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Eagles football, January win big at SWABs awards

Indiana Fever guard Briann January (20) (Associated Press)
Indiana Fever guard Briann January (20) (Associated Press)

EWU team garners 3 awards, while LC grad SWAB pro athlete of year

In the 66th year of voting by the Inland Northwest Sportswriter and Broadcasters, Eastern Washington’s football national semifinalists swept three honors and ex-Lewis and Clark basketball star broke the glass ceiling.

Annually, beginning in 1948, the area media have recognized the accomplishments locally and nationally of area athletes, teams and coaches.

January becomes the first female to be named Professional Athlete of the Year.

The 2005 LC graduate last year was instrumental in the Indiana Fever’s WNBA championship.

She averaged 10.3 points during the regular season, but upped those numbers during the playoffs and was particularly valuable on defense leading to the Fever’s title.

January was a four-year standout at LC and led the Tigers to three straight state tournaments where they brought home two trophies. She played collegiately at Arizona State before being drafted into the WNBA and also playing overseas.

Amateur Male Athlete of the year is EWU’s record-setting receiver Brandon Kaufman.

He broke school, Big Sky and FCS records last year with 1,850 yards on 93 catches while scoring 16 touchdowns.

Named to numerous All-America teams and headed to the NFL scouting combine, Kaufman amassed 3,731 yards and 225 catches during a career that saw the Eagles win a national championship in 2010 and top-four FCS finish last fall.

Eastern won Team of the Year after sharing the Big Sky championship and compiling an 11-3 record while reaching the NCAA’s tourney semifinals.

And for the second time in three years, the Eagles Beau Baldwin is Coach of the Year.

Amateur Female Athlete of the Year is Gonzaga University’s Kayla Standish. The All-America nominee averaged 16.4 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocks for the Bulldogs, who compiled a 28-6 record and reached the Sweet 16 of the NCAA women’s basketball tournament.