Boise State has been fighting uphill to defend its WAC Commissioner's Cup since the Bronco women's golf team finished last. The last two hopes for Boise State are the men's and women's track and field teams, which will be competing in the WAC Championships this week.
Much is at stake for Boise
State in this week's Western
Athletic Conference Track & Field Championships, which get underway
Wednesday in Fresno, California. The Bronco men go for their second consecutive
WAC title, while the women will strive to show continued improvement in the
If the Broncos are to repeat, they'll have to topple red-hot
Utah State. The Aggies are projected to score 192 points
to 142 for Boise State. Host Fresno State will also be a factor with
136 projected points with Louisiana Tech (98) and Idaho (82) rounding out the
The Louisiana Tech women once again are favored with 152
points based on the top marks in the conference this season. After that, it could be anyone. Only 13 points separate the #2 seed from #6. Boise
State is projected to get 118
points, with Nevada and Idaho
at 115, Utah State 110 and surging Hawai'i
State is projected to score 83
points with New Mexico State
(22) trailing the field.
This week's championships are doubly important for Boise
State. BroncoCountry has chronicled the race for the
WAC Commissioner's Cup, given annually to
the school with the best overall sports program. Boise
State won the Cup last year, but Nevada
is in line to receive the trophy this year barring some last-month heroics by
the Broncos. For Boise
State to win the Cup, the men's
track team will have to win the title and the women's team will have to finish
three places ahead of Nevada, or
hope for a Wolf Pack collapse in the softball and baseball tournaments .
senior Forest Braden is favored in the 10,000, Ty Axtman is favored in the
1,500, Erik Whittsitt is the runaway top seed in the shot put , sophomore Simon
Wardhaugh will draw the top seed in the hammer while freshman Zacharias Arnos
is the clear favorite in the triple jump.
Any other javelin result other than a 1-2-3 Bronco sweep would be disappointing, as Scott
Viafore, Pontus Thomee and Nate Putnam are the class of the league in that
and Louisiana Tech dominate the sprints.
hopes to steamroll the field in the 1,500 with seeds 2-7 in that event. The Aggies are an up-and-coming conference
power that nearly knocked off the Broncos in the conference indoor
State needs to take care of
business to win the WAC, and get some upsets
as well. The best shot for Coach
Maynard's team is to wrest some of those 1,500-meter points from Utah
State. The Broncos will also have to score well in
the 5,000 and 10,000. Sterling Small
will also play a key role going against several USU
hurdlers in both the 110 and 400-meters.
On the women's side, Tech will use tremendous strength in
the track events to try to devastate the field.
The Lady Bulldogs own the top three times in the 100 meters and the top
four in the 200. Those two events alone
could give Tech 53 points. The Boise
State women, like their male
counterparts, are strongest in the field events, although they could make some
noise in the distance events.
The Broncos' best hopes for gold rest on hammer thrower
Annika Hjelm, Eleni Kafourou in the long jump and triple jump and Becky Guyette in the 5,000
and 10,000. If freshman Theodora Xylaki
can somehow get a high jump title, it would greatly help Boise
State's team chances. Kayleen McDowell is running well in the 800
and a win there would also give the lady Broncos a shot. Realistically, though, the Broncos must find
a way to keep Tech from dominating the sprints.
Boise State's best hopes their rest on Megan Olivetti—unfortunately,
Olivetti has no teammates ranked in the WAC
top ten in either the 100 or the 200.