The Best Winter Sports Year In Bronco History

Blue Thunder. Orange Lightning. The Perfect Bronco Storm has definitely begun. Last year, the Boise State football team shocked the world in beating mightly Oklahoma. This year, the Broncos are compiling the best winter sports season in school history.

2008 will go down as the best winter sports year for Boise State in school history.  It will be the benchmark in which all future Bronco teams will aspire to.  No less than four Boise State teams are currently ranked in the national top 25 in their respective sports and two other teams are in the thick of the race for Western Athletic Conference titles.  While drivers throughout the West have struggled with snow, blowing snow and icy roads, Boise State is winning like never before.

The Bronco men's track team leads the way, ranked #4 in the country by the United States Track and Field Coaches.  Boise State is behind only Arkansas, Tennessee and Oklahoma.  Boise State triple jumper Ryan Grinnell owns the best triple jump in the nation with a leap of 53 feet, 9.75 inches and has already qualified for the NCAA Championships.  Grinnell also has set provisional qualifying marks of 7'6" in the high jump and 25-1 in the long jump.  Simon Wardhaugh (69-7) and Jarrod Stevens (66-8.75) both set provisional marks in the weight throw.  Wardhaugh ranks second in the nation in the event while Stevens is seventh.  Savvas Diakonikolas recorded two more standards--in the long jump with the second best mark in Bronco indoor history 25.748 feet and in the triple jump with a leap of 50-11. 

In addition, Heigo Nurmsalu is the new #1 in the school record book for the heptathlon, as the sophomore accumulated 5,332 points. 

Boise State's gymnasts are #18 in the nation as ranked by GymInfo.  Individually, Lindsay Ward is ranked 22nd in the uneven bars, Hannah Redmon is 27th on floor exercises and Amy Glass is ranked #32 in vault.


 The Bronco wrestling team is ranked 21st by  W.I.N. Magazine and is 28th in InterMat's latest rankings.  Kirk Smith is ranked 9th in the nation by Intermat in the 184-pound division, Adam Hall is 11th in the 149-pound division, Tyler Sherfey is 12th at 157 pounds and Kurt Swartz is 16th at 165. 


Coach Greg Patton's indoor tennis team is ranked #25 in the nation by College Tennis Online. The Broncos are one of 16 teams competing in the National Indoor Tennis Championship in two weeks. Clancy Shields is ranked as the 19th best player in America, with brother Luke Shields 47th.  Paul Koenke and Eric Roberson are ranked 41st in doubles.


Plus, you have two strong contenders for WAC titles in the Boise State men's and women's basketball teams.  The Bronco men are 16-5 this season, behind only Utah State in the WAC.  Boise State leads the nation in field goal percentage, shooting 51.6%, and is ranked ninth nationally  in both scoring (83.1 points per game) and assists (18.3 per game). Forwards Reggie Larry and Matt  Nelson are the #2 rebounding duo in the nation.  The Boise State women's team is 15-6, also second in the WAC and just one-half game behind Fresno State.  The Lady Broncos are 23rd  in scoring (74.2 points per game) and 16th in three-pointers per game (7.0).


In 2008, all six sports are performing ahead or near their all-time best.  The Bronco track team's best finish at the NCAA Championships was eighth in 1988, the best gymnastics finish was 14th in the country in 1997 and the best tennis finish was #4 in 1997.  The Bronco women's basketball team has won three conference titles in 1992, 1994 and 2006 and went to the NCAA's in 1994 and last season.  The Boise State men's basketball team enjoyed their best season in 1987-88, winning the Big Sky and ranking as high as 23rd in the country.


Bronco success in each of these sports is not new.  What is different is that all of these Boise State teams are enjoying success simultaneously.  There are several reasons that the first effects of the Perfect Bronco Storm are starting to be felt.  As the area has grown, the Broncos have attracted more fans and more dollars to reinvest in the program.  Athletic Director Gene Bleymaier has positioned high-quality coaches heading each team.  The 2007 Fiesta Bowl win by the football team and the national notoriety that it attracted certainly has had an effect.  A commitment to summer school scholarships set in place five years ago has paid great dividends.


Last year, the Bronco women's basketball team and the men's tennis team won WAC titles (with the tennis team ranked #16), but the men's basketball team finished fifth, the wrestling squad was ninth in the Pac-10 and the gymnastics team finished last in the WAC.


In 1997, the Boise State tennis team was ranked as high as #2 in the nation, the Bronco gymnasts won the Big Sky and were ranked 14th in the country and the men's basketball team finished fourth in the Big West.  In 1999, the Bronco wrestling team was second in the Pac-10 and finished 10th nationally and the Boise State gymnasts and men's basketball team came home with conference titles.  In 2004, Boise State won the Pac-10 in wrestling was ranked 30th in men's tennis and finished third in men's basketball.  The Bronco gymnasts, however, were seventh that season while the women's basketball team was ninth.  In 2006, the Boise State tennis team was ranked 28th and the Boise State wrestling and gymnastics teams won league titles, but the women's basketball team was sixth in the WAC and the men's basketball team was seventh.


We are a month or two from finding out where each of the 2008 Bronco teams will finish the year in the conference standings and national championships.  All have legitimate title hopes and berths in national tournaments.  The new motto at Boise State should be "When the snow falls, Bronco success goes up!"



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