The hiring of J.W. Hardy as head coach of Boise State's cross country team has Bronco fans excited about the prospects. Hardy is famous among cross country runners having produced several national top-10 teams at Northern Arizona. A deep stable of talented runners will benefit greatly. The Bronco team is busy preparing for their first home meet Saturday, September 12 in Nampa.
Given his tremendous credentials, BoiseState cross country coach J.W.
Hardy might be expected to work immediate wonders.While Hardy expects his group to show improvement this year, his
influence will be more felt in the recruiting season, when young talent will be
eager to join the Broncos under his tutelage.
The Bronco men are already at the stage of being competitors
for the Western Athletic Conference title after finishing second a year ago.Even that is light years away from what Hardy has in store for the BoiseState team.The women finished fifth last year in Las Cruces and lose star Breanna
Sande to graduation.Sande was the
only Bronco woman to land in the top 20 last year, placing second, and the best
returning starter was 28th.The
Bronco women have a long ways to go.
No worries, though.Hardy
will get them kick-started in short order.
This is a young and talented Bronco men's team, as all
their top student-athletes will be back this fall.Cameron Lockard and Kameron Ulmer are the only seniors and Sawyer Bosch,
Scott Foley and Kevin Higgs represent the junior class.The other 11 Broncos on the cross country team are underclassmen.
Lockard, a senior from KootenaiHigh School, placed 18th at
the WAC Championships last year with a time of 27:01.90.He ran top-25 finishes at the Roger Curren (fifth place) and Bob Firman
Sophomore Brian Pierre is quickly becoming a fan favorite
not only in men's track, where he was third last year at the league
championships in the 5,000 meters and second in both the 3,000 and 5,000 the
year before, but in cross country.
made the All-WAC cross country team as a freshman following his fifth-place
finish at the conference championships.
's best time of 24:51 last season earned him sixth at the Santa Clara Invite.All told,
recorded five top-10 finishes last season including wins at the Firman and
The sky is the limit for Pierre, who indeed has a bright
future ahead of him.He was the
right man in the right place when Hardy came to
—expect Brian to blossom in the next three years.
Bosch is a former BorahHigh School star who is making a name
for himself at the collegiate level.Bosch
was named to the All-WAC second team last season, was named WAC Athlete of the
Week once, recorded the top collegiate time at the Willamette Invite (24:51) and
placed second at the Santa Clara Invitational with a personal best of 24:39.
Sawyer also picked up a WAC title in the 3,000 meters at the
Indoor Track Championships and finished second in the 5,000.
But Bosch is expected to be a leader for the cross country
team and return to his 2007 form, when he recorded six
top-20 finishes in seven races, including a seventh-place performance at the WAC
Championships that earned him All-WAC.
Foley is another talent
has high hopes for.He was named to
the second team last year with an 11th place finish at the league
was evidenced by a huge improvement from 24th in 2007.He was also ninth at the Firman Invite.
star Kevin Higgs garnered second-team All-WAC last season following a 13th-place
finish at the conference championships.That's
a slight improvement from 15th in 2007 but expect Higgs to also make
great progress under Hardy.Kevin
was fourth at the Firman Invitational last season.He ran the 8 kilometer course in
in 25:52 and clocked a time of 31:50.50 in the 10k at the NCAA West Regional
Championships.Higgs has six career
top-15 cross country finishes to his credit.
Cassidy Bigsby is a sophomore by way of
, who should grow this fall as well.Bigsby
had two top-25 finishes last season, with an 11th-place showing at
the Curren meet (19:52.34).
Quinten Hennekam comes to
all the way from
, where he was a two-time national champion in the under-18 1,500 meters.Hennekam ran in three meets last season including the NCAA West Regional,
but his top finish was 14th at the Curren meet (20:08.78).
Freshman Austin Edwards redshirted last year and is eager
to show new coach Hardy what he can do.
Seven recruits are coming in this fall to give a fresh look
to the Bronco team.
Zach Elliott shows great promise as a highly-regarded
all-conference performer at
.Elliott was one of the team's
stars with three wins and six top-five finishes as a senior.Zach helped Crater win the 5A Oregon State Championship with a
third-place finish (16:00.4) in
.Elliott is also familiar to the
as he competed in the Firman Invitational as a junior.
Logan Fredrickson is a recruit from
.Frederickson finished 15th
in the Idaho High School State Cross Country Championships as a freshman, a race
won by new Bronco teammate Bosch when Sawyer was a freshman.Frederickson has been focusing more on track at
, finishing sixth in the 800 at the '08 State Championships.
Jeff Howard, competing for North Central High
School in Spokane, was one of four seniors who helped his school to its third
consecutive state title, a runaway win in the western regional championship
(winning the individual title), a #1 national ranking and then backed that up by
becoming the first northwest high school to capture a national championship
despite Howard suffering the flu a day earlier.Battling the effects of the virus,
Howard still managed to finish 24th in the national championships to
help his team capture the title.North
Central won the championship over legendary YorkHigh School from Illinois, which has won 30 consecutive state cross
Howard picked up
his only career win (North Central teammate Andrew Kimpel usually won that
honor)in front of interested Boise State recruiters, who no doubt were clamoring to land the prized recruit
following his victory.Howard won
the Northwest Regional finals right here in Boise with a time of .
