Boise State

‘Sticks’ could prove the difference in Boise State’s bid to qualify for nationals

Boise State star Shani Remme sticks a bars routine

Boise State gymnastics star Shani Remme will lead the Broncos in the NCAA regionals this weekend.
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Boise State gymnastics star Shani Remme will lead the Broncos in the NCAA regionals this weekend.

Boise State gymnastics co-coach Tina Bird calls it the equalizer — it has the power to give a good routine the edge over a great one.

That equalizer is the landing.

“Every time you take a step, it’s a tenth of a point,” Bird said. “There’s no gray area. It’s black or white.”

The 15th-ranked Broncos hope their emphasis this season on sticking the landing will result in their first National Collegiate Women’s Gymnastics Championships appearance.

They’ll need to finish as one of the top two teams at the Columbus Regional on Saturday at Ohio State’s St. John Arena in Columbus, Ohio. Competition begins at 4 p.m. MT and will be broadcast live online through Buckeye Vision.

The top two teams at each of the six regional sites advance to nationals April 20 at Chaifetz Arena in St. Louis, Mo.

Boise State is making its 11th consecutive appearance at regionals, but the Broncos never have finished better than third. They’ve come a place short of their goal in 2009, 2011, 2012, 2016 and 2017.

“I feel like there is more pressure this year, especially because next year they’re changing the format and they’re only letting six teams go to nationals,” Boise State senior Ann Stockwell said. “This is kind of our last shot, and it’s my senior year, so of course I would love to go to nationals. I want it more than anything.”

Junior Shani Remme has represented the Broncos at nationals the past two seasons, competing on balance beam in 2016 and all-around in 2017.

“She doesn’t want to go without her team,” Bird said of Remme. “We’re hoping that she doesn’t have to do that this year.”

The Broncos believe they’re poised for a breakthrough.

A chart with the word “sticks” written at the top and the name of every member of the team has been posted in the Broncos’ practice facility since last summer. Throughout the week, the women use the chart to keep track of how many times they stick a landing on vault, uneven bars, balance beam and floor during practice. The athlete with the most sticks per event takes possession of a hot pink, glitter crown.

The competition starts over every week.

“I really think that it’s starting to show up in our routines at meets, which is definitely helping our scores,” Stockwell said. “It’s going to help us get to where we want to be.”

Boise State crossed one postseason goal off its list with a fourth straight Mountain Rim Gymnastics Conference championship on March 24.

That championship trophy sits on a table in their practice facility, a reminder to the Broncos that they’re on the right track.

“I think it shows that we’re relentless, even though we haven’t made it to nationals yet and we’ve been disappointed the past couple years at regionals,” Stockwell said. “We still continue to push harder and harder every year.”

Boise State will go against No. 3 UCLA, No. 10 Arkansas, Ohio State, Pittsburgh and Kent State at the Columbus Regional. The Bruins are the reigning Pac-12 champions, while the Razorbacks finished fifth at the SEC championships.

The Broncos enter with a Regional Qualifying Score (RQS) of 196.745, which is less than .100 behind Arkansas (196.820).

“I really think it’s just going to take focusing on us. If we can keep all the external out, if we have a good meet, then our chances of moving on are so good,” Bird said. “I think Arkansas being (ranked) ahead of us is under a lot of pressure. I think they can look at film of us and go, ‘Oh no.’ We really don’t have any pressure. ... Our last two meets have been our best meets, and we still have our best to come.”

Rachel Roberts: 208-377-6422, @byrachelroberts

Remme named All-American

Boise State junior Shani Remme was recently named a National Association of Collegiate Gymnastics Coaches/Women Second Team All-American in the all-around competition for the regular season.

Remme is just the second Bronco gymnast to earn All-American honors in the all-around. The Loomis, Calif., native also was named the MRGC gymnast of the year and MRGC floor, bars and beam specialist of the year.