Boise State's gymnastics team returns to Taco Bell Arena to host Alaska-Anchorage and Southern Utah this Friday in a three-way meet. Boise State is up slightly to 39th in the nation with their average score of 190.608. Fellow Western Athletic Conference member Southern Utah is ranked 29th, averaging 191.612. Alaska-Anchorage is currently ranked 55th with an average of 188.00. The meet begins at 7 p.m. Friday night.
Junior Lindsay Ward leads the Broncos in the all-around competition. Ward is also fifth in the nation in the balance beam. Senior Katie Dinsmore (9.758), Freshman Shaniece Craft (9.750) and Senior Kea Cuaresma (9.750) are 13-15 in the West in the vault. Ward (9.767) is 10th in the region in the uneven bars while Jacob Taylor (9.733) is 12th. Boise State's weakness thus far in the young season is on the floor, where Taylor Jacob's team leading average of 9.458 is just 49th in the West.
Southern Utah has climbed into the national top 30 not by having standout athletes that are among the best in the country at their specialties. Rather, they feature team balance. In the uneven bars, for example, Leah Sakhitab (5th at 9.725) is one of four Thunderbird gymnasts in the WAC top 10. Sheena Shaw and Ashley Sharpe are tied for 6th (9.687) and Tehani Keeno is 10th (9.662).
Both Boise State and Southern Utah are strong on the beam. Leah Sakhitab (9.8) is 2nd to Ward in the WAC and 15th in the nation and Jess Langley (9.625) is 7th in conference. Junior Kristin Aldrich (9.517) provides support for Ward in the event for the Broncos.
Langley's 9.75 in the floor exercises paces the Thunderbirds in that event, one that so far has given the Broncos fits. Shaw's 9.637 and Sakhitab's 9.6 give Southern Utah three in the WAC's top ten. If Southern Utah is allowed to dominate the scoring on the floor, they will win the meet.
Shaw (13th in the WAC) is the top hope for Southern Utah in the vault with a 9.637 average. If the Thunderbirds win the vault or that competition is close, the Broncos have virtually no chance of finishing with a higher score Friday night.
Lauren Agostino is Alaska-Anchorage's top gymnast, ranking 16th in the West in all-around competition with an average score of 38.237.
It has not been the best of starts for the young Bronco gymnasts. Boise State is currently ranked 5th out of six WAC teams. Since Southern Utah is one of the teams that the Broncos must pass to qualify for the west regional, Boise State needs to step it up Friday night.
Parking will be in all General Permit marked areas of the East and West Stadium Parking Lots. Please follow the directions of the Boise State parking attendants.