Feb. 3, 2016
Boise State women's soccer inked eight high school standouts to National Letters of Intent Wednesday, head coach Jim Thomas announced. The class is comprised exclusively of student-athletes from three western states: four from California, three from Washington and one from Nevada.
Alexis Baker (Chino Hills, Calif.), Claire Feeney (Arlington, Wash.), Sam Hanawalt (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.), McKenna Kynett (Minden, Nev.), Taylor Osnaya (Oakdale, Calif.), Mikayla Schachtell (Corona, Calif.), Kristina Serres (Mill Creek, Wash.) and Melissa Symmes (Spokane, Wash.) will officially join the Broncos in the summer as freshmen.
The group includes the state of Nevada's all-time goal leader at the big school level, CIF Section finalists, state finalists, track stars, leaders of nationally-ranked high school and club teams and numerous appearances in regional finals at the club level.
"This is our second full recruiting class and you can certainly see a theme of athleticism and pace across all of the signees," said Thomas.
The 2016 signing class was strategically constructed, Thomas noted. He said each member of the incoming group will have opportunities to compete for playing time in their first year, which is something he wants.
"What we have here is a group of freshmen who are all capable of contributing right away," Thomas said. "With the positional requirements that we have and the abilities they have, each of them has a great opportunity. That's something we've endeavored to do within our recruiting: bring in players who have a genuine shot to play as freshmen; continue to develop the squad to make that more difficult; and also schedule the graduations and arrivals of players at particular positions so people have a real shot right away."
Earning minutes right out of the gate is growing considerably harder with each year that passes under Thomas' guidance- also by design. Boise State expects to return 17 members from last year's team, including nine starters.
"I do think we're returning a very, very strong squad, all of whom have a tremendous amount of experience having gone through this same process where they had experience has underclassmen," said Thomas. "The youth of our team is starting to age. While I think the ability is absolutely there for this class to play right away- I think we're going to see for the first time since I've been the head coach- the returning squad is fully versed in the systems and styles we have and will be complemented wonderfully by an incoming group rather than reliant upon them."
Below find biographical information, achievements and awards for each member of the 2016 Boise State women's soccer signing class.
|Alexis (Lexi) Baker|
|Defender | Chino Hills, Calif. (Ayala HS / FC Man United)|
HIGH SCHOOL: Three-year letterwinner at Ruben S. Ayala High School for head coach Matt Hodges...led Ayala to back-to-back Palomares League titles in 2014 and 2015...2013 team Most Improved Player...guided FC Man United to runner-up finish at 2014 Region IV Championship and fourth-place finish at 2013 California Regional...National Honor Society member, Bulldog Scholar-Athlete, Red Cross member and pre-med member.
Head Coach Jim Thomas on Baker: "We are super excited the potential that Lexi brings to us in multiple positions. She has tremendous athleticism, tremendous height and tremendous power. There were few kids that we saw on the recruiting trail that have as good of feet as she does. So the incredible physical tools she has paired with great feet make her a weapon we're going to want to deploy in multiple positions. She's also kind of a hidden gem coming from a smaller club team in Southern California, so we consider ourselves very lucky to have found her and been a good fit for her."
|Defender | Arlington, Wash. (Archbishop Murphy HS / Crossfire ECNL)|
HIGH SCHOOL: Four-year member of varsity squad at Archbishop Murphy High School under head coach Mike Bartley...first-team all-conference and second-team all-state and all-area as a sophomore...second-team all-conference as a freshman...missed junior year with torn ACL...missed half of senior year with illness...set to return to Crossfire ECNL in February...helped Crossfire to runner-up finishes at National ECNL qualifying tournaments at U-15 and U-16 levels...coached by Tim Reynolds on club circuit...previously played for Boise State head coach Jim Thomas in youth career, including runner-up finish at 2012 U-15 Region IV Championship...youth teammates with fellow Boise State signee Kristina Serres...two-year letterwinner in track as a sprinter before knee injury...mother played collegiate soccer and track at Pacific Lutheran.
Head Coach Jim Thomas on Feeney: "Claire is an incredibly imposing central back with great aerial ability. She's a wonderful passer of the ball with great range and a great shooter of the ball over vast distances. We look forward to adding that kind of power in the tackle, in the air and in striking the ball. Claire is another former youth club player who I had the joy to coach. She has since moved on to Crossfire, one of the premier clubs in the country, and had a great deal of success there."
|Defender | Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. (Bonita HS / Arsenal FC ECNL)|
HIGH SCHOOL: Two-year letterwinner at Bonita High School for head coach Lyndsee Bock...second-team all-league defender as a junior...2015 team defensive MVP...led Bonita to CIF playoffs as a sophomore...honorable mention recognition at 2014 Top Drawer Soccer Los Angeles Combine...academic all-league nominee in 2015...two-star recruit according to Top Drawer Soccer.
Head Coach Jim Thomas on Hanawalt: "A Southern California kid with a tremendous amount of pedigree playing for Arsenal in the ECNL. Sam is one of the most intelligent soccer players I've seen at the youth level. She has a great feel for the game and almost plays faster than her physical speed because of her ability to see the field and read the game, understand situations and see where she can take liberties in her movement. I think she will probably gravitate toward the center in the college game, but she has the ability to make great passes from the wide back position as well."
|Forward | Minden, Nev. (Douglas HS / South Tahoe Alliance)|
HIGH SCHOOL: Four-year letterwinner at Douglas High School for coaches Werner Christian, Landon Roser and Lorraine Fitzhugh...finished prep career with 111 goals and 61 assists...set Nevada 4A Division I large school record for career goals...first-team all-league four times...named league Offensive MVP as a sophomore and junior...league Midfielder of the Year as a senior...career highs of 38 goals and 22 assists as a junior...led Douglas to state semifinal appearances in 2014 and 2015...three-year letterwinner in basketball...twice named first-team all-league and all-region on the hardwood.
