Track and field adds highly-decorated coach
Idaho director of track and field/cross country Wayne Phipps has added a collegiate national champion to his staff, as Allen Simms will join the program as a jumpers-specific coach. Simms was a national champion and All-American at Southern California from 2003-2005.
Simms wasn’t initially aware of the caliber of Idaho’s track and field program, but Olympic hurdler and Vandal alumna Angela Whyte conversed with Simms about the opportunity, one that Phipps is excited about.
“Allen was an amazing collegiate athlete at USC and went on to have an excellent post-collegiate career,” Phipps said. “He’s competed at world championship meets, so obviously he’s a guy who brings a lot of experience at the very highest level in college, and also the highest level internationally.”
Simms also represented the United States at the 2003 and 2005 World Outdoor Track and Field Championships and at the 2004 and 2006 World Indoor Track and Field Championships.
“It’s an honor to be at Idaho,” Simms said. “I want to give back to the sport, share my knowledge and help build conference and NCAA champions here.”
Western Athletic Conference honors Kiser, Rothwell
The Idaho track and field team has brought in more WAC Indoor Track and Field Athlete of the Week awards. This week, Idaho juniors Hannah Kiser and Kyle Rothwell were honored as the respective WAC Women’s and Men’s Athletes of the Week for their performances Saturday and Sunday at the Husky Classic. Kiser, a distance specialist from Wenatchee, Wash., broke the WAC all-time record in addition to the Idaho record in the women’s 3,000-meter race Saturday in Seattle. Kiser’s time of nine minutes, four seconds was good enough for fourth place at the Husky Classic and is fifth-best in the NCAA this season. Her current lead in the conference is up to more than 40 seconds. Rothwell set a career best in the weight throw for the third time in four weekends, launching a throw of 62-10 (19.5m), also a WAC-best thus far. The Eagle, Idaho, native has yet to lose in a weight throw competition this season and took home his first career athlete of the week award.
Mortellaro kicks off Australian Open
After qualifying for the LPGA Tour in the fall, former Idaho standout Kayla Mortellaro is one over par in her first LPGA event, the ISPS Handa Australian Open hosted at the Royal Canberra Golf Club. The two-time WAC champion shot a 74 in the first round of the Australian Open after bogeying three of her first four holes. Mortellaro was two-under through the next 14 holes and finished in a tie for 99th place. The Arizona native sits 11 strokes behind tournament leader Lydia Ko, and would need to pick up two strokes to have a shot at advancing to the final two rounds of the tournament. With a $1.2 million purse, Mortellaro was slightly inconsistent during first-round play. She hit eight greens and 10 of 14 fairways in regulation while needing 26 putts.
Idaho football hosts walk-on tryouts
The football team will be hosting walk-on tryouts Tuesday, Feb. 26 at 4 p.m. Tryouts are open to all University of Idaho students, who are in good standing with the university and NCAA eligible. Students are required to report to the training room at 4 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 21, with an insurance card, where they will fill out paperwork with head athletic trainer Barrie Steele. Those with questions should contact running backs coach and recruiting coordinator Jason Shumaker at firstname.lastname@example.org.