Red Hot Broncos Melt Winter Away

Don't look now, but the Boise State winter teams are putting together seasons that might surpass even last year. Six of the Broncos' nine teams are ranked in the top 30 and two have already won conference championships.

With the scorching success of Boise State's student-athletes this winter, it's no wonder that temperatures will hit 60 next week in the Treasure Valley.  

Last year, BroncoCountry showed how the winter of 2008 was the best sports year for Boise State in school history, the benchmark to compare future Boise State teams.  You can now make a strong case for the winter of 2009 surpassing it.  Consider the following.

Four Bronco teams either are currently ranked or finished in the Top 25.  The wrestling team is ranked as high as #7 in the country and could finish in the top 10 at the NCAA National Championships next week.  They have a real shot at recording their best-ever finish.  Andrew Hochstrasser is ranked fourth individually (InterMat) at 133 pounds, Kirk Smith is fourth at 184, Adam Hall is seventh at 157, Nate Lee is 13th at 174, Jason Chamberlain is 16th at 149 and Tyler Sherfey is 18th at 165. 

 The women's gymnastics team is currently #23 and with the ninth-best performance in school history last night, could land in the Top 20 next week.

The men's track team was ranked as high as #20 this year and finished just outside the Top 25 at #27.  Ryan Grinnell in the high jump and Simon Wardhaugh in the weight throw both earned All-America status.  They scored a dramatic win in the Western Athletic Conference Indoor Championships to regain their title.  The women's track team finished #19 at the NCAA National Championships this weekend.  Eleni Kafourou won the national individual title in the long jump Friday and followed that up with an All-American award Saturday in the triple jump.  Boise State made a serious run at winning their first WAC title, finishing just eight points behind Louisiana Tech.

The women's tennis team was ranked #25 two weeks ago and just recorded their sixth consecutive victory over Washington State.  The men's tennis team coached by Greg Patton has threatened to make the Top 25 on several occasions this year but thus far hasn't been able to crack the barrier.

The Boise State swimming team finished the year with their best finish at the WAC Championships (7th) in only their second year.

The wrestlers were ranked 21st last season, dominated the Pac-10 Conference, and finished 24th at the NCAA National Championships.  The current Bronco team has vastly improved and not only once again dominated the Pac-10 but set an all-time record at the conference championships.  They should dramatically improve upon the #24 finish last year.

Last year, the men's track team was ranked as high as #4 but finished 30th after several disappointing performances at the NCAA National Championships.  Overall, the men did slightly better this season.

The Bronco gymnasts were ranked as high as #18 by GymInfo last season.  They captured the WAC title and went to the NCAA Regionals but could not qualify for the Nationals.  Can the 2009 Bronco team top them?  They are again one of the favorites for the conference championship.

Coach Greg Patton's indoor tennis team was ranked in the Top 25 last season and made the Indoor National Championships.  However, they were eliminated in the semifinals of the WAC Championships.  This year's Bronco team has not cracked the Top 25 is ranked #25 in the nation by College Tennis Online and they did not qualify for the Indoor Nationals.  They can top last year's squad if they can recapture the WAC title.

The basketball teams didn't come through this year with early exits in the WAC tournaments and would be the main argument why 2008 was a better winter.  Those two teams along with the swim team are the only Boise State teams to not be ranked in the national Top 30.

 While four teams were ranked in the Top 25 in the winter of 2008, two finished there--the women's gymnastics team and the wrestling squad.  The Broncos did set a standard of four conference championships, capturing the Pac-10 wrestling title and WAC championships in gymnastics and men's and women's basketball. 

While the basketball teams did not come through this year, and there are various reasons for that, the rest of the Bronco winter teams will finish as strong or stronger than last year.  They will not match last year's mark of four conference titles but Boise State could finish the winter with three.  Further, no less than four Bronco teams are ranked in the Top 25 and six in the Top 30.  Plus, the women's indoor track team finished third, a far better performance than last season and the swimming team made some serious inroads this year in their second season. 

Just as last year, the strongest indicator for success is where the Boise State teams finish.  But the Broncos' winter teams the past two years have elevated their national status.

If you're a Bronco fan, winters are not tough to go through after all.

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