Sports briefs: 5/2/2017

Rehkow signs as free agent

Former Idaho punter and placekicker Austin Rehkow signed a free agent contract with the Buffalo Bills Saturday night following the conclusion of the 2017 NFL Draft.

Rehkow finished his career at Idaho as a Lou Groza and Ray Guy award semifinalist, setting a Sun Belt Conference record for the most points in a single season by a kicker with 120. Rehkow also went 26 of 29 in field goal attempts for the Vandals in 2016.

Rehkow is expected to challenge Colton Schmidt for punting duties as part of the special teams unit this upcoming season. Rehkow averaged 45.8 yards per punt during his career with the Vandals, while Schmidt averaged 42.4 yards per punt for the Bills last year.

The Bills might also have Rehkow compete for placekicking duties, but former Super Bowl champion and recent signee Steven Hauschka would likely secure this position.

Claire Yang secures fourth ring

Senior Claire Yang of the Idaho women’s tennis team found herself in an elite group of athletes Saturday afternoon during the Big Sky Women’s Tennis Championship.

Yang’s 7-6 (7-3), 2-6, 6-3 victory on the No. 6 singles court against Hailey Rochin not only secured a Big Sky title for the Vandals, it also gave Yang the fourth conference championship of her collegiate career.

Her first conference championship came in 2014 as a member of the Fresno State women’s tennis team during a 4-2 victory against New Mexico in the WAC Championship.

After transferring to Idaho, Yang helped lead the Vandals to three consecutive Big Sky titles to cap her career.

Malek’s family honored during spring game

The University of Idaho recognized the family of former Vandal Jace Malek during halftime of the football team’s annual Silver and Gold spring intrasquad game at the Kibbie Dome Friday night.

Malek’s mother and widow accepted a pair of bowl championship rings from the team’s 61-50 victory against Colorado State in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl last December.

Malek first caught national headlines in 2015 when he was diagnosed with cancer as a high school senior. Despite the diagnosis, Idaho head coach Paul Petrino honored the initial full-ride scholarship and promoted Malek to a position as a student-coach after he arrived on campus. Malek passed away in February of 2016 after a year-long battle with osteosarcoma.


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