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Locally: University of Idaho announces 2018 Hall of Fame class

UPDATED: Sat., July 7, 2018

Idaho football coach Dennis Erickson gets his first look at the Washington State Cougars in an undated file photo. (Chris Anderson / Cowles Publishing)
Idaho football coach Dennis Erickson gets his first look at the Washington State Cougars in an undated file photo. (Chris Anderson / Cowles Publishing)
From staff and wire reports

The University of Idaho is indelibly etched on Dennis Erickson’s football coaching resumè. Now his name will be permanently inscribed in the hallowed halls in Moscow.

Erickson, who had two stops at Idaho in a highly successful 47-year journey that included two national championships and a couple of stints in the National Football League, headlines the 2018 class of nine that will be inducted into the Vandals Athletics Hall of Fame on Sept. 7.

Joining him will be six former athletes - Emily Faurholt (women’s basketball), Allix Lee-Painter (women’s track and field/cross country), Kayla Mortellaro (women’s golf), Don Newman (men’s basketball), Melinda Owen (women’s track and field) and Chelsea Small (women’s soccer) – and contributors Howard and Tere Foley.

This will be the fourth biennial induction since the inaugural class of 102 was enshrined over two years in 2007-08. The evening at the Bruce M. Pitman Center, open to the public, will include a steak and shrimp dinner for $60. More information and tickets are available at

The 2018 inductees:

Dennis Erickson (football coach, 1982-85, 2006): His first collegiate head coaching job and another a decade later produced a 36-23 record, two Big Sky Championships, Coach of the Year awards and berths in the NCAA I-AA playoffs (all 1982 and ’85). His .610 winning percentage is No. 3 in school history.

He went on to win two national championships at Miami (1989, 1991), two National Coach of the Year Awards (1992, 2000) from The Sporting News and spent six years coaching in the NFL with the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers. He’s on the 2019 College Football Hall of Fame ballot.

And while it appeared he retired on Dec. 30, 2016, he’s not done coaching just yet. He was named head coach of the Salt Lake City franchise in the four-team, start-up professional Alliance of American Football league that will begin in January.

Emily Faurholt (women’s basketball, 2004-06): NCAA Division I scoring champion in 2003-04 with a 25.4 average, earning her AP All-America honorable mention. Her 1,939 points are No. 2 in school history and 22.0 average is No. 1. Only Big West Player of the Year in school history (2003-04) and two-time All-Big West scoring champion and all-league first team (‘03-04, ‘04-05).

Allix Lee-Painter (track & field/cross country, 2005-10): Five-time WAC champion who led Idaho to 2005 and ’07 cross country titles. Was named outstanding WAC indoor (2009) and outdoor (2010) track performer. A two-time Academic All-American and 2010 Idaho women’s recipient of WAC’s Stan Bates Award that goes to school’s top female and male scholar-athlete.

Kayla Mortellaro (women’s golf, 2009-12): Was three-time WAC Player of the Year, two-time WAC champion and the only four-time NCAA Regionals qualifier in school history. She was a two-time Golfweek/NGCA All-America honorable mention and three-time NGCA Scholar All-American. Had 10 wins (tied for No. 8 in NCAA history) and 31 top-10 finishes (tied for No. 3).

Don Newman (men’s basketball, 1979-80): Two-time All-Big Sky and 1980 league MVP finished with 281 assists, No. 6 in school history despite playing just two seasons. Drafted No. 69 overall by Boston Celtics in 1980 he played three seasons in CBA. Despite not playing college football, he spent six seasons in CFL and on NFL practice squads. Had successful basketball coaching career in high school, college and the NBA.

Melinda Owen (track & field, 2004-08): Was six-time WAC champion indoors and outdoors in pole vault and was 2007 NCAA Indoor All-American after finishing fifth. Was the national outdoor leader in 2008 before suffering an injury just before the NCAA Championships but still placed. Holds school indoor and outdoor records and WAC outdoor record. A 2008 Academic All-American.

Chelsea Small (women’s soccer, 2009-12): Three-time NSCAA All-West Region (one second, two third teams), three-time All-WAC first team, she was conference Freshman of the Year (2009) and Player of the Year (2010) when she scored a school-record 13 goals. Has school records of 39 goals, 91 points and 16 game-winning goals. Two-time Academic All-American.

