2011 Boise State Gymnastics Season Outlook
"This is the strongest team we've ever had and we are returning all but three routines from 2010," explained co-head coach Neil Resnick. "Coupling our returners with our talented freshman class, we are projected for some of our best-ever results."
National coaches agree on the Broncos' potential, ranking Boise State as the No. 18 team in the 2011 NACGC/W Preseason National Coaches' Poll. The Broncos were also named the favorite to top the WAC this season.
The team's highest-ever preseason ranking comes off of a springboard from the 2010 season, returning five starters from each event last season. On vault the team adds two talented gymnasts to the lineup, while also introducing some unique elements and advanced dismounts in their uneven bars routines. The balance beam lineup offers some of the team's most difficult routines ever, as well as adding captivating floor routines with upgraded tumbling.
"We have a solid team this season and we are looking to do what we always do and that's making Bronco history and breaking records," said co-head coach Tina Bird of the team's 2011 goals. "We want to recapture the WAC Championship meet title, repeat as the regular season WAC Champions and advance to the NCAA national meet as a team. On top of all of our athletic goals, we also want to continue our outstanding successes in the classroom."
The Broncos have worked hard during the season and off-season to achieve these goals, improving their strength training, nutrition and overall health to excel toward their goals.
"We really want to thank our trainer Keita Shimada and weight coach Jeff Jones for their hard work with the team," said Bird. "They have really helped give our team that extra edge."
"This was our first recruiting class, so it's a little sentimental," said Bird. "They have brought dominance and dedication to the program and led by example through hard work. Their goal is to make the NCAA [National Championship] meet as a team."
A keystone of the senior class is all-arounder Hannah Redmon (Sparks, Nev.) who has made the most prominent impact on the Bronco record books. After becoming the first active Bronco to qualify for the NCAA National Championships in 2010, Redmon looks to return to the championship meet with her team as a senior year goal. She also returns as a four-time WAC Champion, including her 2010 floor exercise title.
"Hannah is always a leader and has become our franchise athlete," said Resnick. "Year-by-year she has added skills and has continued to grow."
Working with Redmon are four diligent classmates striving for the same goal. Katie Tuller (Las Vegas, Nev.) adds talent and reliability on bars, an event she specializes in.
"Tully is a dedicated, hard-working athlete who exemplifies work ethic and dedication," said Resnick. "She is a prankster adding some fun, but she is always pulling her weight in the gym and her motive is pure."
Sarah Smith (Bakersfield, Calif.) is a powerful performer who began her career as a floor and beam specialist. Throughout her career she has continued to grow, adding vault to her resume'.
"Sarah has been a sponge while she's been here," said Bird. "She has developed from a specialist to a multi-event gymnast, including the addition of her world class vault. She is tough, an enforcer, and fierce, but really cares about her team."
Adding three years of experience on bars and beam, Mallory Dziawura (Phoenix, Ariz.) brings steadfastness to the team. She adds hard work and elegant gymnastics to the dynamic of the team.
"Mallory is fun to work with, she always tries her best," said Resnick. "She is a beautiful gymnast and is always up for a good joke at practice."
Kelsey Lang (Langley, B.C., Canada) is arguably the team's most solid on the balance beam providing the Broncos with leadership on the event. She has also been a key contributor on floor exercise and vault throughout her career.
Bird said, "Kelsey won't settle for less than her best. She is our 'beam queen', our go-to kid on the beam. She is a delight and she loves what she's doing which always shows in her demeanor."
Leading the way with the most experience of the juniors is redshirt Amy Glass (Vacaville, Calif. ) who returned in 2010 for a very successful season in the all-around. The 2010 NCAA West Region Athlete of the Year returned after a season-ending neck injury in 2009, surprising many with her quick recovery and improved skills and difficulty in 2010. Glass also brings with her the experience of winning a WAC title on beam in 2010.
"Amy is beyond a comeback kid," said Bird. "She goes on like nothing happened and has exceeded our expectations on every event. She is a stoic, quiet leader and her past injury reminds us that every day is a blessing. This season she will be exciting to watch since she has added difficulties to all four of her events."
Lindsay Kazandjian (Las Vegas, Nev.) returns as a force for the Broncos on beam, bars and floor.
