BOISE, Idaho-Boise State swimming and diving used 1-2-3 sweeps in the final two individual events to claim a victory against Western Athletic Conference rival Northern Arizona in the closest traditional dual meet in school history, 162-138, Saturday, in Flagstaff, Ariz.
"I'm so proud of this team and the way we conquered the challenges in front of us today," said head coach Kristin Hill. "It was a complete team effort and it was really fun to win a close meet."
With the meet hanging in the balance, and the diving scores still to be added, junior Amber Boucher led a furious Bronco assault on the 100-meter butterfly. Boucher earned the win in a time of 1:03.34, and was followed by sophomore teammates Christine Raininger (1:05.68) and Shanelle Choi (1:05.78).
Still it was not enough to put the Lumberjacks away, so Raininger returned to the pool for the very next event, the 200-meter individual medley. The Ajax, Ontario, native ran away with the win as she clocked the fastest times in the first three legs and finished in 2:24.08. Following Raininger was junior Morgan McLain with a time of 2:27.41 and senior Tara Hahto in 2:27.71 for the Bronco sweep.
The performance in the 200 IM wrapped up the dual victory for the Broncos, but for good measure Boise State closed the meet with a win by nearly two seconds in the 200-meter freestyle relay.
Boise State began the meet with a dominating win in the 400-meter medley relay. The Broncos took the lead on a fast third leg from Boucher, and junior Stephanie North kept the momentum going through the finish.
"Our plan was to get off to a great start with the 400 medley relay and keep it rolling," Hill said. "Amber Boucher had an incredible butterfly leg that set Stephanie up for a lead going into the freestyle, but Stephanie increased that lead by quite a bit to win."
North anchored both relays and helped in the individual events, as well. North picked up wins the 50-meter freestyle and 100-meter freestyle, bringing her season total to eight individual victories.
The meet was held in a short-course meters pool at high altitude. No adjustments were made to the times.
"We all knew we'd be challenged swimming at 7000 feet altitude and competing short-course meters rather than yards," Hill said. "But the key to this meet was to rise up as a team and meet the challenge."
Also standing out for the Broncos were seniors Kelly Forrester and Erin Stotts, sophomore Lily Donohue and freshman Chelsea Miller. Forrester won the 100-meter breaststroke, and Miller used a strong kick to take second place, out-touching third place by one one-hundredth of a second. Miller also picked up her second-career victory with a win in the 200-meter breaststroke. She was followed by Stotts in second place. Donohue finished second in the 200-meter backstroke, pushing defending WAC Champion-NAU's Fi Connell-all the way to the final leg.
Divers Take on Day Two at Wildcat Diving Invitational
Freshman Ciera Cortney again led the Bronco divers with her second 27th-place finish in as many days at the Wildcat Diving Invitational, Saturday, in Tucson, Ariz.
Cortney scored 223.40 in the one-meter competition. Junior Amanda Burnett posted a score of 197.95, followed by senior Tana Loan's 188.35, and sophomore Lexi Pfeiffer's 182.20.
"Today was a learning day for us," said head diving coach David Legler. "It was the second day of a long meet and we definitely struggled a bit in the beginning. I think the girls did a great job of staying focused and finished strong. Unfortunately we just started off a bit too slow to be able to finish where we have the ability to be."
With NAU also taking part at the invitational hosted by Arizona, scores from the Broncos and Lumberjacks were tallied in the dual meet. NAU took the top three spots in the three-meter event Friday. Cortney's score on the one-meter was good enough to place second in the dual scoring.
The Wildcat Diving Invitational concludes Sunday with the platform competition.
The swimmers will be back in action Dec. 3-5, at the Missouri Invitational in Columbia, Mo., where the swimmers and divers will compete.