Sports

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Coaching transitions can offer a mixed bag for both the athletes and the coaching staff.

On the one hand, a new perspective is brought to a program. The new coach can provide a team with a burst of energy to break up the normal routine.

On the other hand, that normal routine is a system the athletes have become accustomed to— they’re comfortable with what they have been doing and can be resistant to change.

Dan Potter, a north Idaho native and former Washington assistant, is making the returning members from last year’s golf team his top priority so as to avoid an awkward coaching transition.

“The guys currently on the team are my first priority,” Potter said while speaking to members of the local media during his first day on the job. “They’re in a unique situation with a coaching transition. I was in one when I was in college, so I know that they can be somewhat uncomfortable.”

The likelihood of an uncomfortable transition decreased when Potter was informed that Ryan Hietala would be returning as an assistant coach for the upcoming season.

Hietala has spent the past two seasons as an assistant coach for the Broncos after competing on the PGA Tour.

“(It) was a huge relief,” Potter said. “I’ve known Ryan a little bit. I know that he’s passionate about the program going forward. Him wanting to stay here was awesome news.”

Although Potter’s priority is to make the transition from Burton as seamless as possible, he’s not ready to write this season off at all.

“I’m very optimistic for this season,” Potter said. “We have some great tournaments on the schedule.”

The Broncos hope they will be able to improve upon last season’s last place finish in the MWC while under the direction of Potter.

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Sunny Smallwood coaching players at Nebraska

There is really no place like home; just ask LeBron James.

That was the feeling Sunny Smallwood had when she joined the Boise State Broncos’ women’s basketball program as its newest associate head coach.

“Boise is just a great city and I loved going to school here,” Smallwood said. “I’m excited to work with this great group of people that I have had the chance to meet and believe so much in.”

Smallwood grew up in Boise, playing basketball at Boise High School and then later for Boise State.

“There are a lot of alums out there that would dream of coming back and working at their alma mater,” Smallwood said.

She most recently was the associate head coach at the University of Nebraska, where she led that program to multiple NCAA sweet 16 appearances.

“Nebraska wasn’t a big-time program when I got there, but me, along with all the other coaches, were able to turn it around and build something really great,” Smallwood said. “I believe the same thing about Boise State. To me there are no limits of what we might be able to do if we put our nose to the grindstone.”

During the course of her career, Smallwood has specialized in two distinct areas: recruiting and defense. In fact, Smallwood personally recruited former WNBA player Lindsey Moore. Boise State is hoping for more of the same.

“She has reorganized our recruiting. Now that we have a person like her we are hoping to steal some recruits from the big guys,” head coach Gordy Presnell said. “Our recruiting has already jumped in terms of who we are talking to, and the respect that she commands around the country will allow us to get into some really good players’ homes.”

Smallwood will take over the defense that at times has struggled in recent years.

“Defense is an area where we have had a hard time for a number of years,” Presnell said. “I’m hoping with her that we become one of the top defensive teams in our conference.”

This wasn’t the first time the Broncos had tried to add Smallwood on the coaching staff.

“We tried before to get her because she is one of the top coaches in the whole country,” Presnell said.  “We have always focused on her and she was always at the top of our list, and she is going to be a great addition to our program and hopefully get us to a different level.”

In addition to recruiting and revamping the defense, Smallwood has already started to get to know and work with her players.

“I like that she has been really involved with us and is getting to know us now, instead of just waiting till practice starts,” junior forward Lexie Der said. “She is very open and that helps us to get to know her as well.”

Boise State is happy to have her back and is hoping she makes an immediate impact.

“I am excited because she seems to be very outgoing, funky, fun, and obviously a great coach,” Der said. “She has a good career behind her and I feel she will fit very well here and will bring something else that will help our coaches and ourselves benefit in new ways.”

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Boise State's Marisa Howard has slowly blossomed into one of the nation's best steeplechasers, despite overcoming a six week injury this winter.

While her teammates were running the streets and trails of Boise, redshirt junior Marisa Howard spent her winter in the last place she wanted: the pool.

 Following a successful 2013 cross country season, Howard entered her winter post-season break excited about the possibilities of the upcoming track season.

 While visiting her parents in mid-January earlier this year, Howard began to notice pain in her knee while running. After consulting with the team trainer, Howard took several days off to avoid further injury. After returning to Boise, several days turned to 10 days, and 10 days turned to six weeks.

 Over those six weeks, Howard had two MRIs, consulted with two doctors and two physical therapists, and received two cortisone shots, all the while trying to remain confident in the fact that she would be able to compete again.

 “I was crying every week it was so awful,” Howard said.

 To remain in shape, Howard cross-trained relentlessly, pool running and lap swimming for one to two hours every day.

Her coach, Corey Ihmels, who had dealt with his own set of injuries in his running career empathized with Howard and the frustrations of not being able to do something they loved.

“I tell them when they’re injured, ‘When you drive down the street and see someone running, do you want to get out and punch them in the face?’” Ihmels said. “I don’t want them to go through the things that I’ve gone through.”

With six weeks of treatment and still no improvement, Howard elected to start running again in March in order to not lose her entire outdoor season.

“At first it hurt a lot; I still deal with it today,” Howard said. “To this day we still have no clue what was wrong.”

Despite the pain Howard felt, she continued to train with the goal of qualifying for the national championships— regardless of the setback from her injury.

“I think on my side there was a lot of doubt but everyone else kept reassuring me it would work out,” Howard said.

