Sunday, May 15, 2016

Nominees for 2015-16 Bronco Team of the Year

Unfortunately, it's pretty easy to pick the nominees for Bronco Team of the Year.  As you know from the last 10 years of Bronco of the Year voting, to be eligible, a team must either win a conference championship or be nationally ranked.  For the first time in a long time, only one Boise State team won a conference championship this past school year, and only two other teams were nationally ranked in the Top 25:

The Boise State Men's Cross Country Team
The Bronco men's team was ranked as high as #16 in the country during the season, but finished third in the Mountain West Conference.  Michael Vennard led the Broncos most of the season and finished fifth individually at the conference meet to earn All-Mountain West honors, while freshman Elijah Armstrong was ninth.  

Boise State finished fifth at the NCAA West Regional but had a strong enough resume to receive an at-large bid to the National Championships.  Although the Broncos were downgraded nationally after their #16 ranking, Boise State proved they deserved that #16 spot, finishing 16th at the Championships.

The Boise State Women's Cross Country Team
As the Bronco women prepared for the cross country season last fall, they were ranked way back at #20 in preseason polls.  They showed them.

Boise State finished a strong second to New Mexico for the Mountain West Conference championship.  Not only were the Lobos #1 in the nation, but are considered perhaps the best women's cross country team in the history of the sport.  Freshman Allie Ostrander finished 15 seconds ahead of New Mexico's Courtney Freichs to win the individual title, taking Freshman of the Year, All-Mountain West Honors and Mountain West Athlete of the Year recognition in the process.

Boise State rose as high as #6 in the October 6 rankings and came within one point of winning the NCAA Regional title.  Ostrander did her part by winning the individual 6K with a time of 20:10.9.  Boise State finished with 80 points, one away from Oregon's 79 (low score wins).

The Broncos thus automatically qualified for the NCAA National Championships as a team, where they finished 11th.  Boise State showed great promise, as freshman Ostrander finished second in the nation and fellow freshman Brenna Peloquin was ninth.  Both Ostrander and Peloquin were named All-Americans.

The Boise State Gymnastics Team
The Lady Broncos went through the regular season as the nation's only unbeaten team and achieved a school high of #9 national ranking.  Boise State extended that mark to a 15-0 record when they came from behind with a spectacular floor performance to win the Mountain Rim Gymnastics Championship.  The final score of 197.025 was the fourth highest in school history and the highest ever at a conference championship meet.

Sandra Collantes was named All-Mountain Rim in All-Around, Mackenzie Bennion and Ann Stockwell garnered All-Conference honors in Vault, Krystine Jacobsen and Diane Mejia were named All-Conference on Bars, Sarah Means took All-Mountain Rim on beam and Collantes and Maddie Krentz were named All-Mountain Rim on floor.  Shanni Remme was named Mountain Rim Freshman of the Year.

Boise State came into the Regionals very close to California as the second-best Regional team on the floor, yet judges at the Regionals gave the Broncos the fifth-best score out of six teams. By the time the judges figured out the talent level Boise State posessed, it was too late. Although the Lady Broncos were in second going into the final rotation (two Regional teams qualify for the NCAA National Championships), Cal passed them in the final event to earn the bid over Boise State.  Remme scored a 9.9 on balance beam to win the event and earn an individual bid to nationals.

The 18-2 season record (.900 winning percentage) is the best record in school history.