Boise State Track Team Wins The WAC Again

What would you say if a team that lost two All-Americans and in a "rebuilding year" with a young team that was supposed to finish 36 points off the pace instead won the WAC title? The Boise State men's track team did just that, capturing their second consecutive league Indoor title tonight at Jackson's Track in Nampa. Congratulations to the 2007 WAC Champions and super Coach Mike Maynard!

It wasn't quite the drama and the stage of the 2007 Fiesta Bowl, but it was thrilling nonetheless.  For the second year in a row, the Boise State track and field team has won the Western Athletic Conference Championship.  And they did it in the final race of the evening at Jackson's Track in Nampa.

Needing to finish third or better in the final event of the meet to win the WAC, the 4th-seeded Boise State 4 x 400-meter relay team finished tied for second with a time of 3 minutes, 15.21 seconds.  The Bronco men, expected to finish third with a talented but young team, instead rose to the occasion, giving Coach Mike Maynard another league title.  The Broncos edged out equally surprising Utah State by a mere two points to capture the championship.

Boise State accumulated 128 points in the two-day competition to 126 for the Aggies.  Utah State was expected to score 70 points this weekend and nearly stole the show.  Throughout the weekend, Utah State athletes came through with unexpected performances, taking points away from the rest of the field, but primarily from favorite Cal State-Northridge and Idaho, the 15th ranked team in the nation.  The team from Moscow managed 112 points for third, with Northridge a disappointing 94 and Louisiana Tech fifth with 65 points.

The Bronco women performed admirably but finished third.  Northridge was able to capture the women's title as an affiliate member.  The Lady Matadors totaled 117.5 points to edge veteran Louisiana Tech, which had 114.  The Broncos finished with 102 points, victim of lost points in key events this weekend.  Utah State was an impressive fourth with 90.5 points, Idaho finished fifth with 70, followed by #6 Hawai'i (53.5), 7th Nevada (50.5), New Mexico State in 8th with 38 points and Fresno State with 26.

Coach Maynard's team got individual WAC titles from Ty Axtman in the mile, Zacharias Arnos in the triple jump and David Walden in the high jump.   Freshman Arnos turned in an amazing performance to win, leaping 50 feet, 2.75 inches with fellow freshman Wendell Lawrence finishing third (49-8.5).  Ty Axtman and Cody Eaton finished 1-2 in the mile.  Axtman won the WAC with a winning time of 4:11.59 while Eaton finished right behind at 4:13.98.  Waldman, a sophomore, set a personal best of 6-9.75 to win the high jump. 

In a league title won by two points, the credit has to be shared throughout the Bronco team, for track championships are won not by individuals but by team depth.  Third and fourth-place finishes are just as significant in a victory like the Broncos captured this weekend.  There was sophomore Kyle Christoffersen and freshman Sean Chaney-Waller, who finished third and fourth, respectively, in the 400-meters. Erik Whittsitt, one of the few seniors on the Boise State roster, came through with a solid throw of 58 feet, 4.5 inches to place second in the shot put.  What about freshmen Heigo Nurmsalu and Logan Meyer, who finished second and fourth in the pole vault?  Nurmsalu cleared 15-9 while Meyer topped 15-5.  The versatile Nurmsalu also placed fourth in the high jump.  Arnos, the WAC triple jump champion, also finished fifth in the long jump.  Sophomore Simon Wardhaugh finished second in the weight throw and Jarrod Stevens was sixth.

Then there was Sterling Small, who had not run a race this season.  Maynard inserted him into the lineup this weekend and he responded by finishing fourth.  Eric Demers set a personal best of 4,907 points to place third in the heptathlon. Marlon Douglas picked up points for the Broncos by finishing fourth in the 60-meters (6.92 seconds) and fifth in the 200 in 22.07.  Caleb Cazier finished second by 36/100th's of a second in the 800, with sophomore teammate Matt Schmasow finishing fifth.

And of course the Bronco relay teams came through in the clutch.  The distance medley relay team of Kyle and Brandon Christoffersen, Cazier and David Creamer finished third with a time of 10 minutes, 34.67 seconds.

The surprising Boise State victory this weekend would not have been possible without all of the above.  Kudos to Coach Maynard and the 2007 WAC Champion Broncos!

There were a lot of bright spots for the Bronco women as well, who just two years ago was at the bottom of these same standings.  Sophomore Eleni Kafourou finished second in the triple jump (42-8.25) and the long jump (20-5.25).  Becky Guyette won the 5,000 meters in runaway fashion (17:19.35) and finished second in the 3,000 (10:04.15), a race in which sophomore Breanna Sande finished third (10:10.83).  Sande also finished a strong second in the mile (4:58.28).  Eleni Ypsilanti (60-11.25) and Annika Hjelm (60-6.5) finished second and third, respectively, in the weight throw.  Freshman Theodora Xylaki finished third in the high jump with a leap of 5 feet, 8.5 inches.  Megan Olivetti finished third in the 200 with a time of 24.16.

The women's distance medley team (Kendra Hernandez, Leah Hover, Jamie Hubbs and Nataucha Lowry) finished second and the 4 x 400-meter relay team (Kayleen McDowell, Olivetti, Nerisha Phillip and Lowry) took third.  The Bronco women are a program on the rise to be sure.  And who knows what they can accomplish this spring?

 


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