 The confidence from those around her carried Howard through the season, giving her a victory in the steeplechase at the MWC Championships and a runner-up finish in the 5,000-meter.

The NCAA steeplechase final played out perfectly for Howard. A controlled pace that slowly strung out competitors put Howard in fifth place with 500 meters to go.

 Going over the water pit with 150 meters remaining, Howard was able to pass Rachel Johnson and Rachel Sorna to take second place – a feat she never could have thought imaginable.

 “I tried to get to the finish line as fast as I could,” Howard said. “Afterwards, talking to a lot of people, they said ‘Look at where you came from.’ It was so surreal to get there after not running for six weeks.”

 Her second place finish has only added to Howard and Ihmels’ excitement for the future. With both her and NCAA Champion Emma Bates returning for their senior seasons, expectations are high for the Broncos’ cross country team.

For Howard, she now has the confidence and belief that she can be an elite runner. With this confidence, she hopes she can qualify for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

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Mat Boesen, a red-shirt linebacker for Boise State’s football team, was arrested Thursday evening.

Boesen, 19, was charged with misdemeanor inattentive or careless driving and misdemeanor resisting or obstructing officers. He was booked in the jail at 7:41 p.m. but released later that same night.

The athletics department released a short statement saying they are aware of the situation and intend to follow the procedures outlined in the student conduct policy.

According to an article published by the Idaho Press Tribune Boesen is due in court on July 31.

Boesen, who red-shirted as a true freshman last year, was not expected to be a major contributor for the team this fall.

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Boise State's Emma Bates won her first NCAA title with a 32:32.35 win the 10,00m.

Redshirt junior Emma Bates can now add a national championship to her extensive running resume.

Bates edged out Alabama-Birmingham’s Elinor Kirk by five meters to win the NCAA 10,000m race 32:32.35 to Kirk’s 32:32.39 at Oregon’s legendary Hayward Field.

Bates’ time is the second fastest 10,000m recorded at an NCAA Championship meet. Her title is the first outdoor national title won by a Broncos woman, and the first outdoor title since Kurt Felix won the decathlon in 2012.

The Elk River, Minn. native was in the lead pack for the entire race, putting her in good contention to break away from the pack when Kirk and Duke’s Juliet Bottorff made a move with a mile to go.

With only 300 meters remaining, Bates and Kirk began their drives to the finish line before Bates was able to barely outdistance Kirk entering the home stretch.

“(The last 100 meters) was a complete blur,” Bates told Flotrack.org after her race. “That last 10 meters I just really dug deep.”

Bates’ was able to run a 4:53 last mile which included a blistering 67 second last lap to give her the victory.

With the win, Bates earned her first ever NCAA championship after placing 3rd in the 10,000m last spring, and 2nd in the NCAA cross country championship this past fall.

Bates’ national title is the seventh in Broncos history, second for women’s track and field, and was also the eighth All-American honors of her career, making her the most decorated athlete in Boise State history.

Bates will conclude her season on Saturday with the 5,000m at 3:24 p.m (PT). She, along with NCAA cross country champion Abbey D’Agostino of Dartmouth, are among the favorites in the race.

D’Agostino won the NCAA 5,000m last spring while Bates finished seventh.

Boise State’s Marissa Howard will compete in the 3,000m steeplechase final today at 5:35 p.m. (PT).

Races can be watched live through Watch ESPN and ESPNU.

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Senior Boise State tennis player Andy Bettles tremendous career came to end yesterday as he fell in the first round of the 2014 NCAA Men’s Tennis Singles Championships in Athen, Georgia.

Bettles who came into the matchup ranked 87th in the nation lost to 46th ranked Ryan Shane from Virginia 6-3, 6-3.

“I felt that Andy played a good match and that it was closer than the score would indicate,” head coach Greg Patton told Broncosports. “Andy left it all out there on the court and has nothing to be ashamed of, it just wasn’t his day. His opponent hit the ball extremely well and has one of the hardest shots in the NCAA. (Ryan) Shane was on today and he got his shots to fall, but Andy stood in there and battled hard. Andy has had a great career at Boise State and has been a vital part of this program. He has a great future ahead of him.”

Bettles came to the Broncos by way of Somerset, England and has spent the last three seasons being an instrumental part of Boise State’s success.

During his time as Bronco he helped lead the Broncos to three consecutive Mountain West Conference championships, as well as three straight NCAA Tournament berths. In addition he went to two NCAA Men’s Tennis Singles Championship Tournaments and was the 2013 Mountain West Player of the year as well as a five-time All Mountain West honoree.

He finishes his career with a record of 106-42 in singles and 83-36 in doubles.

 

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Boise State will be forced to begin a national search to replace men’s head golf coach Kevin Burton after Burton made the decision to step down, effective June 21.

Burton, a 1986 graduate of Idaho, began his first of nine seasons with the Broncos in 2005, and has brought dramatic changes to the program during his tenure.

The Broncos finished as high as second in the WAC (2008) under Burton, and also captured three tournament wins as a team.

Under Burton, the Broncos also saw three golfers join the PGA Tour in various forms. Graham DeLaet and Troy Merritt both currently play for the PGA Tour while class of 2013 graduate T.K. Kim currently plays for PGA Tour China.

DeLaet told The Arbiter earlier this year he credits much of his current success to the leadership Burton provided him.