To say that
Bronco fans are excited about Howard is putting it mildly.
Charlie Petrie is another promising recruit from
.Petrie finished sixth in the 4A
California State Cross Country Championships (
) last year, improving his time by 22 seconds from the year before.It was Petrie's third straight appearance at the state championships
and he concluded his high school career as the top cross country runner in Oaks
Christian history.Petrie also won
the 3,200 (9:34.5) to help his team to a conference track championship last
Kevin Rosaaen (
) finished third at the Washington State Cross Country Championship in 2007 and
then navigated the course at the 2008 Northwest Regional Finals in
to a third-place finish in
, just four seconds behind fellow 2009 Bronco recruit Jeff Howard.Rosaaen also recorded two top-six finishes the last two seasons at the
4A Track Championships in the 5,000-meters, with a time of
Zach Wiles has a personal best of 15:40.05 in the 5,000 and
placed eighth at the Ohio State Cross Country Championships (15:55.16).Wiles placed second at the Ohio State High School Track Championships in
the 3,200-meters with a time of 9:21.49.
Ethan Slight (Cody High School, Wyoming) also joins the
Bronco team this fall with a good deal of credentials.Slight won the 1,600-meters at the
3A State Championships two years in a row, and all he did last year was win the
800, 1,600, and 3,200 and help the 4 x 400-meter relay team finish second.His personal best in the 3,200 is 10:04.99.
star Carly Gerard is
's top returning finisher at the WAC Championships (28th).She placed in the top 20 three times last year, highlighted by a
fifth-place finish at the Curren Invite.Gerrard
was 21st in the 2007 WAC Championships with a time of 17:50.94.
Karleigh Gempler, a sophomore
from Boise's BorahHigh School, finished 31st at the WAC Championships
and represents one of the top two returning student-athletes to the team.Gempler was 30th at the Santa Clara meet.Gempler
will have to step it up this fall to help lead the Bronco team.
Sophomore Melody Braden has two
top-25 finishes to her credit with a 15th-place showing at the Curren
Invite (15:45.90) and a #24 performance at the Firman Invitational.
local product to keep an eye on is MeridianHigh School alum Shea Hanson.Hanson enters her sophomore season, coming off a 13th-place
finish at the Curren Invite (15:40.31).She
finished ninth in the mile at the WAC Indoor Championships and seventh in the
3000-meter steeplechase at the Outdoor WAC Championships.
Junior Katherine Gallagher did
well at the WAC Track Championships last spring, finishing ninth in the 800.She hopes to extend herself at the much-longer cross country events over
the next two months.Gallagher was
20th at the Curren Invite (15:57.06).
Alexandria Bell, a junior from Salinas, California, enjoyed her best performance (26th) at
the Curren Invitational last year with a time of 15:57.06.
Sophomore Kacie Bitzenburg from
hopes to be more of a force this fall after action in two meets last season.
Junior Ariel Hopewell from EagleHigh School ran in two events last season, recording a #32 finish
at the Curren Invite.
Sophomore Paige Orcutt is beginning to mature as a runner
and will be greatly helped by the addition of Hardy to the Bronco staff.She was 39th at the Curren Invite.
Junior Layna Oyervides from WeiserHigh School redshirted last year and is chomping at the bit to
see what she can do with the Bronco program.
Senior Heidi Suder saw limited
action last season and hopes to help the Bronco team this fall.Adding to the depth are junior Breanne Whitlock and sophomores Kristi
Pace from West Linn, Oregon, Jennifer Stenga and Kendra MacLean, who
joins the Bronco cross country team this fall after helping the Boise State
swimming team as a freshman.
Former Bronco head coach Mike
Maynard brought in the best recruiting class in school history last year and
they may make an immediate impact on the team.Shannon Porter from HockinsonHigh School in Brush Prairie, Washington, won both the 2A CrossCountryState title and the 3,200 at the Washington Track
Championships.She has a top mile
time of 5:07.33 and a best of 10:49.46 in the 3,000.
Medford, Oregon product Piper Delaney was seventh at last year's
Oregon State Cross Country Championships.Delaney
recorded a 1,500-meter time of 4:46.95 and covered 3,000 meters in .
Lacie Wheeler-Anderson ran a
22:34.19 at the 2007 Idaho High School Championships and the recent WoodRiverHigh School graduate is ready to show what she can do at the
Jenny Geyer comes to BoiseState from EagleHigh School.Geyer
ran in the 3k run at the Firman Invitational in 2007.Jessica Atkinson also joins the program this fall.
Hardy also has the services of distance coach Brad Wick.Wick joins the Broncos after serving as the assistant coach for the
men's cross country and distance track team at the University of Minnesota for three years. While
working with the Gophers, he assisted in coaching five cross country
All-Americans and an eighth place team finish at the 2007 NCAA Cross Country
outlook for the future of cross country at BoiseState could not be better, and
the Broncos will begin proving that this fall.BoiseState has five meets scheduled
over the next two months.The season
goes very quickly before the WAC Championships in Reno on October 31.The annual Curren and Firman Invitationals take place Saturday, September
12 in Nampa and the 26th in
Eagle, respectively.Then it's off
to Salem, Oregon for the Willamette meet on October 3rd
and the Santa Clara Invite on October 17th before returning home to Caldwell for the College of Idaho meet on October 22nd.