With the Seattle University athletic teams about to begin play within their new conference, starting with the volleyball team hosting New Mexico State Thursday, Sept. 13, at the Connolly Center, GoSeattleU.com is featuring a series of 10 articles introducing Redhawk fans to the 2012-13 membership of the Western Athletic Conference. This is the eighth in the series of stories about the current WAC schools.
The University of Idaho is a public research institution established in 1889 in Moscow, Idaho. The school has an enrollment of over 11,000 and offers bachelor's, graduate, and doctoral degrees in 142 programs. Famous alumnae of the University of Idaho include Commandant of the US Marine Corps General James Amos, former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin, former collegiate basketball coach Hec Edmundson, and current NFL coach Tom Cable.
The University of Idaho offers 14 varsity sports: six men's sports and eight women's. All 14 squads are known as the Vandals, and the athletic department's colors are officially gold and silver, although the teams often use black in place of silver on uniforms. The Vandals have been members of the Western Athletic Conference since 2005, when they joined from the Big West conference in 13 sports and from the Sun Belt Conference in football.
The Idaho women's cross country squad is coming off two consecutive WAC titles and five top-five performances in 2011. Hannah Kiser led the squad, earning a berth in the NCAA Championship meet, finishing 85th. The men's squad finished third in the WAC at the 2011 conference meet and added two second-place finishes over five meets. The team graduated eight seniors, none of them bigger than Markus Geiger, who never finished below fourth in three WAC Championship meets. Ninth-year head coach Wayne Phipps and his Vandal runners will first meet the Seattle U cross country program at the Sundodger Invitational Saturday, Sept. 15 at Lincoln Park in Seattle. The WAC Cross Country Championships will be held Sat., Oct. 27 in Ruston, La.
The Idaho men's golf team gathered seven top-five finishes during the 2011-12 season, including wins at the Jim Colbert Intercollegiate Oct. 3-4 and the Jackrabbit Invitational March 12-13. Senior Jarred Bossio was the team's top performer, finishing with a stroke average of 71.44 and winning medalist honors twice over the course of the season. Head coach John Means is entering his third year at the helm of Idaho men's golf, and he and the rest of the Vandals will first compete against Redhawk golfers Sept. 23-24 at the Dash Thomas Memorial in Boise, Idaho.
The Idaho volleyball team went 16-12 last season, compiling a 10-4 record in WAC play. Then-sophomore Allison Walker led the team in kills, earning 407 in 2011, while junior Jennifer Feicht racked up 898 assists and 25 aces, both team highs. Defensively, senior Cassie Hamilton was the team's main libero and earned 446 digs while junior Alex Sele and redshirt freshman Alyssa Schultz tallied 107 and 105 blocks respectively. The squad, directed by 12th year head coach Debbie Buchanan, has a 2-7 record in 2012 as of Sept. 9, earning wins over Montana and Washington State. The Vandals will travel to Seattle and take on the Redhawks in the Connolly Center Fri., Oct. 5, and will host Seattle U Sat., Nov. 3.
In 2011, the Idaho women's soccer team put together an 8-10-3 record, going 3-3-1 in conference play. Then-junior Chelsea Small scored 10 goals, twice as many as the next-highest Vandal, while fellow junior Jill Flockhart provided six assists. Junior Caroline Towles saw the most time in goal, playing in 12 games and making 67 saves en route to a 5-6-1 record. In 2012 the squad is off to a 2-5 start as of Sept. 9 with wins over South Dakota and North Dakota State. Coached by seventh-year head coach Peter Showler, Idaho will square off against Seattle U Sun. Oct. 7 at Championship Field in Seattle.
The Idaho swim team compiled a 3-4-1 record in dual meets throughout the 2011-12 season and took seventh at the conference meet in February. Last season saw 11 new school records, four of them coming from then-freshman Rachel Millet. She set marks in the 50, 100, and 200 free and 100 fly and helped set two relay records as well. Fellow sophomore Lindsay Williams set school records in the 200 and 400 individual medley, and junior Kelsie Saxe swam record-breaking times in the 100 and 200 breast. Second-year coach Mark Sowa will head the swim team again in 2012-13, and the Vandals will host the Redhawks' women's swim team Sat., Oct. 13 in Moscow. The two squads will meet again at the WAC Championships Wed., Feb. 27 to Sun., March 3.