“I wouldn’t be here and be where I am now if it wasn’t for (Burton) and Boise State golf,” DeLaet said.

The individual golfers were not the only aspect of the program Burton had an affect on. This past year, he began the process to build a new indoor practice facility for the Broncos to utilize during the harsh winter months.

Even with all of the changes Burton has brought to Boise State, he felt now is the time for him to make a personal change.

“I have enjoyed my time as head coach of the Boise State men’s golf team,” Burton said in a press release from the athletic department. “I will definitely miss coaching, especially my players, but there are some other things I would like to pursue in my career and I feel like the time is right for me to make a change.”

Athletic Director Mark Coyle will begin a national search for Burton’s replacement immediately.

 

Bronco Stadium has a new name.

It will now be called Albertsons Stadium as both Boise State officials and Albertsons officials came to a long term agreement that sees Albertsons taking over the naming rights to the stadium.

Albertsons and Boise State’s deal is for 15 years and worth 12.5 million dollars.

This deal has been 17 years in the making as Boise State has been trying to sell off the naming rights to the stadium since 1997.

Albertsons now joins Taco Bell as the latest company to sponsor the university. Boise State and Taco Bell also came to a 15 year deal back in 2004.

This deal between Albertsons and Boise State seems to be the perfect fit as both institutions have been instrumental in the state of Idaho.

Albertsons was founded in Boise in 1939 and ever since has been a mainstay in the state and a vital part of the community. Last year the company moved its headquarters back to Boise after a seven year hiatus and felt this was a perfect way to make their return felt.

Read more here: http://www.idahostatesman.com/2014/05/21/3195133/its-albertsons-stadium.html?sp=/99/1687/&ihp=1#storylink=cpyAlbertson’s was founded right here Boise back in 1939 and ever since have been a mainstay in the state of Idaho. The company recently moved its corporate headquarters back to Idaho after a seven year hiatus.

“This is a 15-year deal,” Albertsons CEO Bob Miller said. “We bought the stores a year ago March. We’re anxious to let people know we’re here to stay; this is our corporate headquarters and it’s going to stay that way. And this is a good way to reinforce that message.”

Negotiations between Boise State and Albertsons began just a few months ago and it wasn’t long before the two parties came to an agreement.

Both Boise State and Albertsons are hoping this is a start of long term relationship with one another and are looking forward to working with each other.

Stay up to date on campus news at arbiteronline.com.
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Article by Brandon Walton

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If Boise State were to give out an athlete of the year award junior Emma Bates would certainly be at the top of list.

Bates is coming off one of the best performances of her career where she ran the 12th fastest women’s 10k meter time in NCAA history at the Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational event in Stanford, California last weekend. 

Bates’s time was good enough to shatter her own school record she set last year.

Bates finished 13th in a field that included both NCAA champions and Olympic medalists. 

Bates’ performance at the event landed her the Mountain West Women’s Outdoor Track and Field Athlete of the Week Award — her second in the last three weeks.

Bates has had a sensational season for the Boise State track and field team. She is on pace to have one of the best seasons in school history.

Already this year, Bates has broken numerous school records, as well as national records.

Bates is a two-sport star who also competes for the Boise State cross country team. 

During the cross country season for the Broncos, Bates set numerous school records on her way to a runner-up finish at the NCAA Cross Country championships this past November.

With one more season left in both sports, Bates has the opportunity to go down as one of Boise State’s all-time greatest athletes and cement her already outstanding legacy as a Bronco.

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Bryan Talbot / The Arbiter

Calling this weekend a rough one for Boise State athletics is an understatement.

 Two Bronco teams, men’s tennis and softball, lost in their respective championship opportunities.

Tennis

 Playing in the UCLA Regional, the men’s tennis team were favorites to advance and face the winner of the UCLA- Cal Poly matchup.

 The Broncos entered this year’s NCAA Championships coming off of one of the greatest seasons in program history. Greg Patton’s squad finished the regular season with a 28-5 record and a No. 25 ranking nationally.

 No. 39 San Diego won four of the six singles matches and one of the three doubles matches to defeat the Broncos 4-2.

Softball

 All the Broncos’ softball team had to do to secure their first MW title was win a series win against San Diego State — something the program has done every year against the Aztecs since joining the MW.

Instead, Boise State watched their eight-game win streak get snapped and suffered a sweep while in San Diego.

The Broncos now sit in fourth place in the conference standings, and the odds of a berth in the postseason are unlikely.

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On Thursday afternoon, former Boise State defensive lineman Demarcus Lawrence was preparing for the biggest day of his life: the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft.

The Boise State Athletic Department was auctioning off a game-worn No. 8 jersey, Lawrence’s jersey number, on the very same day.

On the auction screen, bidders were enticed by a description of the jersey which stated “Get your hands on a game worn authentic #8 Nike Elite Football jersey from the 2013 season.”

There is no mention of Lawrence anywhere on the page, though he did wear the No. 8 throughout his entire junior season.

“No one said this was Demarcus’ jersey,” an unnamed representative from the Boise State Marketing Department said. “The money raised from auctioning jerseys goes directly into the Athletic Department’s scholarship fund.”

“At the end of the year our equipment managers pull the names off of jerseys,” the representative said. “Former student-athletes each receive one, and rather than keep the rest of them in storage, we are trying to find ways to increase money in our scholarship fund.”

The NFL Draft took place from Thursday, May 8 through Saturday, May 10. 

