No. 12 Broncos Return to Tuscaloosa
Feb. 22, 2017
The No. 12 Broncos will face arguably their toughest test of the season this Friday, Feb. 24 when they face off against No. 4 Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Ala., at 6:30 p.m. (MT) in Coleman Coliseum. Boise State took on No. 5 Utah and No. 7 Denver in Salt Lake City on Jan. 20, making this Friday’s meet with the Crimson Tide the third top-10 matchup of the season for the Broncos.
WATCH/FOLLOW: The meet will be televised on ESPN’s SEC Network+. The SEC Network+ can be found on the WatchESPN app or by using the SEC Network Channel Finder that can direct fans to the correct channel information in their zip code with their corresponding TV service providers.
Live results can be found HERE.
BACK TO TUSCALOOSA: Alabama typically packs Coleman Coliseum with over 12,000 fans, but Boise State will have an advantage with having competed there at last year’s NCAA Regional. The Broncos handled the environment well and posted a 195.750 to take third place, just shy of California (195.925) for the last top-two automatic qualifying spot.
The Blue and Orange also faced Alabama on Feb. 13, 2015 on the road, losing to the Tide, 197.800 – 195.450.
SCOUTING THE CRIMSON TIDE: Alabama’s strengths are on balance beam and floor, where they are ranked third in the country on both events with a 49.340 average and a 49.375 average, respectively. Nickie Guerrero (9.920 avg.) and Kiana Winston (9.895 avg.) are both top 10 in the country on beam, as are Winston (9.940 avg.) and Aja Sims (9.895 avg.) on floor.
The Crimson Tide has eclipsed 197 in five of their eight meets with their season high of 197.825 coming against Florida on Feb. 3. They are 4-4 on the season with having faced one of the toughest schedules in the country.
SERIES HISTORY: Boise State has yet to defeat the Tide, as Alabama holds a 7-0 all-time advantage with last year’s NCAA Regional as the most recent matchup.
LAST TIME OUT: Boise State received contributions from all over the roster last Friday night to defeat Utah State 196.700 – 196.300 at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum in Logan, Utah. It was the Broncos’ depth that ultimately propelled them to another exceptional road score and a victory over a conference opponent. Courtney McGregor won the all-around title with a 39.250 and was also victorious on uneven bars with a 9.9. Ann Stockwell nabbed the win on vault with a 9.9, and Sarah Means and Diana Mejia shared the win on balance beam with Utah State’s Melanie Oster after all three earned 9.9s.
The highlights of the night, however, came from Bronco gymnasts who were asked to step up and fill in holes throughout the lineup. Gymnasts such as Mackenzie Bennion posting a 9.8 on vault, Stockwell earning a 9.85 on floor, freshman Maddi Nilson going for a 9.8 on uneven bars and Alex Esmerian (9.625) making her career debut on balance beam all provided a much-needed boost for the Blue and Orange.
RANKED No. 12: The Road To Nationals team rankings for week seven of the 2017 season were announced Monday morning, and the Broncos fell five spots to No. 12 after the ranking system shifted over to the Regional Qualifying Score (RQS) criteria. Boise State possesses a team RQS of 196.330. A team's RQS is calculated by first taking the six best team scores from the regular season, but three of the scores must come from away meets. The last step is eliminating the highest score from the six and averaging the remaining five scores.
While many teams have already competed in as many as eight meets so far this season, Boise State is at somewhat of a disadvantage in this week's RQS rankings with having only competed in six meets. As a result, the Broncos are currently using a 195.300 from the first meet of the season on Jan. 13. With four meets remaining on the regular season schedule, the Broncos will have several opportunities to replace their low score and improve their RQS to regain a spot in the top 10.
MRGC HONORS: McGregor led the way this week with two MRGC weekly honors, capturing the Gymnast of the Week honor after winning the all-around title against the Aggies with a 39.250 and also the Uneven Bars Specialist of the Week honor thanks to a 9.9 - tying a career best. Means and Mejia shared Balance Beam Specialist of the Week honors along with Utah State's Melanie Oster, as all three gymnasts earned a 9.9 on the apparatus. Stockwell put up a season-high 9.9 on vault to become the Vault Specialist of the Week.
BEASTS ON BARS: With Boise State set to lead off on uneven bars against Alabama, the visitors will be starting with the strongest event as they are sixth in the country with a 49.240 average. McGregor (9.875 avg.) is tied for 12th individually and Mejia is close behind in 18th.
GROWTH ON VAULT: After failing to reach a 49.100 or better on vault in the first three meets of the season, the Broncos have responded with a 49.150, a 49.325 and a 49.200 in the last three meets. Mary Frances Bir and her front handspring pike half out has been the most consistent vault on the year for Boise State, as she is tied for 38th in the country at a 9.835 average.
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