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Posted: Friday, May 24, 2013 12:00 am

Award winners announced

at NIC athletics banquet

COEUR d'ALENE - The winners of this year's North Idaho College athletics awards were announced during the annual NIC Athletics Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Banquet held earlier this month.

The award recipients were nominated and selected by the NIC coaching staff.

The Women's Academic Athlete of the Year is women's soccer player Callie Martin, a sophomore from Bozeman, Mont. Martin started every game of her Cardinal career, scoring 12 goals with eight assists. She has a 3.95 GPA and will be attending Montana State to pursue a degree in accounting.

The Men's Academic Athlete of the Year is wrestler Jarrett Morrill, a sophomore from Logan, Utah. Morrill, is an NJCAA Academic All-American with a perfect 4.0 GPA as a business major. In addition Morrill was also a two-time All-American on the mat, finishing third in the nation this season and helping NIC win the national title.

The Women's Athlete of the Year is women's basketball player Yang Yang, a sophomore from Yong An, China. Yang was selected NJCAA second-team All-American and to the NJCAA all-tournament team after leading the Cardinals to an eighth-place national finish. She led the Scenic West Athletic Conference in kills and blocks and was ranked fourth in the nation in kills per set. She will attend Rocky Mountain College in Billings, Mont., to continue her volleyball career.

The Men's Athlete of the Year is wrestler Ryan Zumwalt, a sophomore from Spokane. Zumwalt was last year's winner of the NIC Scholar-Athlete Award and is a two-time NJCAA All-American. He returned from a season-long leg injury to win the Region 18 championship for his weight class, and was the 165-pound NJCAA national runner-up this season. Zumwalt will be competing at St. Cloud State in Minnesota next season on a wrestling scholarship.

North Idaho Title was honored as the NIC Booster Member of the Year.

Four Vandal football players on pre-season All-Independent team

Idaho center Mike Marboe is one of four Vandals chosen to Phil Steele's College Football Preseason All-Independent team.

Marboe, who earlier this week was announced as a member of the Rimington Watch List for the second successive season, is a first-team All-Independent choice.

Joining him are second-team selection Solomon Dixon, a sophomore cornerback, and third-team choices Najee Lovett (senior receiver) and Maxx Forde (junior defensive end).

The All-Independent team includes players from Idaho, Notre Dame, Old Dominion, BYU, Army, Navy and New Mexico State.

Marboe, from Wenatchee, Wash., has started 24 consecutive games and is a two-time Rimington Watch List choice.

Dixon, from Honolulu, led the Vandals with three interceptions as a redshirt freshman last season. He played in all 12 games and started four in totaling 36 total tackles (27 solo and nine assists). He also had three pass breakups.

Lovett, from Berkeley, Calif., joined the Vandals last season and was Idaho's' second-leading receiver with 50 receptions for 543 yards and a team-best six touchdowns.

Forde, from Woodinville, Wash., had 37 total tackles (18 solo and 19 assists) with four sacks and five tackles for loss along with four hurries and four pass breakups. He also saw significant action as a redshirt freshman in 2011.

The Vandals, playing as an independent for the second time in school history, open the season at North Texas on Aug. 31 in Denton, Texas.

Vandal women invited

to preseason WNIT

The Idaho women's basketball team is one of 16 selected for the 2013 Preseason Women's National Invitation Tournament this November.

"It shows the level of respect we're getting around the country," said coach Jon Newlee, whose young team won the 2012-13 Western Athletic Conference title and advanced to the first round of the NCAA Tournament against eventual champion Connecticut. "They like to pick those up-and-coming teams - teams that are on the rise, or the teams that have accomplished a lot."

Joining the Vandals in the tournament are Georgia State, Gonzaga, IPFW, Louisville, Loyola Chicago, LSU, Mount St. Mary's, North Carolina A&T, Oklahoma, Quinnipiac, Saint Joseph's, Stephen F. Austin, Stetson, Tennessee-Martin and Wichita State.

The tournament begins with first-round games on Nov. 8, second-round action Nov. 10-11, and the semifinal games Nov. 14. The championship game is Nov. 17. All schools are guaranteed three games so those that lose in the first two rounds will play consolation games Nov. 15-16. Participating schools will serve as the hosts. The championship will be broadcast live on CBS Sports Network.

"We're thrilled to be in the preseason NIT and the respect that it is showing us," Newlee said. "You're in a national tournament to start off the season. It's a great way to start the year."

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