The Athletic Department’s auction, hosted on BroncoSports.com, concluded on Sunday, May 11 at 12:00 p.m. Eastern time, barring a bid in the final three minutes.

No other jerseys from any other sport at Boise State were being offered.

“We just recently started auctioning jerseys again,” the representative said. “We will look to do this a few more times during the season, and will include additional sports as they become available. We will also look to auction other merchandise and unique items as well.”

Lawrence was drafted in the second round on Friday, May 9 by the Dallas Cowboys. 

The defensive end became the seventh second-round pick in Boise State history, and the ninth first or second-round pick since 2006.

Boise State does not have to wait for athletes to leave the school for the university to auction off the jersey; however, it is unknown if a jersey has been auctioned while an athlete was still enrolled at the university.

“There have been a number of jerseys auctioned off in the past, though a list of the numbers has not been kept,” the
representative said.

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With the close of the school year and my time at the Arbiter, so too comes the close of one of the most intriguing years in Boise State athletics that I can ever remember. From football to basketball, tennis and golf, it’s been a wild year for Bronco sports.

 I’ve never heard so many fans call for a quarterback’s head since Jared Zabransky folded like a lawn chair at Georgia back in 2005, than when Joe Southwick had one of his worst offensive performances on the road against Washington. The Broncos failed to score an offensive touchdown against the Huskies and Southwick and former offensive coordinator Robert Prince were in hot water all season long.

 Bronco nation got its wish, probably not in the way they imagined, when Southwick went down with a broken ankle against Nevada and the dual threat, Grant Hedrick, relieved him for the rest of the season.
Southwick relieved himself off a hotel balcony in Hawaii.

 Now they hype is higher than ever with a new head coach with more promotion enthusiasm than Will Ferrell’s character, Jackie Moon. Fans love Harsin now, but we’ll see where their true loyalty lies if he struggles the first few seasons.

On the hardwood, men’s basketball was the only team from the 2013 NCAA Tournament to return all five starters for the 2013-2014 season. With the Broncos on the cusp of cracking the top-25 after an 8-0 start, the offensive struggles hit the Broncos for the remainder of the season. They finished
21-13 (8-9 MW) with late game struggles several times in conference play

 The bright spot of the season was senior forward Ryan Watkins, who ranked sixth in the nation with 10.6 rebounds per game and led the nation in offensive rebounds per game with 5.0 per contest.

 Watkins was also the first player in MW history to pull down over 200 rebounds and score over 200 points in conference play. Just enough to earn him a second team All-Mountain West spot, arguably a bigger snub than Leonardo DiCaprio at the Oscars this year (still bitter over here).

With men’s tennis at the NCAA Championships this past weekend, gymnastics sending multiple gymnasts to the NCAA Championships,
and swimming doing the same, it’s been an up and down season for Boise State athletics across the board this year.

It’s been great covering athletics for the last couple years, and Bronco sports are getting more intriguing each year.

The NFL Draft took place at Radio City Music Hall in New York City from Thursday, May 8 through Saturday, May 10, and several former Broncos saw their life long dreams come true as they were drafted in to the NFL.

 Former Boise State defensive end, Demarcus Lawrence, was projected as a potential first round pick on Thursday night. Lawrence’s name was not called Thursday night, but he didn’t have to wait long to move on the to the highest level of football.

 With the 34th pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys drafted Lawrence, making him the seventh highest pick in school history. Lawrence is the seventh second-round pick and the ninth pick in the first two rounds in Boise State history.

 During his time at Boise State, Lawrence was named to the first team All-Mountain West in 2012 and 2013 and led Boise State defensive linemen in tackles both seasons.

 Joining Lawrence as fellow draftees over the weekend were former offensive linemen Matt Paradis and Charles Leno Jr.

 Paradis was the 31st pick of the sixth round (207 overall) by the 2014 Super Bowl runner-up Denver Broncos, while Leno Jr. was picked up by the Chicago Bears as the 31st pick in the seventh round (246 overall).

Former wide reciever Aaron Burks signed as a free agent with the Atlanta Falcons, late Saturday night.

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It’s a question that has certainly raised some controversy over the past several years across the NCAA: Should college athletes be paid?

Webster’s dictionary defines employee as, “a person who works for another person or for a company for wages or a salary.”  Well according to that definition, collegiate athletes fit the mold for the first part. Technically they are “working” for the university, making money for the university and creating incredibly large streams of revenue depending on the level of competition.

It’s the second part of Webster’s definition of employee that has become a bit of a grey area in recent times. These athletes aren’t getting paid a salary or a wage for the job they are doing. Many would argue that the discounted or free education is salary enough. This is a somewhat acceptable argument, but to a certain point.

Most of these athletes, however, can’t work a side job to make some sort of income due to the demands of their sport during the season and the offseason.  Their sport is their job with the amount of time they must dedicate week in and week out.

Athletes aren’t completely broke. They do receive a per diem for travel to cover food expenses. Outside of scholarship money, however, this is the only type of “income” they see throughout a year. I know several athletes at Boise State who are unable to get a part-time job they wish they could have for some extra money during season because the time commitments are not a feasible option for them.

On April 26, a group of football players from Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois, voted to unionize, in order to make a movement to obtain a wage or salary for their work. The ballots will only be opened if the National Labor Relations Board in Washington D.C. recognizes the athletes as employees and side with the student-athletes.

