Larson, Casey receive Athlete of the Year nods from NIA Hall of Fame

by Dylan Greene
Sports Editor | March 24, 2020 1:00 AM

Twenty local athletes were named finalists for annual awards given out by the North Idaho Athletic Hall of Fame.

The awards cover the 2019 academic spring season and 2019-20 academic fall and winter seasons.

The finalists were released Saturday and two Sandpoint athletes are up for 4A-5A Athlete of the Year awards. Junior Hattie Larson, a star on the girls soccer, basketball and golf teams this past year, and senior Brandon Casey, a three-sport athlete who is committed to play football at the University of Montana this fall, are the pair that will be vying for the girls and boys Athlete of the Year awards.

Larson was also named a finalist for girls soccer, girls golf and 5A-4A girls basketball awards. Casey is in the running for the 5A-4A football award along with junior defensive lineman Keith Jensen and senior wide receiver Christian Niemela. Clark Fork junior Cameron Garcia is a finalist for the 3A-1A football award.

Other Wampus Cats named finalists for awards were sophomore Cole Reuter (boys golf) and senior Ellie Kiebert (3A-1A girls basketball).

A trio of Bulldogs will be fighting for the girls swimming award; senior Mikayla Schoening and juniors Kaya Wright and Kate Bokowy all made the list. Sandpoint’s two state winning teams from this fall (girls swimming and soccer) are nominees for the 5A-4A Girls High School Team of the Year and the team’s coaches, Conor Baranski and Greg Jackson, are up for 4A-5A Girls High School Coach of the Year.

Senior Hannah Eddy, who was a key player for the Bulldogs’ girls soccer state title team, is one of five players nominated for the girls soccer award.

Juniors Jett Lucas and Nikolai Braedt, who helped shattered the Sandpoint record books this fall, are two of six vying for the boys cross country award and senior Dawson Driggs, who was the leading scorer on the Bulldogs girls basketball team that fell in the third place game at state, is a finalist for the 5A-4A girls basketball award.

Other Sandpoint athletes named finalists were senior Jenny Slaveck (girls tennis), junior Braden Kappen (5A-4A boys track), senior Gabby Hicks (5A-4A volleyball), sophomore Aidan Nielsen (boys swimming) and senior Ryan Roos (5A-4A boys basketball).

Colby Poe, the 2019 3A shot put state champ, was the only Priest River athlete named a finalist for an award (3A-1A boys track).

Each finalist will receive a certificate and winners will also receive a plaque. The athlete, coach and team of the year winners will get a trophy. The awards are typically given out during a banquet but the 58th annual North Idaho Athletic Hall of Fame banquet and induction ceremonies scheduled for April 25 at the Coeur d’Alene Resort have been canceled due to the coronavirus. Instead, the award winners will be released to the media on Sunday, April 26.

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Senior offensive lineman Brandon Casey gets ready to block a Blackfoot defender during the first round of the 4A state championships on Nov. 1. Casey is a finalist for the North Idaho Athletic Hall of Fame Boys High School Athlete of the Year award.

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(Photo courtesy of JASON DUCHOW PHOTOGRAPHY) Sandpoint goalkeeper Hattie Larson kicks a ball back in play during the 4A state championship game against Bishop Kelly on Oct. 20, 2018. Larson is a finalist for the North Idaho Athletic Hall of Fame Girls High School Athlete of the Year award.

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(Photo by KYLE CAJERO) Priest River's Colby Poe throws the shot put during the Priest River Invitational on April 20, 2019. Poe is a finalist for the 3A-1A boys track award.

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(Photo by KYLE CAJERO) Sandpoint's Jenny Slaveck prepares to smash a forehand during a match against Post Falls on May 1, 2019. Slaveck is a finalist for the girls tennis award.

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(Photo courtesy of JASON DUCHOW PHOTOGRAPHY) Junior Jett Lucas medaled at the 4A cross country state championships this fall by finishing 15th. Lucas is a finalist for the boys cross country award.

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(Photo by DYLAN GREENE) Juniors Nikolai Braedt (front) leads the pack during the William Johnson Sandpoint Invitational on Oct. 12 at Travers Park.

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(Photo by DYLAN GREENE) Senior Mikayla Schoening swims in the girls 200 free on Sept. 28 at Litehouse YMCA. Schoening is a finalist for the girls swimming award.

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(Photo by DYLAN GREENE) Junior Kate Bokowy swims the breaststroke portion of the girls 200 individual medley Sept. 28 at Litehouse YMCA. Bokowy is a finalist for the girls swimming award.

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(Photo courtesy of JACINDA BOKOWY) Sophomore Aidan Nielsen competes in the 4A state prelims on Nov. 8 at the Boise YMCA. Nielsen is a finalist for the boys swimming award.

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(Photo courtesy of JASON DUCHOW PHOTOGRAPHY) Senior Dawson Driggs battles a Burley player for possession of the ball during the Bulldogs opening game at the 4A state tournament on Feb. 20. Driggs is a finalist for the 5A-4A girls basketball award.

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(Photo by DYLAN GREENE) Senior Ellie Kiebert puts up a shot over the outstretched arm of a Mullan defender during a game this year. Kiebert is a finalist for the 3A-1A girls basketball award.

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(Photo courtesy of JASON DUCHOW PHOTOGRAPHY) Senior Ryan Roos converts a layup during a game this season at Les Rogers Court.