Broncos Just Miss No. 14 Illinois, Place Second at Chicago Style Meet

CHICAGO -- The No. 24-ranked Boise State gymnastics team battled through a tough competition on Friday evening, placing second at the 2009 Chicago Style meet held at the Chicago Historic Navy Pier. The Broncos (7-2, 1-0 WAC) finished with a season-high score of 194.775, finishing just behind host and No. 14-ranked University of Illinois who scored a 195.100 to win the meet. No. 27-ranked Michigan State took third overall with a 194.400 while No. 44-ranked Illinois-Chicago placed fourth with a 193.275.


The Broncos put up a good fight, leading much of the meet, but Illinois came back on the final rotation to capture the lead. Boise State had athletes who placed as high as second on bars and beam, third on vault and finished as high as fifth on floor.


"We are gaining momentum with every competition,” said co-head coach Tina Bird. “I'm proud of the way we performed tonight. We still have areas we need to improve but we are proving that the Broncos are a force to be reckoned with."


The Broncos began on floor for their first rotation, posting their second-highest mark of the season on the event, 48.850. Illinois was able to produce a score of 48.850 on vault, while Illinois-Chicago scored a 48.625 on bars and Michigan State a 47.900 on beam, putting the Broncos in a tie for first place after the first rotation. Although the Broncos produced good results on floor, none met or surpassed their season or career-best marks.


Sophomore Kelsey Lang was Boise State’s top finisher on floor placing fifth with a 9.80. Junior Yvette Leizorek and sophomore Sarah Smith tied for ninth with a score of 9.775 while freshmen Fiona Leslie and Lindsay Kazandjian tied for 13th with a 9.750. Junior Ruthie Pennington rounded out the Bronco competitors, placing 17th with a 9.70.


In the second rotation, the Broncos moved to vault and registered a 48.650 on the event for the second-best mark of the season on vault. With two solid event scores under their belts, the Broncos were able to move into the team lead by a small margin. Illinois produced a 48.325 on bars for a running total of 97.675, just short of the Broncos’ 97.500. After the second rotation, Michigan State and Illinois-Chicago shared the third-place spot with running scores of 96.725.


Redshirt freshman Chelsee Apple produced the highest mark on vault for the Broncos for the fourth straight meet, improving her career best by .050 to a 9.90. Apple, who tied for third-place at the meet, becomes the 15th Bronco to ever record a 9.90 (last time was Mar. 7, 2008 by Hannah Redmon) and now ties for 11th in the all-time best scores list on vault for the Broncos. Senior Shaniece Craft was the only other Bronco to improve a season or career-best on vault, tying for sixth and scoring a 9.850 to improve on her former season-best of 9.775. Lang finished with a 9.775, good for 10th while senior Amber Neroes, Pennington and junior Raquel Turnbow placed 20th, 22nd and 24th overall, respectively.


The Broncos proved they are a steady team with good depth on bars, continuing their excellent performances and scoring a season-high of 48.875 on the event. Boise State continued to hold the team lead after three rotations, however, Illinois was able to narrow the lead after an outstanding 48.950 performance on beam. The Broncos maintained the lead with a running score of 146.375 while Illinois was right on their heels at 146.125. Michigan State was able to separate from Illinois-Chicago sitting at third with a 145.750 while UIC had a running total of 144.350 for fourth.


Redshirt junior Taylor Jacob had an excellent competition leading the Broncos and finishing just .025 off her season-best with a 9.850, good for a second-place tie. Redshirt sophomore Katie Tuller tied a career-best of 9.775 to tie for sixth with sophomore Hannah Redmon who was just .10 off her career-best in her second meet back after and injury. Leslie showed a big improvement on her career-best jumping .525 to a 9.775 and placing in a tie for eighth while Kazandjian was able to tie her career-best on bars with a 9.725 performance to pace in a tie for 11th. Senior Ashli Rainboth rounded out the Broncos with a 24th-place finish.


In the final rotation, the Broncos gave their all to hold on to the lead, even scoring a season-best of 48.400 on beam, but Illinois’ 48.975 effort on floor was too much to hold off and the Fighting Illini moved past the Broncos for the team title.


Kazandjian led the Broncos in their final event, posting a career-best by .025 with a 9.825 score to tie for second-place on beam. Leslie was the next finisher for the Broncos, tying for ninth with a career-high of 9.725 (a .025 improvement).


"Lindsay Kazandjian was phenomenal tonight,” said Bird. “For a freshman to step up and shine like she did tonight shows a type of leadership that will take this team far."


Smith posted a season-best by .075 to place in a tie for 11th with a 9.70 while Jacob placed 15th with a 9.625. Neroes posted a season-best of 9.525 to place 18th and freshman Cristy Dahlquist rounded out the Broncos in 20th place with a 9.175.


The Broncos had no all-around competitors at the Chicago Style meet. Illinois’ Marjika Botterman and Michigan State Katlyn Roggensack tied for first on vault with a 9.925. Michigan State’s Rochelle Robinson picked up the bars title with her score 9.90 while Illinois’ Julie Crall earned the beam title with a 9.850 effort. Michigan State’s Emily Lopatofsky snagged the floor title with a 9.875 while Illinois’ Kelsey Jannides captured the all-around title with a 39.125 score.


Although far from home, Coach Bird reported that the Broncos had a good fan base at the Chicago meet.


"We had the loudest and the best fans at the meet,” said Bird. “We want to send out a big thank you to all of our supporters."


The Broncos continue their season on February 15, when they travel to Los Angeles to compete against host school UCLA and WAC opponent Cal State Fullerton. The tri-meet is scheduled for a 3 p.m. (Mountain Time) start.




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