Bronco Gymnasts Win Second-Straight WAC Title, Earn Seventh-Best Score in School History

SACRAMENTO, Calif. The Boise State gymnastics team locked in their second-straight Western Athletic Conference team championship on Saturday evening, scoring the seventh-best team score in school history at Sacramento State’s Hornet’s Nest. The No. 23-ranked Broncos scored a team total of 196.525 to win the conference title, shattering their season-best by .300 and topping their closest opponent by 1.175. Along with a team title, the Broncos earned team wins on vault, bars and beam while senior Shaniece Craft and sophomore Kelsey Lang earned titles on vault and balance beam, respectively. Co-head coaches Tina Bird and Neil Resnick were named the WAC Co-Head Coaches of the Year for the second consecutive season. The Broncos improve to 20-5 on the season and hold a 13-1 WAC record for 2009.

 

“We are so very proud of this team and the rest of our team back home who pushed us along the way,” exclaimed co-head coach Tina Bird. “It all just came together tonight and the feeling is magical!”

 

Host-team Sacramento State fought hard for their second-place finish, earning a 195.350 team score. Southern Utah finished in third with 195.175, San Jose State in fourth with 194.875 and Cal State Fullerton in fifth with 192.975. Utah State rounded out the teams with a sixth place finish and a 192.425 team total.

 

The Broncos recorded a pair of season-best team scores, including their 49.100 on the uneven bars and a 49.075 on beam. They registered their second-best score on vault of 49.300 which is tied for the second-best team score all-time on the event while also recording their fifth-best team score on floor with a 49.050.

 

“Last year we backed into a win at WAC Championships with a poor performance on the beam,” said co-head coach Neil Resnick. “This year we completely dominated that event, earning a season-high and sealing our second-consecutive WAC title.”

 

Craft could not have written a better ending to her conference career, earning her second career WAC title on vault after earning her first as a freshman. The Littleton, Colo., native not only earned the title, but bettered her career-high to a 9.925. Her score ranks her in a tie for No. 7 all-time in Boise State scores and ties her for sixth in all-time career vault wins with nine. Craft’s win marked the 13th conference title on vault in school history. Craft also earned her second career First-Team All-WAC honor with her win on Saturday.

 

Lang notched her first career conference title ever, winning the beam and improving her career-best by .050 to a 9.950. The mark ties her for fourth-best in Boise State all-time beam scores as well as marking the ninth conference title on beam in school history. The Langley, British Columbia, Can., native notched her second win on beam this season as well as her first career First-Team All-WAC title.

 

“Kelsey was a superstar tonight on beam,” said Bird. “She showed such poise and confidence and I couldn’t be happier that she is the WAC Champion.”

 

The Broncos began their first rotation on floor exercise, where sophomores Hannah Redmon and Sarah Smith led the team tying for second-place with a 9.875. Redmon earned her second-consecutive First-Team All-WAC honor on the event, while Smith improved on her Second-Team All-WAC finish from last season. Lang just missed out on the all-conference honors, placing in a three-way tie for eighth with a score of 9.825. Junior Yvette Leizorek scored a 9.775 to tie for 15th-place while freshmen Fiona Leslie (9.70) and Lindsay Kazandjian (9.675) rounded out the Bronco squad with 26th and 28th-place finishes.

 

Moving to what has been their strong event this season, the Broncos moved to vault, placing first and second with Craft leading the way. Redshirt-freshman Chelsee Apple snagged a second-place finish, tying her career-best of 9.90. Redmon finished close behind with a 9.850 and a tie for fifth-place while Leizorek tied for ninth also tying her career-best of 9.825. Junior Ruthie Pennington notched a 12th-place finish after tying her career-best on the event while senior Amber Neroes rounded out the team with a 9.775, good for a tie for 16th-place.

 

With a comfortable team lead, the Broncos advanced to the uneven bars where Redmon and sophomore Mallory Dziawura held the lead on the event until the final rotation of the meet. The pair tied for second-place, scoring a 9.875 on the apparatus. Redmon tied her career-best on bars while Dziawura bettered her career-high with the mark. Redshirt-sophomore Katie Tuller earned a Second-Team All-WAC honor with her sixth-place tie and tying her career-best of 9.825 on bars. Redshirt-junior Taylor Jacob earned a 9.80, good for a ninth-place tie while Neroes tied for 16th-place with her score of 9.725. Senior Ashli Rainboth completed the Bronco bar squad, finishing in 26th-place with a 9.625 score.

 

In their final rotation, the Broncos knew they needed a steady performance to maintain their pace for a season-best score. A pair of sophomores did more than that with Dziawura competing in the No. 3 spot for the Broncos and posting a 9.90, shattering her career-best by .075. Dziawura set the bar high, however, Lang was able to surpass, improving her career-best by .050 to earn the event title. Dziawura earned sole possession of the second-place spot with her career-best score as well as her second First-Team All-WAC honor. Kazandjian earned her first career Second-Team All-WAC honor with her tie for fifth-place and a 9.825 score. Smith and Jacob tied for 18th-place with their 9.70 scores while Neroes earned a 9.650 to tie for 21st-place on beam.

 

As a team, the Broncos recorded the best vault score in school history at a conference championship as well as the second-best Boise State conference meet score overall and on beam. Their floor performance was good for fifth-best all-time in conference meet competitions as well as an eighth-best effort on floor.

 

Individually, Lang’s 9.950 on beam tied for the best conference meet score in school history while Craft’s 9.925 tied for the fourth-best conference meet score in Bronco history on vault. Apple’s 9.90 on vault tied for fifth-best while Dziawura tied for the fifth-best conference meet score on beam and ninth-best conference meet score on vault in Boise State history.

 

Sacramento State’s Amber Basgall earned the uneven bars title, scoring a 9.90 on the event. San Jose State’s Thomasina Wallace snagged the floor exercise title with her score of 9.90, capturing the title in the final rotation of the meet. Southern Utah’s Elise Wheeler captured the all-around title with a score of 39.325. Wallace was named the 2009 WAC Freshman of the Year, while Wheeler earned the 2009 WAC Gymnast of the Year honor.

 

Boise State improves their Regional Qualifying score from a 195.215 to a 195.590, which would have ranked them No. 17 in the most recent GymInfo.com poll released on Mar. 16. Taking next weekend off from competition, the Broncos await the assignment of which NCAA regional meet they will be attending. All regional meets will take place on April 4.

 

First-Team All-WAC:

Chelsee Apple Vault

Shaniece Craft Vault

Mallory Dziawura Bars, Beam

Kelsey Lang Beam

Hannah Redmon Bars, Floor

Sarah Smith Floor

 

Second-Team All-WAC:

Lindsay Kazandjian Beam

Hannah Redmon Vault

Katie Tuller Bars

 

WAC Co-Head Coaches of the Year:

Neil Resnick and Tina Bird

 

WAC Event Champions:

Shaniece Craft Vault

Kelsey Lang - Beam

 

 

 


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