In the shadow of the football and basketball teams, nearly every other team at Boise State will compete during the spring semester. And as was the case in the fall, the Broncos have the talent to produce some exceptional performances.
Here are nine athletes to watch:
Maddie Krentz, gymnastics
The senior is in her second year as a captain and provided some advice to what she calls a “stacked team” that she hopes keeps the Broncos on track for the elusive NCAA nationals berth.
The gymnasts are ranked No. 10 in the nation this week, a school record.
“Sometimes, you don’t get what you want, no matter how hard you work,” Krentz said. “I told the team this year instead of really setting our sights on a big goal, let’s make small goals every week. And that’s been working for us.”
Krentz also is focusing small.
“I want to enjoy every second,” she said. “It’s my last season in a sport I love so, so much. It’s going to be hard to leave it.”
Sarah Baugh, sand volleyball
The Broncos’ feisty setter in the gym enjoys the challenge of playing a complete game in sand. She’s 5-foot-9 and almost never gets to play an attacking position at the net in practice or games during the indoor season. She also doesn’t receive serves indoors.
“I’m pretty aggressive,” she said. “It’s fun for me to be able to block. Sand is different. It isn’t as much about power. You can pull off and play shots.”
David Elliott, track & field
The senior was an All-American in the 1,500 meters in 2015 and the Mountain West cross country champion in 2014.
For his final season, he’ll choose between the 1,500 and his preferred distance of 5,000 meters. He placed eighth in the NCAA meet in the 1,500 last year.
“The goal is to win an NCAA title,” he said. “Whatever gives me the best chance. We’ll evaluate that as the season progresses.”
He’s closing in on a qualifying time for the Olympic trials in the 1,500.
“It’s a place I never thought I would be in,” he said. “It’s super exciting. I came into college with the goal of breaking 15 minutes for the 5k and I accomplished that my first year. ... I just want to push myself and see how good I can be.”
Genevieve Ling, golf
The junior from Malaysia broke the school record for single-season scoring average last season. She also became the second Bronco — and the first in 15 years — to qualify for NCAA postseason play in women’s golf.
She practices outdoors, even in the January cold, but also has taken advantage of the program’s new golf simulator that shows ball’s flight.
“I’ve worked a lot on my drive and tweaked my swing over break,” she said. “It’s getting better.”
Geordan Martinez, wrestling
The sophomore is 50-12 in his college career and enters this weekend ranked No. 19 in the nation — the only ranked wrestler in the Broncos’ lineup.
He won a Pac-12 title last year at 141 pounds and was named the conference’s Freshman of the Year. He missed All-American status by one round at the NCAA meet.
He has spent extra time working with coaches on technical details to improve his offense and expand his skill set this year while moving up to 149 pounds.
“Last year and the beginning of this year definitely exposed a lot of the stuff that I need to work on in terms of getting better and putting myself in the best possible position,” he said. “... I definitely learned that I’m right there. In college, we’re all good. The only people that separate themselves are those who figure out the little things and just stay disciplined and focus on the stuff that’s going to get them that much better.”
Brittany Aoyama, swimming & diving
The junior is one of the Mountain West’s best swimmers and will compete this summer in the Olympic trials in Omaha, Neb. She qualified in the 100-meter butterfly.
“That’s been one of my dreams growing up,” she said.
She won Mountain West titles in the 100 butterfly and 400 freestyle relay last season, earned All-MW honors in seven events and qualified for the NCAA meet for the second straight year. She has been named the MW swimmer of the week twice this season.
“We’re starting to get toward the end of the season when we start working on the details and more speed,” she said. “I’m happy where I’m at for this time of the season.”
Allison Jeffries, track and field
The junior from Eagle High is making the transition to a 14-foot pole with hopes of clearing the 14-foot bar. She used a 13-foot, 7-inch pole last year and her career best vault is 13-7.
She had the shortest pole at the NCAA regional meet last year, she said, and narrowly missed advancing to the national meet.
“It’s not that big of a jump,” she said of the 5 inches she needs to reach her goal, “but mentally and getting on a bigger pole it could be a big jump for me. That’s something I’ve looked forward to ever since I’ve been in college.”
She was a gymnast for 11 years before moving to track and field in junior high. She tried pole vault, decided it was “so boring” and moved on, then gave it another try.
She won her first meet the day after she started vaulting. By the end of high school, she was jumping 13 feet.
“Jumping 14 feet or above, that would be icing on the cake,” she said.
Kyle Butters, tennis
Butters chose Boise State over Louisville without visiting either place because of the personality and resume of coach Greg Patton.
Butters is from New Zealand, where he won national titles in singles and doubles at every age group from U12 to U18 and was the nation’s top-ranked junior at one point.
Patton wooed him over Skype.
“I was basically looking for a coach who wasn’t too intense, who had a bit of experience with the pro athletes, who knew what it took to make it to the professional stage,” Butters said. “He’s just really positive. That’s exactly what I wanted as a coach.”
Kayla Clausen, softball
The Broncos’ only fourth-year senior and standout center fielder hopes to lead a resurgence in the second year under coach Cindy Ball, who was 12-42 in her first year.
Clausen hit .339 last season with five home runs and a team-best .589 slugging percentage.
“All of us have a newly, sort of, found respect for what coach Ball is doing here and where she wants to take this program,” Clausen said. “I think this team is really going to come together.”
Gymnasts, wrestlers compete Friday
The Boise State gymnastics and wrestling teams compete in Boise at separate venues Friday.
The gymnasts, ranked a school-record No. 10, take on BYU at 7:30 p.m. at CenturyLink Arena in Downtown Boise. The Gem State Invitational club meet also is at CenturyLink from Friday to Sunday. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for students, seniors, children and military members. Boise State students get in free with ID.
The wrestlers will stage a Pink Out — including pink singlets and headgear for the first time — at 7 p.m. at Taco Bell Arena. The opponent is Northern Colorado. Tickets are $6 for adults and $4 for juniors and seniors but will be $3 for anyone wearing pink. Boise State students are free with ID.