A tale as old as time? Well not quite, but in its 11th season, Boise State’s Beauty and the Beast competition still serves as one of the more popular sporting events on the Bronco athletics calendar.
“It’s always the best dual of the year just because it’s really exciting and there is a lot of fans,” said senior wrestler Jason Chamberlain. “It’s just fun to go out and put on a show for all the people.”
On Friday night, Boise State wrestling and gymnastics converged in Taco Bell Arena to showcase their skills as the 24th ranking wrestling team took on Cal State Bakersfield, and the 21st ranked gymnastics squad competed against BYU in front of an energetic crowd of 2,723.
Boise State wrestling, taking on fellow Pac 12 foe Cal State Bakersfield, entered the night at 7-5 (3-1 Pac 12). CSU Bakersfield at 7-4 (1-2 Pac 12) started off the night with three straight wins, jumping out to a 12-0 lead following Boise State redshirt senior Brian Owen going down with an injury.
Chamberlain, ranked No. 2 in the 149-pound weight class, put the Broncos on the board technical fall as he cut the Road Runners’ lead to 12-5 following a 17-2 win. Wins by senior George Ivanov in the 157-pound bout and by sophomore and Boise-native Holden Packard squared things up at 12-12.
“Overall, I think we looked pretty good,” Chamberlain said. “We stayed aggressive.”
Redshirt junior Jake Swartz then gave the Broncos a 16-15 lead that they would not relinquish.
Dominating performances by junior Cody Dixon and junior J.T. Felix rounded out the night for the Broncos and sealed a 23-15 victory.
“Bakersfield is pretty tough; they scramble and are kind of weird to wrestle,” said Chamberlain. “I think we did pretty good at controlling what we do best.”
Right next to the wrestling mat, Boise State gymnastics (3-0), took on BYU (4-4). The Broncos entered the night ranked No. 21 in the nation and were competing in their second home meet of the year. The Broncos took down BYU 196.325-195.125, and snatched up five individual wins on the evening.
The Broncos started out on vault with senior Brittany Potvin-Green and junior Amanda Otuafi nailing their landings as Otuafi took the title with a 9.90. Junior Kelsey Black tied Potvin-Green with a 9.85 and tied her career best with the score and the Broncos took the event.
Caitlin Mann had a very consistent showing throughout the night as she would take home the all-around title. Sophomore Ciera Perkins and senior Erin Wipperman would also go on to split the uneven bars.
Black, who came into the week ranking in the top 100 in more individual events than any other Bronco gymnast, took home the floor exercise to round out the individual wins as she nailed her routine in flawless fashion.
“I thought I did really well,” Black said. “And as a team overall, I thought we were amazing tonight.”
An electric crowd all night, both Broncos teams rode the energy to victories and continued their hot streaks.
“I love it just because we get more fans out,” Black said. “When you have wrestling I think more people come and say ‘oh there is gymnastics’ so I think people can know more about it.”
Next up for both squads? Wrestling will take on Pac 12 opponent Stanford on Feb. 3 at noon at Taco Bell Arena and Cal Poly on Feb. 10 at home. Gymnastics will take on Southeast Missouri on Feb. 10 as well in the second installment of Beauty and the Beast.