Howard and Tere Foley (contributors): Honored for long-term commitment of support. Howard was instrumental in building the West Ada County Chapter of the Vandal Scholarship Fund, recruiting members and “helping with every event imaginable,” the school release said.


Dean Smith, a member of the Spokane Basketball Officials since 2002, has been named 2018 Boys Basketball Official of the Year by the Washington Officials Association.

Smith, a member of the Snohomish association from 1997-2001, has been on the WOA basketball rules committee for five years and is the SBO training director.

He will be honored during the annual WOA Awards dinner on Aug. 3 in Yakima.

Cody Bench, who has head coaching experience, and Nakia Arquette, who is transitioning into a new role, have joined the staff of Eastern Washington women’s coach Wendy Schuller.

Bench comes to Cheney after serving last season as an assistant at Wenatchee Valley College following seven seasons as head coach at her alma mater, Alaska Fairbanks. Arquette, who helped lead Lewis and Clark to the 2011 State 4A championship as a junior, was the Eagles’ graduate assistant in 2017-18 following an injury-plagued playing career at Utah.

Bench, a Leavenworth, Washington, native, led the Great Northwest Athletic Conference in scoring from 2003 to 2005 and still holds conference and school scoring records. After a couple of stops as an assistant, she took over the Nanooks in 2010 and saw them improve from a one-win season to averaging 13 wins during her final three years.

Arquette, who assisted in the day-to-day operations for the Eagles last season, is pursuing her Master’s degree in education literacy at Eastern. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Utah, where she was a member of the women’s basketball team for four years. She appeared in 60 games but was hampered by multiple knee injuries.

College scene

Record-breaking football quarterback Luke Falk and two-time NCAA track and field All-American Alissa Brooks-Johnson were named 2017-18 Pac-12 Tom Hansen Conference Medal recipients for Washington State.

A conference medal, named for the former commissioner who retired in 2009 after 26 years, is awarded annually to each member school’s outstanding senior male and female student-athlete based on achievement in scholastics, athletics and leadership.

Falk, from Logan, Utah, won a school-record 27 games in 40 starts during his career and set Pac-12 career records for passing yards (14,486), total offense (14,086) and passing touchdowns (119). He was a three-time All-Pac-12 and Pac-12 All-Academic honoree, the 2017 Burlsworth Trophy winner as the nation’s top former walk-on and was MVP of the 2015 Sun Bowl.

Brooks-Johnson, from Doty, Washington, was a three-time Pac-12 heptathlon champion, twice an All-American in the heptathlon and pentathlon and holds WSU Top 10 marks in four events. A double major, she was a two-time Pac-12 All-Academic honoree and a USTFCCCA All-Academic team selection.

• Four sports were represented when 2017-18 Big Sky Conference Scholar-Athlete of the Year Awards were passed out to seniors judged the best of the best for their athletic and academic achievements at Eastern Washington and Idaho.

Eastern recipients were a pair of MVPs and all-time scoring leaders – Bogdan Bliznyuk in men’s basketball and Chloe Williams in women’s soccer.

Idaho awards went to men’s tennis record-setter Mark Kovacs and women’s basketball player Nejra Solo.

Bliznyuk was the 2017-18 Big Sky MVP when he scored a school-record 741 points to put the finishing touches on a conference-record 2,169 career points and earn AP All-America honorable mention. The four-time Big Sky All-Academic selection graduated with a degree in management and with a 3.23 GPA.

Williams, a 2014 Lewis and Clark graduate, was a three-time Big Sky MVP who had 12 goals and three assists her senior year and was named to the NCAA Division I Women’s All-West Region team. She finished her career with school and Big Sky record totals of 44 goals and 21 assists. The four-time Big Sky All-Academic selection graduated with a 3.65 GPA in exercise science.

Kovacs was a five-time All-Big Sky performer, gaining first-team honors in both singles and doubles as a junior and senior when he led the Vandals to back-to-back titles. He’s the UI record holder with 97 singles victories. A double-major, he posted a perfect 4.0 GPA in his final semester to graduate Cum Laude with a cumulative GPA of 3.69.

Solo shot 55.9 percent from the field her senior year and finished her career with the fifth-best field goal percentage in school history, 52.6 percent. She earned a bachelor’s degree in molecular biology in the spring of 2017 with a 3.82 GPA. As a graduate student in 2017-18, she posted a 4.0 GPA through two semesters working on a master’s degree in plant pathology.