Idaho's men's basketball team tallied a 19-14 overall record in 2011-12, going 9-5 in the WAC and recording two victories over Seattle U. Center Kyle Barone and guard Deremy Geiger led the squad in scoring, averaging 12.9 points per game, while Barone also added 8.0 rebounds every contest. Guard Landon Tatum dished out 155 assists and tallied 29 steals throughout the year, and Barone added 50 blocks over 33 games. Geiger and Tatum graduated after the season, but Barone will return for his senior year in 2012-13. Headed by fourth-year coach Don Verlin, the Vandals will visit KeyArena Sat., Dec. 29 and will host the Redhawks in Moscow, Idaho Sat., March 9.
The Idaho women's basketball team put together a 12-20 record in the 2011-12 season, going 6-8 in WAC play and falling to the Redhawks 72-80 Jan. 5 in Seattle. The Vandals were led by sophomore guard Alyssa Charlston, who averaged 14.5 points and 8.8 rebounds per contest. Point guard Krissy Karr dished out 115 assists over the year, while guard Keri Arendse and post player Ashley Walters spearheaded the team's defense with 45 steals and 47 blocked shots respectively. All but Arendse will return for the 2012-13 season and will play under fourth-year head coach Jon Newlee. The Vandals will host the Redhawks Sat., Dec. 29 in Moscow, Idaho, and make the return trip to the Connolly Center Sat. March 9.
The Idaho women's golf team tallied two top-5 finishes during the 2011-12 season and finished sixth at the WAC Championship in Mesa, Ariz. Senior Kayla Mortellaro won three tournaments -including the WAC Championship-and added five other top-10 finishes, earning WAC Player of the Year honors at the end of the season. The top returner for the Vandals is Junior Rachel Choi, who notched one top-10 finish in 2011-12 and averaged 78.57 strokes per round. Led by sixth-year head coach Lisa Johnson, the Vandals will first encounter SU golfers at the Dr. Dennis Thompson Invitational in Kaneohe, Hawaii March 12-13.
The Idaho men's tennis program is coming off a 14-14 campaign, going 3-2 in WAC play and claiming a 6-1 victory over Seattle U Jan. 21. Then-junior Marius Cirstea spent most of the year at No. 1 singles, going 6-13 in the top spot. Senior Alan Shin compiled the best dual record for the Vandals, notching a 13-10 record in the Nos. 3-6 spots in the lineup. The Vandals did not have set doubles partners for most of the year, but freshman Cristobal Ramos Salazar put together a doubles record of 13-8 with a number of partners, the best doubles record on the team. Coached by seventh-year head coach Jeff Beaman, the University of Idaho men's tennis team is slated to take on Seattle U Sat., Feb. 23 in Seattle.
Idaho's women's tennis team tallied an 18-7 record in 2011-12, going 3-1 in the WAC and beating Seattle U 6-1 Jan. 27. Then-sophomore Victoria Lozano played all but one dual match at No. 1 singles, going 16-8 in the top spot. Fellow sophomore Almundena Sanz also had a successful year, racking up 18 victories-all but one in the second singles position-and just seven losses. Lozano and Sanz teamed up to form one of the squad's most formidable doubles pairs, going 10-4 at No. 1 doubles. Lozano also went 8-2 at No. 1 doubles with help from Beatriz Flores, also a sophomore in 2011-12. The head coach of the Idaho women's tennis team is seventh-year head coach Jeff Beaman, and the Vandals will host the Seattle U women's tennis squad Fri., April 12 in Moscow, Idaho.
Track and Field
The Idaho women's track and field squad took second in both the WAC Indoor and Outdoor Championships in 2012. Then-sophomore Hannah Kiser won two individual championships in the Mile and 3,000m runs, and ran as part of the Distance Medley Relay team that took first as well. Senior Erica Digby also won three championships in 2012, the first one in the indoor season as part of the Distance Medley Relay and the other two coming in the Outdoor season's 1500m and 5,000m runs. Idaho's men's track and field squad won both Indoor and Outdoor WAC Championships in 2012, coming out ahead in 17 championship events. Then-senior Andrew Blaser led the way for the Vandals, winning five individual WAC Championships over the two seasons, including the heptathlon in the Indoor Championship meet and the decathlon in the Outdoor meet. Fellow senior Josh Dalton also won multiple indoor titles, winning the 800m individually and helping the 4x400m relay and Distance Medley relay teams take first as well. The WAC Track and Field Championship meet will take place May 8-11 in Arlington, Texas.
The University of Idaho also sponsors football, a WAC sport not seen at Seattle U. Idaho does not offer men's swimming, baseball, and softball, which are both Seattle U- and WAC-sponsored sports, and women's rowing and men's soccer, which are sponsored by Seattle U but not the WAC.
2012 marks Seattle University's first year in the Western Athletic Conference and first year as a full NCAA Division I member since 1980. For current information on these events and other Seattle University athletics news, visit GoSeattleU.com.