Head Coach Jim Thomas on Kynett: "Possibly the biggest hidden gem in this class. McKenna is a very creative deep-lying forward who is excellent in the playmaking part of the game and has a ferocious shot with both feet. She's a tremendous close-in finisher as well with a great deal of savvy around the goal. McKenna is a good all-around athlete, in the mold of a Brooke Heidemann, with great agility and coordination. She is going to be a tremendous added dimension to our attack."
|Forward | Oakdale, Calif. (Central Catholic HS / Juventus Zebre )|
HIGH SCHOOL: Three-year letterwinner at Central Catholic High School for coaches Dominic Figueroa and Dalton Duval...twice named first-team all-league forward...three-time team offensive MVP...led CCHS to combined three-year record of 49-9-10...two CIF Section championship appearances...scored more than 20 goals and 10 assists each year...career highs of 28 goals and 15 assists as a junior...team captain as a junior...plays on club circuit for Juventus Zebre under coach Teddy Ciupitu...2015 Magic Cup Champions...finalists at 2014 Magic Cup, 2014 Surf Cup, 2015 Player Showcase, 2014 Nor Cal State Cup...named MVP of Juventus Tournament.
Head Coach Jim Thomas on Osnaya: "Taylor brings a lot of on-ball skill and complex ideas, and she is a very compact athlete with a ton of pace. Prototypically she's a forward- and a goal-scoring one at that- but she can fit into a few different positions for us. She put away a bunch of goals at our summer camp, which was really fun to watch. Taylor has Bronco Nation written all over her with the amount of work she does in the classroom, in her community and will fit right into the culture we have here immediately. She comes from an area of the country we're hoping to get a bigger footprint- the Northern California region."
|Defender | Carson, Calif. (Santiago HS / SoCal Blues)|
HIGH SCHOOL: Three-time first-team all-league defender at Santiago High School for head coach Mike Fleming...was named to Best XI at 2014 Top Drawer Soccer Los Angeles Combine...as a junior led Santiago to league, section and regional titles and No. 3 national ranking from MaxPreps...team finished 26-1-8, winning school's first Southern California title...named first-team All-CIF...team defensive MVP...as a sophomore team finished 22-5-5, winning league title and reaching sectional quarterfinals...first-team All-CIF...as a freshman helped team to league championship and given team's Unsung Hero Award...three-star recruit according to Top Drawer Soccer.
Head Coach Jim Thomas on Schachtell: "Mikayla made a great impact with the Slammers and now jumped over to the SoCal Blues, so she's been a part of two of the best youth clubs in the country and been a star on one of the best high school programs. She comes in with a ton of pedigree and we have high expectations for Mikayla. She's going to come in and vie for a lot of playing time at one of the defensive positions right away and has a lot of upside with how she can develop in the different systems we will play."
|Forward | Mill Creek, Wash. (Jackson HS / Northwest Nationals)|
HIGH SCHOOL: Four-year letterwinner at Jackson High School for coach Jesslyn Kellerman...three-time second-team all-conference selection...honorable mention all-league as a freshman...led Jackson to 2014 WIAA 4A state title game as a junior...three league titles...helped Northwest Nationals to 2015 Northwest Champions League title and berth in ECNL Nationals...member of the principal's honor roll each semester of high school...previously played for Boise State head coach Jim Thomas in youth career, including runner-up finish at 2012 U-15 Region IV Championship...youth teammates with fellow Boise State signee Kristina Serres...mother played collegiate soccer at Western Washington.
Head Coach Jim Thomas on Serres: "Kris is a former player of mine at the club level in Washington that we took to the regional championships the year before I came to Boise. She's a tremendously pacey forward that will rival the likes of Baylee Blaser with her ability to stretch the back line and give teams fits when it comes to cover the space behind them. She can hit a wide range of crosses with a texture that makes finishing very, very easy for forwards and we're excited about the prospect of playing her in a wide position or even in a twin striker set."
|Defender | Spokane, Wash. (Gonzaga Prep HS / Spokane Shadow)|
HIGH SCHOOL: Four-year letterwinner at Gonzaga Prep for coaches Christian Birrer and Billy Barmes...2015 undefeated league champions...advanced to 4A state semifinals...named first-team all-league and honorable mention 4A all-state as defender...team defensive MVP as junior and senior...second-team all-league as a junior...honorable mention all-league as a sophomore...four-year letterwinner in track...four-year regional qualifier in sprints...named school's top female sprinter as sophomore and junior...member of National Honor Society, link crew and leadership committee.
Head Coach Jim Thomas on Symmes: "Melissa continues the theme of tremendous athlete and pace in this class. She's quick. She's a high-level sprinter in both the 100 and 200 for her high school track team. Melissa is an outside back with outstanding tenacity and ability to win the ball. She's deceptively good in the air and a warrior when it comes to tackling. Outside back is an area where we need to get a great deal of depth and is something we have focused on in this class."