Though they may be out there competing on their own, gymnasts have a team for a reason.
No. 8 Boise State held a comfortable lead over No. 7 Denver and two other teams Friday night at Taco Bell Arena entering the final rotation. On the floor exercise, the Broncos’ Courtney McGregor, an Olympic competitor for New Zealand in 2016, stumbled, starting out with an 8.925.
“When your first girl goes down like that, it’s like, this is going to be interesting really fast,” Boise State co-coach Neil Resnick said. “... When it happened, I looked into the next five’s eyes and they were like, OK, we’re going to do this.”
Sure enough, they did, posting a team score of 48.850 in the event, tops among the teams. It helped give the Broncos a final score of 195.850, narrowly holding off No. 7 Denver (195.050), Illinois-Chicago (192.375) and Seattle Pacific (186.875).
“It was great to be able to finish what we started,” junior Shani Remme said. “It was nerve-racking in the moment, but that’s part of the sport, to be ready for it, 100 percent prepared for anything.”
Next up after McGregor was fifth-year senior Mary Frances Bir, who scored a 9.650 in just her second time ever competing in the event for Boise State, giving some confidence to those who followed, including Remme and Sandra Collantes, who finished it off with 9.825s.
“It was an uncharacteristic miss for Courtney, and it does put a little more pressure on the kids, so to have Mary step up like that, I was really proud to see that,” co-coach Tina Bird said.
Said Resnick: “When someone falls in a practice routine, the next kid going up always says, ‘I’ve got your back.’ The concept is that we have to pick up the slack.”
Boise State earned a second straight win against Denver and improved to 15-16-1 all-time against the Pioneers. Starting off with a 48.825 on the vault, the Broncos kept all three opponents at bay, aided by a meet-best 49.225 on the bars, tied for sixth-best in school history.
The Broncos could not quite maintain the big score they put up in last Saturday’s opener, a 196.225 that was a season-opening record for Boise State, but Bird said she felt the judging was a little more tight. So even though the score was a littler lower, she felt the team got better, especially considering the opponent.
“I think the team is promising this year, and even though it’s hard to have a lower score, I think we did take a step forward,” Bird said.
Remme’s 9.925 on the beam was the top score of the night, though the Pioneers took the top individual marks in the other three events. After two home events, the Broncos hit the road for the next three, including Jan. 26 at Southern Utah.
“We definitely know we need to keep working hard. We haven’t had an away meet yet, so we need to keep up the effort because it’s something else new for this team,” Remme said.
▪ Boise State’s top scores: Shani Remme, beam, 9.925; Sandra Collantes, bars, 9.875; Courtney McGregor, vault, 9.850; Remme/Collantes, floor, 9.825