WYO’S WIN­GARD LEADS MW PRE­SEA­SON PICKS

The Denver Post - - OFF & RUNNING - — Den­ver Post staff and wire ser­vices

LAS VE­GAS» Colorado State cen­ter Jake Ben­nett and wide re­ceiver Michael Gallup were named to the me­dia’s pre­sea­son all-Moun­tain West first team Tues­day, while for­mer Ral­ston Val­ley High School star An­drew Win­gard of Wy­oming, a de­fen­sive back, was named the de­fen­sive player of the year.

The se­lec­tions were an­nounced at the Moun­tain West Me­dia Sum­mit, with the me­dia pick­ing the Rams to fin­ish sec­ond in the conference’s Moun­tain Di­vi­sion be­hind Boise State. Wy­oming, whose quar­ter­back, Josh Allen, was the league’s of­fen­sive player of the year, was se­lected to fin­ish third in the di­vi­sion, fol­lowed by Air Force, New Mex­ico and Utah State.

Win­gard, a first-team pick in 2016, en­ters his ju­nior sea­son as the na­tion’s leader in ca­reer solo tack­les per game (6.08). Last year he led the league and was tied for fourth na­tion­ally with 131 to­tal tack­les. He had 7½ tack­les for loss, in­clud­ing two sacks, and two in­ter­cep­tions.

Allen, pro­jected as a high firstround NFL draft pick in 2018, threw for 3,203 yards and 28 touch­downs and rushed for 523 yards.

Ben­nett was a sec­ond-team al­lMoun­tain West se­lec­tion last sea­son and an­chored a Rams of­fen­sive line that ranked eighth in the NCAA in sacks al­lowed per game (1.0). Gallup, in his first sea­son of Di­vi­sion I foot­ball in 2016, had a break­out year — record­ing 76 catches for 1,272 yards. He ranked eighth in the na­tion in to­tal touch­downs (14) and sec­ond in Rams’ his­tory for a sin­gle sea­son.

Ben­nett and Gallup played key roles in CSU’s of­fen­sive at­tack, which ranked high in the coun­try in four dif­fer­ent cat­e­gories: pass­ing ef­fi­ciency (12th), rush­ing of­fense (31st), scor­ing of­fense (28th) and to­tal of­fense (30th).

Ben­nett was re­cently named to watch lists for the Rim­ing­ton and Out­land Tro­phy. Gallup is on the Bilet­nikoff Award watch list.

Avs sign Ni­eto for 1 year, $1M.

The Avalanche signed for­ward Matt Ni­eto to a one-year deal worth $1 mil­lion for the 2017-18 sea­son.

Ni­eto, a 5-foot-11, 180-pound left wing, played for the Avalanche in 43 of the fi­nal 44 games last sea­son af­ter be­ing claimed off waivers from the San Jose Sharks on Jan. 5. He recorded 11 points (seven goals and four as­sists) for Colorado.

Ni­eto, 24, is sched­uled for an ar­bi­tra­tion hear­ing next week.

Rapids name Smith in­terim GM.

The Rapids pro­moted Padraig Smith to in­terim gen­eral man­ager and Wayne Brant to in­terim chief busi­ness of­fi­cer.

The pro­mo­tions come in the wake of Tim Hinchey’s de­par­ture as pres­i­dent of the club in June to be­come CEO of USA Swim­ming.

Suns’ Knight tears left ACL.

PHOENIX» Phoenix Suns point guard Bran­don Knight tore his left ACL while play­ing in a pro-am game and will be lost for the com­ing sea­son.

The Suns said an ex­am­i­na­tion by team doc­tor Tom Carter de­ter­mined surgery would be re­quired.

Moore leads Lynx to slim win.

ST. PAUL, MINN.» Maya Moore scored a sea­son-high 27 points, Lind­say Whalen made a go-ahead base­line jumper with 47.7 sec­onds left and the Min­nesota Lynx beat the New York Lib­erty 76-75.

• Layshia Claren­don had 15 points, 10 re­bounds and 11 as­sists to be­come the sixth player with a triple-dou­ble and the At­lanta Dream beat the Phoenix Mer­cury 99-91 in over­time.

• Elena Delle Donne had 29 points and 10 re­bounds, Kristi To­liver tied a ca­reer high with 10 as­sists and the Wash­ing­ton Mys­tics beat the San An­to­nio Stars 85-76.

• Alyssa Thomas had 20 points, nine re­bounds and five as­sists to help the Con­necti­cut Sun beat the Chicago Sky 93-73.

• Sky­lar Dig­gins-Smith scored 21 points to lead the Dal­las Wings over the In­di­ana Fever 84-82.

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