Resnick said, "Lindsay has been maturing a lot this past year and has added new skills on all three events. She should have one of the most difficult beam routines in the country this season. We expect great things from her this year."
A beam and floor specialist, Cristy Dahlquist (Tucson, Ariz.) adds depth and talent to the team's two events.
"Cristy works really hard every day," said Bird. "It shows because she has made great strides over the summer and is much stronger and more fit this season. She is poised to make her way as a constant in the beam and floor lineups."
Returning from a season-ending injury, redshirt junior Chelsee Apple (Las Vegas, Nev.) has been spending time on bars over the summer and looks to be a late season factor on the event.
"She could be really good on bars," said Resnick. "We will just have to see what the season brings and how strong she gets, but she is always positive and has a great outlook on things. She is a really neat kid to have in the gym and is a reminder to all of us why we do gymnastics."
Bringing back the most experience of the class is Hailey Gaspar (Los Alamitos, Calif.) who has been a big factor for the team on vault, while also a major contributor on beam and floor.
"Hailey is fiercely competitive, no one competes better than she does," said Resnick. "She is a huge talent and will bring great things to the team this year."
Lacee Lang (Sparks, Nev.) looks to join the lineups on bars and beam this season after a solid freshman year and summer of training on both events.
Bird said, "Lacee has huge amplitude and dynamic skills helping her to be a big factor on bars and beam this season."
Another big factor from the 2010 season, Brittany Potvin-Green (San Antonio, Texas) will look to add to her successes on vault, bars and floor.
"Brittany might be our most physically talented athlete," said Resnick. "She is explosive and her gymnastics is pretty. She has matured a great deal and could be a big factor on three, maybe even four events."
Adding talent on bars and beam, Erin Wippermann (Auburn, Calif.) looks to make an impact this season. Her biggest opportunity will be on bars, an event she has worked hard on over the summer.
"Erin is technically precise, fundamentally excellent and very good mechanically," said Resnick. "She looks to add a major release on bars this season which should be fun. Not only is she a great gymnast, but an unbelievable student."
Alessandra Cinfio (Chicago, Ill.) brings talent on bars, beam and floor, however she will likely make her biggest impact on beam as a freshman.
"Alessandra is very skilled on beam," explained Bird. "She has elongated, beautiful lines and has become stronger which will help throughout the season."
Looking to join Cinfio as an immediate impact on beam is Bekah Gher (Surprise, Ariz.) who will likely become a four-event gymnast as she gains strength and experience.
"Bekah was a [Level 10] national qualifier in 2009 and 2010 where she placed fourth and tenth on beam," said Resnick. "She is very talented and could break into the lineup on all four events as a freshman."
Amanda Otuafi (Sparks, Nev.) and Kristen Lieberman (Lake Forest, Ill.) will immediately impact the vault and floor lineups while looking to add one or two more events each to their repertoires.
"Amanda is an explosive, dynamic athlete and will be an immediate factor on vault and floor," said Bird. "She has great technique, beautiful dance and a classic gymnastics look."
Resnick added, "Kristen is physically the toughest kid we've ever coached. She is improving everyday and is working to add bars along with her vault and floor. She has been the most improved this fall."
Joining the Broncos at the semester, Kelsey Black (Cottonwood, Calif.) graduated high school one semester early to begin her collegiate career in January 2011. Black will likely compete in the all-around for the Broncos.
"Kelsey is our secret weapon," exclaimed Bird. "She has a lot of talent and potential and looks to compete in three to four events. She is beautiful, quick, elegant, dynamic, the total package."
Although the start to its season proves to be a tough test, the team also faces five talented WAC teams throughout the regular season and a handful of tough competitors from the West. They cap the regular season with the WAC Championships (Mar. 19) in San Jose, Calif., followed by hopeful trips to the NCAA regional (Apr. 2) and NCAA nationals (Apr. 15-17).
Resnick said, "Our first three meets will be an incredible test of character for our team. It will be great to compete on their turf and it will be our first trip to an SEC (Southeastern Conference) team and it will only bring out the best in us."
Bird added, "As far as our conference season goes, Southern Utah is again the team for us to beat. We compete against them in our second-to-last meet and it will be a great tune-up for the postseason. We really strive to finish our regular season in the top-16 nationally to earn a seed to the NCAA Regional round. Qualifying as a team for the NCAA nationals for the first time is also a big goal for this season."
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