 cumulative team grade-point average on a 4.0 scale. Volleyball was also recognized by the NCAA by receiving the Public Recognition Award, which is given each year to teams with Academic Progress Rates in the top 10 percent in each sport.
Individually this past year, 179 out of our 325 student-athletes were named to the All WAC Academic Team which represents 56 percent of student-athletes. To be considered for the honor, a student-athlete must have completed at least one year at the school, participated in at least 50 percent of his or her team’s contests and hold a minimum 3.00 cumulative grade-point average.
Finally two of our student-athletes were named to the Academic All-American teams. Hannah Kiser was named to the Capital One Academic All-America Second Team and has a 4.0 cumulative grade-point average as a double-major in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology. Alyssa Charlston was honored as a third-team Capital One Academic All-American by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA. Alyssa also maintains a 4.0 GPA in broadcasting and digital media.
Congratulations to our coaches and student-athletes who have made this a successful year.