Broncos in National Spotlight from July to June

It was an unforgettable school year for Boise State academics and athletics, one in which the Broncos were in the national as well as world news even before school started and after the spring semester ended as well. The 2004-2005 school year was one of many highlights. Let's review:

Boise State captured a major national championship when the Bronco speech and debate team brought the national title back to Boise! 2004-2005 was a year that saw five sports teams (football, men's tennis, gymnastics, wrestling and track & field) achieve a national ranking in the top 30. 2 of those teams (football and men's tennis) won conference championships and 2 others (men's basketball and wrestling) finished 2nd in conference. Reviewing the many highlights below, it is safe to say that it was an extremely good year for Boise State!


In July, Jared Rome, a six-time All-American in the shot put and discus for Boise State, won the United States Olympic Trials and became the first Bronco track and field athlete to qualify for the Olympic Games.  Rome tossed the discus 215 feet, 9 inches on his final throw of the U.S. Trials to win the event. He finished 14th in the discus at the Games in Athens, Greece with a throw of 61.55 meters (201 feet, 11 inches).


Wesley Moodie advanced to the quarterfinals of the Mercedes-Benz Tennis Cup.  Moodie beat the Netherlands' Sjeng Schalken, the #5 player in the world to reach the top eight.


Boise State star tennis player Matias Silva made the Davis Cup for Peru and was selected to play in the 2nd and 3rd rounds for his country. Matias went 2-1 in singles and 0-1 in doubles play in the Davis Cup.



In August, it was announced that Boise State will partner with Harvard, Auburn, California, Purdue and three other research universities in a new $2 million Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) research center to study cabin air quality and conduct an assessment of chemical and biological threats in airliners. "We've brought together some of the brightest minds science has to offer to focus on cabin air quality and chemical and biological threats to protect passengers and crew members," said FAA administrator Marion Blakey. "This research will be of great benefit to the flying public."


For the first time in Bronco history, Boise State began the season in the national top 30—the Broncos were 28th in the preseason poll this past season.


Boise State's football team recorded a landmark victory for the program when it came from behind to defeat Oregon State 53-34. It was the first-ever win for the Broncos over a member of the PAC-10 conference.


Head athletic trainer Gary Craner, tennis player Ernesto Diaz, women's basketball player Michelle Schultz, track and field runner Jose Uribe, women's basketball player Lidiya Varbanova and gymnast Julie Wagner were elected in September as the newest members of the Boise State University Athletic Hall of Fame.


Boise State's Abbey Elsberry was named one of the top 10 national finalists for the 2004 NCAA Woman of the Year contest as well as the State of Idaho's NCAA Woman of the Year for 2004. Elsberry was a multiple All-Western Athletic Conference honoree in both the weight throw, hammer throw and shot put. She won the WAC championship in both the weight throw and hammer throw in 2004 and was a NCAA All-American in the weight throw.
She also was a CoSIDA Academic All-American, a WAC All-Academic honoree, and served on Boise State's and the WAC's student athlete advisory committees. She participated in Rake Up Boise and volunteered at different Boise elementary schools. She was a Boise State Top 10 Scholar in 2004 and was a member of several student clubs. A Physical Education/K-12 major, she graduated with a 4.0 GPA.


  The Bronco volleyball team got off to its best start in 25 years beginning the season 4-0.  They quickly advanced that mark to 13-2.  Heather Malaschak was 21st in the nation in blocks.  Boise State scored its first win over San Jose State in 7 years with a five-game victory. Boise State participated in the WAC Championships for the first time but lost to Fresno State in the first round, which ended their season at 17-12. Cameron Flunder became Boise State's first All-WAC selection while Malaschak was selected to the league's 2nd team.




Boise State's football team led the nation in consecutive wins for most of the season (Boise State won 22 straight games in 2003-04.)


Jeb Putzier moved into the first-team slot at tight end for the Denver Broncos. Putzier had a breakout year with 36 receptions for 572 yards and 2 touchdowns for Denver. He also had 3 catches for 67 yards and his first playoff touchdown (a 35-yarder) in the NFL playoffs although Denver lost to Indianapolis.


The Boise State women's golf team shot a blistering 295, the second-best second round score in the tournament and the second best round in school history as the Broncos placed 6th at the Kent Youel Invitational in Oahu, Hawai'i.