If the union is eventually approved, it would be a monumental shift in the landscape of college athletics. While it still remains up in the air, the debate will still rage on. Do NCAA athletes deserve to be paid for their performance on the field or court? Or is an education payment enough? I still don’t know if I have a firm answer on
this one.

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Well wouldn’t you know it, the Boise State softball team has the opportunity to win the Mountain West conference championship.

“They bought into a team goal,” head coach Erin Thorpe said. “Now it’s in our hands to be able to achieve it and I’m really excited to see what these last three games have in store for us.”

The Broncos have their final series of the season when they visit San Diego State with the conference championship hanging on the line.

“It always seems to come down to our last series,” senior outfielder Tara Glover said. “San Diego State always seems to be a really big series for us every year and they are a strong team but as long as we can set them down it will go well for us.”

The Broncos are currently tied for first place in the conference with Fresno State and need a sweep of San Diego State to capture the conference title and punch their ticket to the postseason.

“It will be a challenge,” Glover said. “I think our team is ready for this challenge because it’s a goal we have had all year long and for us it’s something that is achievable.”

Boise State has rapidly climbed its way to the top of the conference by winning 12 of its last 13 games and they are currently on an eight game winning streak.

“It’s been our focus and confidence that we can win games,” Thorpe said. “We are just trusting in the fact that if we go out and work hard and prepare hard that we are going to play well and win.”

The rise to the top is even more impressive considering the Broncos slow start to the season and the fact that the Broncos were fifth in the standings just a few weeks ago.

“We faced a lot of adversity,” Glover said. “But as the season has gone on we settled in and are playing very well.”

The Broncos are trying to reach the postseason for the first time in the program’s six-year history.

The program has come a long way in such a short time and has already ascended to being one of the top teams in the conference

“It’s about creating a culture and creating an atmosphere of expecting to win,” Thorpe said. “We are getting to where we want to be.”

A huge part of their success has been the leadership demonstrated by this year’s senior class.

“This year’s team is packed with five seniors that are completely passionate and just relentless,” Thorpe said. “We are going to rely on them to lead us through this.”

Perhaps no senior has had a bigger impact than Glover who has already set a number of school records for hits and runs this season.

“It’s something I don’t really think about,” Glover said. “I focus more on the team and what were are doing, they are what matters most to me.”

After coming so close so many times, the Broncos are hoping that this year is finally the year.

“I want to go out with a bang,” Glover said. “I want this team, who has faced so much adversity this season, to win that conference championship for the first time ever.”

Boise State knows what they have to do in order to make their ultimate goal become a reality.

“We have to continue to be strong, focused, and disciplined,” Thorpe said. “We have to learn how to win in these situations and how to learn how to put
it away.”

 

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Every collegiate athlete starts their career with four years of eligibility, which in some instances can be lengthened to five or six years by redshirting or receiving a medical pardon.

All except one.

Junior Garrett Patton, son of Boise State men’s tennis head coach Greg Patton, has been a part of Boise State tennis since birth. Garrett was born the day the Pattons moved into their Boise home just after his father accepted the position of head coach, and he’s been playing, shagging balls and learning the game of tennis ever since.

Garrett graduated in 2011 from Boise High and spent much of his youth watching his father develop Boise State into a nationally recognized tennis powerhouse—Greg has won 15 conference titles in 18 seasons as head coach. Despite his strong family ties to the program, Garrett wasn’t a lock to attend Boise State after high school. Ranked as a top amateur in the country, Garrett had
options.

“At first I wasn’t planning on going (to Boise State),” Garrett told The Arbiter. “My senior year of high school I started to get really close to the team, even more than I had in the past, and he (his father) kept beating it into me how good Boise State was, and then he talked trash about all of the other schools.”

Before ultimately choosing Boise State, Garrett was considering San Diego State, San Francisco, California and Santa Barbara.

Keeping tennis out of their relationship has been key for both Garrett and Greg since the beginning. At home, the two rarely talk tennis and on the court Greg often relies on assistant coaches to work with “G-man.” When the Broncos were still climbing the national rankings early this season, Garrett clinched an upset win over No. 21 Clemson with a three-set tie breaker on court four. As much as Greg tries to be Coach, instead of Dad, on the court, this one was a bit tougher to separate the two.

“When he was playing Clemson in our biggest match of the season I pulled myself far away from the court,” Greg said. “The thing is, he’s a thrill seeker. It’s in his genes to be fearless. Sometimes I feel that he does it on purpose to make the matches close at the end just so it comes down to his court because he has more fun. He loves the thrill.”

Greg and Garrett’s relationship hasn’t come without its challenges, either. In 2012, Garrett was arrested by Boise police and was charged with five misdemeanors including public intoxication, possession of marijuana and resisting and obstructing officers.

When Greg went to bail Garrett out of jail, Dad kicked coach to the curb.

“I love him. Hey, you made a mistake you’re going to suffer—there’s going to be a lot of suffering,” Greg said. “The coach had to discipline him, the legal system had to discipline him and the father protected him. As a father, I didn’t kick him in the butt, I supported him. When it comes to family, I’m going to take care of my boy.”

What came from Garrett’s incident was one of the best seasons of his career. Answering to coach and father was challenging, though.

“It was tough,” Garrett said. “It was a nightmare. That was the season I improved the most. I had to step up and grow up and work
even harder.”

Now, Garrett and Greg are contending for the first Division I national championship in school history side-by-side.

