Mortellaro and Geiger Named 2011-12 Stan Bates Award Winners
Mortellaro, a native of Phoenix, Arizona, earned a degree in Public Relations with a minor in Communications Studies in May and graduated with one of the highest GPAs for the major with a 3.84. She is a four-time Academic All-WAC honoree and also a 2012 first-team CoSIDA Academic All-American. In 2012, Kayla received the Kathy Clark award for “best combination of student and athlete for women’s sports” at Idaho. And last December, Mortellaro received an Alumni Award for Academic Excellence.
In competition, Mortellaro is one of the most decorated golfers to play at Idaho. She is the school’s record holder in tournament wins (10) and ended her college career with the best scoring average in school history (72.91).
In addition, Mortellaro has volunteered with many children’s after-school programs and with the Arizona Special Olympics Golf fundraiser. During summers at home in Arizona, she volunteers time and talent to work with Special Olympics fundraisers and teaching children golf skills at the Vistal Golf Club in Phoenix. Mortellaro also spent a semester volunteering at a Moscow elementary school helping 4th graders improve their math and reading skills.
“Kayla has the unique ability to lead by example - she stands strong in her convictions, lives responsibly, and always gives the best of herself,” said Vandals golf coach Lisa Johnson. “On the course, Kayla is extremely serious and focused. Off the course, she is laid back and fun loving. The team responded very well to this personality.”
Geiger, from Bad Neustadt, Germany, earned his degree in Electrical Engineering with a minor in Mathematics. Geiger has succeeded academically and athletically since arriving in Moscow. He is a four-time Academic All-WAC honoree and was named Capital One Second – Team Academic All-District in 2011. He earned a 3.84 GPA and was awarded the Kathy Clark Scholar-Athlete Award and the Gerry Hagedorn Award for being the top overall student-athlete in track and field in 2012.
In addition to his achievements in the classroom, Geiger has also devoted himself to the community. With his spare time Geiger has used his German background to educate those around him about his culture by volunteering for the Idaho International Program “Cruise the World” event as an Ambassador for Germany. He also taught elementary school children about German culture during International Week at a local elementary school, and shared his experience as an athlete by volunteering at a free track and field camp for kids.
During his athletic career at Idaho, Geiger’s success in long distance running resulted in First-Team All-WAC selections in 2009, 2010 and 2012 in the 10,000m and a second-team All-WAC selection in 2009 and 2012 in the 5000m. His career included a 2010 individual WAC Championship in the 10,000m and an individual WAC Championship in the 5000m in 2011. Geiger helped lead the Idaho team to the 2012 WAC Indoor Track and Field Championship, which is the school’s first men’s WAC team title in any sport. Geiger finished his career at Idaho ranked seventh all-time in the 5000m and eighth all-time in the 10,000m.
“Markus is a perfect example of how a student-athlete can balance an extremely rigorous course load with athletic excellence,” stated Vandals head cross country coach, Wayne Phipps.