 The Boise State soccer team scored 7 shutout victories. Bronco goalkeeper Kim Parker set school records with 5 solo shutouts in a season and 10 for her career. Boise State's season was filled with promise after opening 9-4-1 but the team dropped its last 4 games to finish 9-8-2. Three Broncos were among those honored as senior captains BreeAnn Milligan and Cassidy Temple along with Parker were chosen for the All-WAC second team.




Boise State's football team reached the ESPN/USA Today top ten on November 21st at #10, the first time the Broncos had ever been ranked in the top ten of the prestigious poll. Boise State also reached #10 on the Associated Press poll that same day, also the first top ten ranking for the Broncos in the AP poll.

The Broncos defeated Nevada 58-21 in front of a nationally-televised audience to finish the regular season undefeated for the first time since joining Division I-A (Boise State was 11-0 this past season).




Boise State's football team appeared in the national top ten rankings for the first time in history, climbing to in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' poll and #10 in the Associated Press poll. The Broncos also reached as far as #7 in the Bowl Championship Series standings. The Broncos led the nation consecutive wins at home, a streak that carries over into the 2005 football season (Boise State has won 25 straight games in Bronco Stadium.)


To reward the Broncos for their undefeated season, Boise State was selected to play in the 2004 Liberty Bowl December 31st in Memphis against Louisville. The game would mark the Broncos' first post-season game against a Top 10 team (the game pitted #8 Louisville against #10 Boise State.)


For the first time in history, Boise State drew over 200,000 fans to Bronco Stadium. The Broncos sold out every game but one, the Hawai'i game which missed by 400 fans. Bronco Stadium was sold out a record 5 times in 2004, where attendance averaged over 30,000 fans per home (30,499 fans—499 over capacity).


Head Football Coach Dan Hawkins was rewarded with by far the richest contract ever awarded a coach in the state of Idaho, paying him a base salary of $525,000 with the opportunity to make $1.2 million per year by 2009.


On December 13th, Boise State offensive tackle Daryn Colledge was selected to the 2004 All-America Team First Team Offense by, becoming the first Bronco ever to be named as a first-team All-American. Kicker Tyler Jones was a 2nd-Team All-American on the Associated Press team and was an honorable mention selection on the College Football News squad. He was also named to the Walter Camp Football Foundation All-American second team and received honorable mention All-American honors from Sports Quarterback Jared Zabransky was also an honorable mention pick at


 Jones was one of three finalists for the Lou Groza award, given to the nation's top collegiate kicker. Coach Dan Hawkins was one of five finalists for the ESPN Coach of the Year as well as the 2004 Paul "Bear" Bryant College Football Coach of the Year Award. Offensive Coordinator Chris Petersen was also selected as one of five finalists for assistant coach of the year.


Boise State men's tennis coach Greg Patton was the national winner of the USTA/ITA Community Service Award. They were honored on December 12 at the ITA Coaches Convention at the Doral Golf Resort and Spa in Miami, during the ITA General Membership Meeting.


 Sales of merchandise bearing the BSU logo skyrocketed. The Bronco bookstore says sales of clothing alone increased 70 percent, while Internet sales were up 200 percent compared to last year.


 Several Bronco wrestlers were ranked in the NCAA ratings. Ben Cherrington was 8th at 149 pounds, Andrew Hochstrasser 10th at 125, Scott Jorgensen 13th at 133, Eric Smith 14th in the Heavyweight division, K.C. Walsh 19th in the 197-pound class and Russell Brunson 24th at 165 pounds.




The Boise State football team finished in the national top 15 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' poll for the third year in a row (Boise State finished the year 12th in 2002, 15th in 2003 and 13th in 2003.) With their nationally televised game against Louisville in the Liberty Bowl, the Broncos led the nation in appearances on ESPN (Boise State was featured on ESPN a record 7 times in 2004).


The Boise State gymnastics team was ranked 21st in the nation in vault.


Mattias Jons set a Boise State University record in the men's 35-pound weight throw in competition at the Hampton Inn & Suites Classic. Jons' mark in winning the event was 67-2.25, which also qualified him for the NCAA Championships. Jons broke his own record in the weight throw which he set at last year's WAC Indoor Track and Field Championships when he posted a then school record mark of 66-1.