“I truly believe more than anything that suffering creates greatness,” Greg said. “Most of the people in the world don’t use suffering to become a better person. Do I think Garrett Patton has greatness written all over him? I absolutely do; on the court and in life. Did he make a poor decision? Yeah, he did, but he grew from it. He’s a man now. I look at him as a man. He was a boy then.”

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Lost in this year’s Olympics were the very people who were supposed to be the center of attention — the athletes.

Four years of hard work and countless hours of training and dedication by the athletes who sacrificed so much to make their respective nations’ Olympic teams were overshadowed by the controversy of the Sochi Olympics.

From the uncharacteristically warm temperatures for a winter Olympics, the mass killing of stray dogs in the Sochi area, poor conditions in the Olympic Village to Vladimir Putin’s anti-gay laws causing protests across the globe — it seemed as if the world and the media forgot what the games were really about.

In the months leading up to the February 7 opening ceremonies, the media buzz was focused on the political and environmental aspects of the games, far from the intended ideals of Pierre de Coubertin, the father of the modern Olympics vision of education through sport.

Once Albania walked out of the tunnel with their flag during the opening ceremonies, once the Olympic cauldron was lit, once Sage Kotsenburg stood on that podium listening to the Star Spangled Banner, receiving the first gold medal of the Sochi Olympics, the clouds disappeared — the focus of the games returned to the athletes.

“I think once the games get started, people get back to what they’re all about,” alpine skier and Treasure Valley native Erik Fisher said. “They are about sport, trying your hardest and giving it your all.”

According to Nick Cunningham, a member of the U.S. bobsled team and former track and field athlete at Boise State, it was a tough pill to swallow to have the Olympics be associated with so much negativity.

“The last thing we want to do is be a part of something that everyone has this negative thought about,” Cunningham.

Despite the negatives and the controversy caused by the Sochi Olympics, Cunningham, Fisher and biathlete Sara Studebaker, a 2003 graduate of Boise High School, felt it was important to have the games bring everything back to reality.

The goal of the Olympic movement according to the Olympic Charter is to “contribute to building a peaceful and better world by educating young people through sport practiced in accordance with Olympism and its values.”

In Studebaker’s opinion, the Sochi Olympics informed the outside world of the events occurring in Sochi ­— without the spotlight of the Games, the controversies would have been buried.

In an attempt to combat the negative aspects which were the focus of the media during the Sochi Olympics, Cunningham, Fisher and Studebaker attempted to bring as many positive aspects of the games to light.

Cunningham and his bobsled crew took as many pictures as possible and used social media platforms to highlight the positives of their experiences in Sochi.

Studebaker and her teammates joined in the efforts of organizations such as 350.org to raise awareness.

“I think that as athletes, as social figures, you had a little bit of a duty to be aware and bring some of these issues to light,” Studebaker said. “(We) talked about the devastation because of the games and try to keep that from happening in the future.”

All three felt the media brought unwanted negativity to the Sochi area however, especially in regards to the conditions in the Olympic Village.

In the pre-Olympic build-up, the only reports from the media were on the horrendous conditions in the Olympic Village.

From pictures of dirty water and reports of the delayed construction of the facilities, many Olympic athletes had the expectations of living in slums during the duration of the Games.

Upon arrival in Sochi, they found media reports overly exaggerated.

“We get there and the accommodations were amazing,” Cunningham said. “They literally built two cities in the past four or five years.”

“To have a couple of doors not open, or something like that, who are we to go out there and bad mouth them,” Cunningham said.

Studebaker spoke of the negatives with social media in that regards — if one person has a negative experience, everyone knows about it.

“Things started out with some rough edges and people went about fixing the issues,” Studebaker said. “Unfortunately with social media, it’s really hard to come back from that with the bad initial (start).”

“All the negative stuff wasn’t coming from (the athletes), it was coming from the media trying to get out the story and looking for an issue,” Cunningham added.

Despite the negatives and controversies associated with this year’s Olympic Games, Fisher was at least able to take one positive from the experience:

“Free Big Macs.”

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Boise State has become one of the most successful mid-major schools in the NFL draft over the past decade, and as the 2014 NFL Draft approaches, another batch of players will be looking to make their lifelong dream come true of playing in the NFL.

The Broncos will be sending six players to the draft this year, four offensive players and two from the defensive side of the ball. While this is not one of Boise State’s strongest draft classes, there will still be players to watch for from Thursday, May 6 through Saturday, May 8.

Demarcus Lawrence – DE

By far the most dynamic player representing Boise State, and by far the most controversial. Lawrence had many off the field struggles in his two seasons at Boise State, as his multiple suspensions tended to overshadow his work on the field. Lawrence led the Mountain West in 2013 with 10.5 sacks and 20.5 tackles for loss and is projected as a first or second round pick by CBS Sports.

Charles Leno – OG

A three-year starter, Leno spent his sophomore season starting at right guard before moving to left guard his junior and senior year. Boise State has produced very successful offensive linemen in first round draft pick Ryan Clady, Super Bowl champion Darryn Colledge and Nate Potter. Projected as a fifth round pick by CBS Sports, Leno will look to continue the offensive lineman trend for Boise State this weekend.

Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe – DT

Playing alongside Lawrence the last two seasons, Tjong-A-Tjoe helped baffle offensive lines and backfields in recent years which led to a first-team All-Mountain West selection in 2013 after he recorded 50 tackles on the season. Tjong-A-Tjoe is projected undrafted by CBS Sports.