Domonique Garley, who will be a senior at Gonzaga this fall, won the championship of the International Tennis Association Summer Circuit stop in Tyler, Texas, last week.

Garley dropped just one set as the No. 1 seed in posting four victories. After losing the first set 6-1 to the No. 6 seed in the championship match, she proceeded to win 6-3 and took the third set in a tiebreaker 10-4.

• has named Washington State redshirt senior Ella Dederick as one of the top-10 goalkeepers in the country in its preseason list of players to watch in 2018.

Last season Dederick led the Cougars into the third round of the NCAA Tournament, posting a shutout over No. 8 Central Florida in the first round and collecting a shootout win over No. 20 Tennessee in the second round.

Her 11 shutouts were second in WSU history, the second most in the Pac-12 and ninth in Division I and earned her a spot on the All-Pac-12 third team. She played for the U23 U.S. Women’s National Team and earned a 1-0 shutout over the professional Chicago Redstars.

• Spokane’s Kelly Hooper at Montana State was joined by four student-athletes at Eastern Washington and three each at Washington State and Idaho who were named All-American Scholars by the Women’s Golf Coaches Association with GPAs of 3.5 or better.

Hooper, a sophomore from Gonzaga Prep, was honored for a second time by the WGCA.

Eastern senior Kirsten Ishikawa (3.88 GPA) and junior Kimberlie Miyamota (3.85) were honored for a third straight year, sophomore Madalyn Ardueser (3.77) picked up a second and freshman Alexa Clark (3.81) earned her first.

WSU’s Alivia Brown, Madison Odiorne and Elodie Bridenne were recognized together for a second straight year.

For Brown, it was the fourth straight season she earned the WGCA’s top academic honor. She graduated in May with a degree in business management and a 3.60 GPA. Odiorne earned her third straight WGCA award while it was the second for Bridenne.

Idaho’s Kendall Gray also was a WGCA Scholar All-American all four years of her career and was joined by Michelle Kim for the second time and Laura Gerner, who received her first. Gray, who has a 3.97 GPA, will serve as an undergraduate assistant coach with the Vandals next season as she completes her degree in mechanical engineering.


Cassidy Wilson of the Spokane Junior Rifle Club finished second, claiming the silver medal in the 2018 National 3-Position Air Rifle Junior Olympic Championships late last month at Camp Perry, Ohio.

Wilson, 17, who is home schooled, shot 592 out of 600 to advance to the finals and wound up with a 695.3 score to the 697.2 for the national champion.

Four other SJRC members also were among 285 competitors in the national championships. Taylor Christian, 16, Spokane Valley Tech, finished 79th (shooting 581); Mason Maystrovich, 17, Northwest Christian, 114th (577); Zachary Pearsall, 16, home school, 177th (570); and Ben Tafoya, 15, Gonzaga Prep, 261st (551).

Wilson, Christian, Maystrovich and Pearsall were on SJRC gold team that placed 11th out of 55 teams with a score of 2,320.


Alaysia Lane from Plymouth, Minnesota, will transfer to Gonzaga to continue her career after playing her freshman season at Rutgers.

A forward who had three goals and an assist in 17 matches for the Scarlet Knights in 2017, Lane will have to sit out the 2018 season under NCAA transfer rules and will be eligible in 2019 with three years of eligibility remaining.


Paytland Schnell of Hayden finished first in the 7/8 softball division and KayLee Kolden of Post Falls was second in the 9/10 softball division of the Seattle Mariners’ team championship of Major League Baseball’s Pitch, Hit & Run competition last Sunday.

Schnell’s score was submitted for comparison with the division winners from other MLB team finals but was not among the top three so does not advance to the national finals July 16 in Washington, D.C., before the MLB All-Star Game Home Run Derby.

Kolden had won the 7/8 division in the Mariners’ team finals in 2016.


Spokane will be the site of the 2018 Pan Am Taekwondo Championships July 12-15 at the Spokane Convention Center with competition in senior, open and para open divisions.

The four-day Pan Am Taekwondo Union event is expected to draw more than 1,000 athletes from more than 30 countries with competitors trying to earn points to improve their world rankings for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, 2019 Lima Pan Am Games and Para Pan Am Games.

Tickets - $15 for adults, $10 for ages 6-12 - will be available at the door. Five and under are free.

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