 January 27, Benita Buggs hit a three-pointer with 1.2 seconds left to give the Boise State women's basketball team a stunning 62-59 win over traditional powerhouse Louisiana Tech in Taco Bell Arena. It was the first win ever for the Broncos over the Lady Techsters, and only the 3rd time that Tech has lost a WAC game.




Quintin Mikell played in his first Super Bowl for the National Conference Philadelphia Eagles, becoming the second Bronco to play in the Super Bowl and the first since Bronco great Rolly Woolsey took the field for the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl X.


The men's tennis team won the Western Regional and qualified for the National Indoor Tennis Championships in Chicago.  The Broncos played three outstanding teams, losing to #1 Baylor 4-1, LSU 4-2 and Kentucky 4-0.


Boise State University student Heather Gribble, a senior majoring in graphic design with a marketing minor, was named an honorable mention winner for the All-USA College Academic Team by USA Today. Gribble is the only student from the state of Idaho to be honored by USA Today. This award recognizes her as one of the top 84 students in the nation.


Scott Jorgensen and Ben Cherrington won individual PAC-10 wrestling championships, leading to a 2nd-place finish for Boise State. In the last seven years, Boise State has won the PAC-10 3 times and finished 2nd 4 times.




On March 20th, the 14-member Boise State debate and speech team captured the national title for the Broncos, dethroning six-time defending national champion Southwest Baptist University of Missouri at the biennial Pi Kappa Delta National Tournament at Webster University in St. Louis, Mo. The Boise State team also finished first in debate sweepstakes, second in speech sweepstakes and brought home 22 individual awards. In addition, John Petti (senior, Meridian) won the individual national championship in the broadcast journalism division of the competition.

The open tournament is the nation's oldest and largest team competition among four-year schools with forensics programs. More than 470 competitors representing 72 schools from 29 states participated in the four-day event. Boise State finished third at the national tournament in 1995 and again in 2003.


Former Bronco great receiver Jeb Putzier signed a $15 million, 5-year deal with the Denver Broncos of the NFL.


The Boise State wrestlers were in 18th place in the NCAA National Championships after the 1st session.  Andrew Hochstrasser, Scott Jorgensen and Ben Cherrington all advanced to the quarterfinals in their respective weight classes before losing. Hochstrasser was named the Pac-10 Conference's Freshman of the Year for the 2004-05 season.


Jermaine Blackburn's putback of a missed free throw helped Boise State upset 24th-ranked Nevada 73-72 in the WAC basketball tournament. The win was the 4th win for a Boise State team over a Top 25 team. The moment was just the catalyst of the Broncos' improbable run through the tournament that saw Boise State defeat Tulsa 83-73, score the upset over Nevada 73-72 and edge Fresno State 86-85 before losing in the WAC Championship game to UTEP 91-78.


Boise State's Jason Ellis became the only Bronco basketball player ever to score 900 points and get 900 rebounds. Ellis also became the16th player in Bronco history to score 1,000 points in his career. He set the WAC tournament rebounding record with 21 against Tulsa and was named to the WAC's All-Defensive team.


Jermaine Blackburn became the 7th Bronco men's basketball player to score over 500 points in a season.


The Bronco men's tennis team upset #18 Notre Dame at the Blue-Gray Classic in Alabama before losing to #24 Tulane in the tournament's semi-finals. 


Bronco gymnast Lindsay Ward was ranked #42 in the national gymnastics rankings. Even better, Bronco teammates Lindsey Thomas and Carla Chambers were also now ranked #82 and #90 respectively. The team was #30.


Led by Katie Street's second place finish, the Boise State University women's golf team posted a school record score of 903 at the Bobcat Desert Classic in Arizona.


On March 11th, Joe Holladay (BlueManChild on BroncoCountry) was elected as the new Student Body President at Boise State.


Bronco Gymnasts finished 3rd in the Western Gymnastics Conference Championships. The Western Athletic Conference announced that it would sponsor women's gymnastics beginning in 2005, placing the Bronco gymnasts in the same conference as most other sports at Boise State.


  Edgar Guerrero, a Boise State graduate last year, is a top 15 candidate in Mexico's version of American Idol - "La Academia". The show is popular in Mexico and Latin America. Guerrero won the California regional competition to qualify for the finals.



