DENVER – Idaho distance runner Hannah Kiser and men’s basketball standout Kyle Barone are the 2012-13 Western Athletic Conference Joe Kearney Award winners. Named in honor of former WAC commissioner Joe Kearney, the awards are given annually to the top male and female student-athletes in the WAC. This marks the second consecutive year a student-athlete from Idaho has received the award. Kiser becomes the first Vandal woman to earn the honor. Barone is only the second Vandal male student-athlete to be honored.
Kiser concluded her junior year with record setting marks. She recorded new conference marks in the indoor mile (4:37.55), indoor 3,000m (9:04.74) and the outdoor 5,000m (15:44.06). Kiser was also a member of the WAC record-holding distance medley relay team. She earned first team All-American honors at the NCAA Indoor Championships, with a fifth-place finish in the 3,000m run. Kiser swept the WAC Athlete of the Year honors in cross country, indoor and outdoor track, becoming only the second woman to record the feat. She has earned first-team All-WAC honors in her freshman, sophomore and junior seasons, helping the Vandal women to three-straight cross country conference titles.
“Hannah has transformed herself from a solid runner to one of the top distance runners in the history of the WAC,” Idaho Director of Track and Field Wayne Phipps said. “This is a tribute to her dedication and amazing work ethic. Her accomplishments are vast and plentiful, including never losing a race at a WAC indoor or outdoor meet. Her cross country teams have never lost at a WAC cross country championship.”
Barone was recognized as the WAC Men’s Basketball Player of the Year this past season. He led the conference with 17.2 points per game, matched with 9.7 rebounds per game. His field goal percentage (59.7) and free throw percentage (78.2) also were tops in the WAC. Barone totaled 16 double-doubles on the season, helping him to be an AP honorable mention All-American. He was named a first-team All-WAC performer, a two-time WAC Player of the Week and was the North Idaho Athletics Hall of Fame Male Athlete of the Year. The senior never missed a game as a Vandal, setting the school record with 126 games played. He finished his career ranked second at Idaho with 869 rebounds, third with a 58.5 field goal percentage and fourth with 1,433 career points.
“Kyle has been one of the most decorated basketball players ever to wear an Idaho uniform,” Idaho head coach Don Verlin stated. “When you look at what Kyle has done n his career rankings at Idaho, his success speaks for itself. He has had to work hard both on and off the court and graduating this past December was a great accomplishment for Kyle to go along with his athletic success.”