Matt Paradis – C

The 6-foot-3, 293 pound center was named second-team All Mountain West while starting every game for the Broncos his senior season and was named Boise State’s Outstanding Offensive Lineman. Paradis is projected undrafted by CBS Sports.

Geraldo Boldewijn – WR

Boldewijn hauled in a career high 37 passes for a career high 510 yards in 2013 as he passed his previous career highs in just five games. Boldweijn possesses a strong pair of hands and is a consistent target for a quarterback. Boldewijn is projected as undrafted by CBS Sports.

Aaron Burks – WR

Burks hauled in 16 passes for 286 yards and a career high three touchdowns his senior year as he missed two games with an injury and started just two games for the Broncos. Burks led all Broncos with double-digit receptions in 2013. Burks is projected undrafted by CBS Sports.

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Social media has drastically altered the landscape of athletics.

From improved connection with the fan bases of athletes and the increased role of sponsorships, athletes are always under the microscope.

This was the focus of the Boise State chapter of PRSSA’s keynote event of CommCon 2014, Social in Sochi.

The Social in Sochi event included a panel of U.S. Olympians with ties to the Boise area.

The panel was composed of bobsledder Nick Cunningham, a former captain of the Boise State track team, biathlete Sara Studebaker, a 2003 graduate of Boise High School and alpine skier Erik Fisher who originally began skiing at Bogus Basin.

All three spoke on how social media has affected their careers, as well as their experiences in Sochi.

While all agreed that social media can be a great tool for career advancement, gaining sponsorships and connecting with fans, they spoke of the dangers associated with social media.

“Social media can either build your career or kill it,” Cunningham said. “It’s like a car wreck.”

Cunningham went on to say how important it is to stop and think before hitting send on a tweet or Facebook post. Once it is out in the Internet, it’s there forever.

With the nature of their respective sports featuring long, continuous months of travel to competitions, social media provided each an outlet to connect with the fans and
the media.

Cunningham regularly held Q & A sessions on Twitter during the duration of the Sochi Olympics. The opportunity to open so many people to the culture of Russia was a responsibility Cunningham took upon himself.

Studebaker recounted an experience during the panel where social media was able to benefit herself.

After a poor performance during the biathlon, Studebaker received an outpour of support from fans from all walks of life through social media.

Cunningham attested as well to the support he received from fans after his crew in the bobsled “flat out choked.”

“The amount of support from people all over was amazing,” Cunningham said. “It really brought me back.”

There are both negatives and positives associated with social media. The ability to connect with fans and gain sponsorships is a great asset for athletes. If caution is not exercised however, social media can ruin an athlete’s career.

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No challenges could stop the Boise State sand volleyball team in their debut season.

 The Broncos were able to overcome a steep learning curve in their transition from indoor, six person volleyball, to playing duals out in the sand—all with only one sand volleyball court to practice at.

Head coach Shawn Garus was grateful Boise State allowed his team to use the sand volleyball court located at the Lincoln Townhomes for this season, but admitted it was challenging to have 12 athletes use one court.

“The biggest challenge was getting consistent practice time without many sand volleyball courts available,” Garus said. “With one court and 12 athletes it was difficult to learn the differences between doubles vs six person volleyball.”

Garus won’t need to worry about having that challenge to overcome next season.

Boise State is currently building a new sand volleyball court facility across the street from the Lincoln turf field. The new facility will be able to host NCAA matches next season.

Insufficient practice only made the opening of the season that much more difficult for Boise State.

Playing more experienced teams in the first weekend of competition, the Broncos found themselves fall to a 2-3 record to start program history.

The difficulties of the opening week would only serve as a learning experience for Boise State however.

“We started the season with strong opponents in California,” Garus said. “Our players learned a lot that first weekend about how the sport is officiated, how important communication with your partner is and that they had the talent to be successful right away.”

Those lessons in officiating and communication would pave the way for the Broncos to go on a four game winning streak, with wins against more established Pac-12 programs Washington and Oregon.

“Winning close matches vs Oregon and Washington was a lot of fun,” Garus said. “It was confidence building for the rest of the sand season and hopefully it will carry over to the indoor season.”

Despite finishing the season with a 4-7 record, Garus called the debut of sand volleyball at Boise State a success, and believes it will pay dividends for the Broncos in the future.

“The new sport of sand volleyball had an excellent debut,” Garus said. “The team was able to win a few matches and gained valuable experience that will help us in the future.”

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Patrick Sweeney / The Arbiter

It took seven hours to determine the winner of the quarterfinal matchup of the Mountain West Championship between Boise State and Wyoming. The Broncos fell, 4-3, after being unable to win the doubles point in the sixth and seventh hours of competition.

“Slug fest. That’s the only way I can describe it,” Boise State head coach Beck Roghaar said.

The match began at 9:30 a.m., and it wasn’t until the sun was setting over Fresno, Calif. that a winner had emerged.

Leading the match 3-2 in the team score, the Broncos had an incredible opportunity to move ahead 4-2, and clinch a semifinal spot in the tournament, at No. 6 singles. Junior Sammie Watson was up 5-2 in the third set, but an injury timeout called by Wyoming stole all of the momentum away from Boise State.

Watson ended up losing her match 0-6, 7-6 (4), 7-5.

“It was a back-and-forth battle and Sammie left everything she had out there. She played her heart out,” Roghaar said. “With the whole team there cheering for her, she was living and dying on every point. At the end of the day, it didn’t go our way.”