A group of Boise State University students proved that a chunk of concrete molded to precise specifications will float. The BSU student chapter of the American Society for Civil Engineers built a 20-foot long, two-and-a-half-foot wide canoe out of concrete. The students raced their canoe, "The Black Pearl," at the Pacific Northwest Regional at Carroll College in Montana on April 7-9 and took first place. The chapter heads to the 2005 U.S. National Concrete Canoe Competition in Clemson, South Carolina June 25-27. Boise State made its first trip to nationals in 2003 and placed 14th in a field of 28 teams. The competition includes five races: a men's and a women's slalom/endurance race, a men's and a women's sprint, and a coed sprint. The races only count for part of the contest. Students are also judged on the quality of their finished canoe, a design paper, and an oral presentation.


At the Northwest Finance Competition, Boise State came in 1st place with a 24.26% return on investment, representing a $12,130 profit


Four Broncos on the 2004 football team signed free-agent deals with NFL clubs. Tyler Jones is going to the Chicago Bears, Gabe Franklin signed with the San Diego Chargers, Chris Carr inked a deal with Oakland, and, Lawrence Bady is going to the Falcons!


Lindsay Ward qualified for the NCAA National Gymnastics Championships for the second straight year. She scored a 38.35 in the all-around with strong performances on bars and on floor. where she scored a 9.775 on each. Ward's score was good for 42nd individually.


On April 1st, Mattias Jons set a school record in the men's hammer throw at the BYU Cougar Invitational. Jons' record breaking toss, which also won the event, was 216-1 (65.86 meters) breaking the mark of 204-7 set by Stellan Kjellander in 2002. His throw was also a NCAA regional qualifying mark.


Shaunard Harts signed a one-year deal to remain with the Kansas City Chiefs of the NFL. Harts played in all 16 games last season, starting in six. He made 58 tackles, 34 of them solo. Kansas City acquired the Boise State standout in the seventh round of the 2001 draft. In 51 games with the Chiefs, he has 163 tackles, two sacks, two interceptions with one touchdown, two fumble recoveries and five forced fumbles.


The Boise State women's tennis upset 2nd-seed Tulsa in the WAC Championships to make it to the league's semi-finals before falling to #1 Rice. The tie for third place equals the Broncos' best finish to date in the WAC. Five Boise State women's tennis players were named to the 2005 Western Athletic Conference All-Conference Team. Senior Alissa Ayling and junior Megan Biorkman were named to the league's doubles first team. Named to the conference second team in doubles were sophomore Tiffany Coll and freshman Nadja Woschek. Woschek was also named to the second team in singles along with senior Carolina Pongratz.


Golfer Ashley Hogg was named second-team All-WAC.




Boise State University's official newspaper, The Arbiter, received top honors as the Idaho Press Club held its annual awards. Student newspapers competed in an array of categories that encompassed everything from best General News Stories to General Web site Excellence. The Arbiter staff was awarded first place in General Excellence. The Arbiter previously won general excellence in 1994 and in 2002.


 Former Bronco star running back Brock Forsey signed with the Washington Redskins of the NFL.


Trackwire's Top 25 ranked the Boise State men 11th in the nation, ahead of teams like Stanford, Michigan and BYU. Defending national champion Arkansas was ranked first. The service ranks teams based on a possible score in the national meet. The Bronco women were ranked 21st.


Defending national champion Gabriel Wallin broke the University of California stadium record in the men's javelin, and Mattias Jons broke the Boise State record in the men's hammer throw for the second time this season. In addition, Bronco athletes produced seven NCAA Regional Qualifying marks on California's campus. In addition to Wallin and Jons, Staffan Jonsson placed first in the men's discus with a throw of 180-11, Miruna Mataoanu won the women's high jump with a leap of 5-10.75), Scott Viafore and Nate Putnam posted regional marks in the men's javelin, and Neely Falgout did the same in the women's javelin. Viafore finished third with a personal best of 225-2, and Putnam placed fourth with a toss of 208-4). Falgout placed third in her event with a throw of 149-7. Wallin won the javelin with a throw of 248-6, which is also the top collegiate throw this season. In winning the hammer throw, Jons broke the Bronco record for the second time in three weeks. Freshman Alina Schimpf finished second in the women's pole vault with a mark of 11-11.75, the second best all-time performance in Boise State history.


 Boise State's Eric Roberson saved one match point in the second set and rallied for a title-clinching three-set victory over Rice's Rodrigo Gabriel as the top-seeded Broncos captured the 2005 Western Athletic Conference Championship. The Broncos won their second WAC Championships after prevailing in 2003. Boise State standout freshman Luke Shields earned Freshman of the Year honors. He and doubles partner Thomas Schoeck were named to the all-WAC team for both singles and doubles. BSU's Greg Patton received Coach of the Year accolades.


The Boise State men's tennis team beat #34 North Carolina 4-1 in the first round of the NCAA National Championships at Appleton Tennis Center before losing to #16 A & M.


Luke Shields defeated #23 J.D. Jones of Illinois in the opening round of the NCAA National Singles Championship, then earned All-American status and a berth in the national Top 16 by beating the #5 player in the country from Duke. Shields lost a tough 3-set match to the #11-ranked player from UCLA in the round of 16.  Shields & doubles partner Thomas Schoeck beat the #23 doubles team from South Carolina to also make it to the Sweet Sixteen before losing to the top duo from LSU 7-6,3-6,6-2. That duo from LSU went all the way to the national championship doubles match. Shields finished the season ranked #33 in singles while Shields and Schoeck finished #8 in doubles.


Neely Falgout won the women's javelin throw at the WAC Championships with a mark of 180 feet, 1 inch. Mattias Jons and Collin Post finished 1-2 in the men's discus with a throw of 214 feet, 1 inch and 190 feet 2 inches respectively. Gabriel Wallin, the number one ranked collegiate javelin thrower in the country, captured his second straight WAC title with a throw of 241-5. Wallin was one of five Broncos who placed in the javelin as teammates Nate Putnam finished third with a throw of 217-1, Scott Viafore took fourth, Mattias Jons was fifth and Collin Post placed seventh. The throwers scored 27 points in the javelin in helping the men's team to a fifth place finish with 98.5 points.


Boise State athletes captured 1st, 2nd and 5th in the men's javelin at the NCAA West Regional Track and Field Championships in Eugene. Defending national champion Gabriel Wallin led the way with a winning throw of 238-10, while Nathan Putnam heaved the spear 222-6 and Scott Viafore came up with a throw of 211-4. Mattias Jons won the Men's Hammer Throw at the Regionals. Jons came up with his winning throw of 223 feet, 1 inch on his final attempt to win the West and qualify for the National Championships. Although she didn't have her best jump, Miruna Mataoanu of Boise State was able to take 3rd in the high jump. Her personal best would have won the event, but Miruna did automatically qualify for the NCAA Championships, making 5 Broncos to do so.


Sophomore Katie Street was selected to the 2005 Academic All-District VIII University Division Women's At-Large Second Team. Street, a golfer at Boise State, is one of 21 student-athletes named to either the first or second team.



Bronco javelin thrower Gabe Wallin won his second consecutive national title at the NCAA Track & Field Championships in Sacramento. Mattias Jons finished 2nd in the hammer throw to give Boise State it's first 1-2 finishers at the championships. Both were awarded All-America status, the first time Boise State has had two players in the same year to be so rewarded. The Broncos finished 14th as a team in the championships, the highest ranking ever achieved for a Boise State track and field team.


Construction began on Boise State's new Indoor Practice Facility on the northwest side of Bronco Stadium. The practice field will be available for use by the Boise State football team in December and will be completed in early 2006.

Boise State announced today that Gordy Presnell has been hired as the new head coach of the women's basketball program. "We are thrilled to get Gordy Presnell who has 18 years of head coaching experience and such a successful background with a 396-127 (.757) record at Seattle Pacific," commented Gene Bleymaier, Boise State Athletics Director. "I think Gordy will be a great fit here at Boise State and will be able to take us to new heights in women's basketball."


Boise State announced the hiring of Kevin Burton as the new Bronco head men's golf coach. Burton replaces Mike Young who retired at the end of the 2004-05 season after 35 years at Boise State serving as either the wrestling or golf coach

What an incredible year! With more masters and doctorate programs being put into place as President Bob Kustra transforms the school into a research-based institution and as new facilities and summer scholarships become a reality for athletics, the outlook for next year is even better. It's a great time to be a Bronco!

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