Seven hour matches are by no means ordinary and playing through a day-long battle is difficult on both the players and the coaches. However, Roghaar believes his team was sufficiently conditioned and prepared for the uncharacteristic match.

“When it’s that important to all of us it’s not difficult to keep your spirits up because we wanted it so bad,” Roghaar said. “We were all doing everything we all good as a team and as a coaching staff to support the players who were out there.”

[HARD BREAK]

“Attack the future.”

This is the mantra seen repeatedly across social media and the internet which was adopted by the rejuvenated Boise State football program during a difficult transition.

Much like the football team, the Boise State women’s tennis team has had to deal with some changes of their own, resulting in a similar catch phrase.

“Moving forward.”

The Broncos are still struggling from NCAA sanctions imposed in September of 2011 and haven’t completely adjusted to the move from the Western Athletic Conference to the Mountain West.

Hoping to continue the upward trend will be next season’s senior class of Watson, Kaitlyn Brown, while the team is losing crucial leaders Morgan Basil, Sandy Vo and Anissa Bryant-Swift.

“We’re on the rise,” Roghaar said. “When you look at what some of the girls have gone through over the past few years with NCAA penalties and what they’ve been able to do for the program it’s absolutely phenomenal. I couldn’t be more proud of our girls for what they’ve done over the last three or four years and how much the program has moved forward.”

 

 

 

 

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Boise State men’s golf entered this year’s Mountain West Championship the underdog — and that’s exactly how they left.
From the end of the first round on Friday, head coach Kevin Burton knew the Broncos were in for a fight.

Fifteen of the 55 golfers in the field, including Boise State junior Ty Travis, shot par-or-better during the tournament’s first round.

Burton wasn’t surprised by the conference’s ability to record such good scores — according to him the Mountain West is one of the top conferences nationally.

“We knew going into it that this is the second- or third-best conference in the country,” Burton told The Arbiter in an email. “We certainly expected a lot of good play, and that’s what you saw. These guys are going to be the next guys on the PGA Tour.”

Both Travis and freshman David Elliott were placed in the top 25 after the first round, keeping the Broncos in contact with the rest of the conference.
Come day two of the tournament, however, things would change drastically for Boise State.

As a team, the Broncos fell from eighth place to ninth during the second round, and ultimately fell to last place following the conclusion of the third and final round of the tournament.

Travis would also struggle, falling out of the top 10 to a T-20 place finish.

Burton attributed some of Boise State’s struggles to harsh conditions that worsened as the weekend went on.

Cold temperature and windy conditions were factors the Broncos needed to take advantage of in order to upset the Mountain West field, however, that did not end up happening.

“Conditions got very difficult on a good, tough course,” Burton said. “We didn’t handle the wind as well as we would have liked. Those were actually the conditions we needed to try to beat some of these great teams. We just didn’t pull it off.”

Despite struggling at this year’s tournament, Burton feels the young lineup he went with this year will pay dividends in the future.
“We decided to play a very young team to get experience and prepare for the future, and we feel this will help these guys,” Burton said. “They now have a better idea of the level of play in this league, and how hard they’re going to have to work this offseason.”

Led by individual co-champion Gavin Green, New Mexico was able to defend their team title from a year ago, holding off charges from UNLV and San Diego State.

Experiencing déjà vu can be uncomfortable to some. And rightfully so ­— repeating the same event in a Bill Murray Groundhog Day kind of way can be
disconcerting.

Head coach Greg Patton and the Boise State men’s tennis team are starting to get used to the same old same old routine.

For the third straight year, Boise State men’s tennis defeated New Mexico to claim the Mountain West Championship and secure a trip to the NCAA Championship.

The Broncos snagged the doubles point to start the day, and finished with three singles victories to earn the 4-0 victory.

The NCAA Championship begins May 9 for the No. 25 ranked Broncos.

“(New Mexico) is sick of us, and they don’t like us anymore,”  coach Patton said.

The team point has been the most consistent form of success for Boise State this season, and against New Mexico, the Broncos won their 18th-straight doubles point. The pair of Brendan McClain and Garrett Patton cruised with an 8-5 victory at No. 2 doubles.

Boise State (28-4) hasn’t squandered a doubles point since losing to Oregon on the road on March 2.

“Doubles is all about collaboration, passion between two guys and about playing for each other,” Patton said. “Once we get the doubles point we know no one can touch us. And then it empowers the singles.”

After the team point is secured, the Broncos only have to split the six singles matches, something they are very confident in doing. That confidence comes from depth throughout the lineup and the success of the No. 3, four and five players.

Junior Garrett Patton has won 10 matches in a row while sophomore Toby Mitchell has won 12 in a row.

“Damn,” coach Patton said. “That’s impressive. These guys want to win and they’re hungry for that high.”

Boise State may have defeated New Mexico for the Mountain West Championship, but it was the win over Nevada, according to Coach Patton, which secured the title. The Broncos took down the Wolf Pack 4-2 to advance to the conference final.

Nevada also boasts arguably the most talented top-to-bottom roster in the Mountain West.

“Honestly Nevada was the best team in the conference,” coach Patton said. “Once we got past Nevada, I knew that if we won the doubles point there was no way (New Mexico) could touch us. (Nevada) didn’t play anyone, they could’ve beaten teams twice as good. That team is better than half of the teams that get into the NCAA’s.”

Now the Broncos move on to the NCAA Championship in pursuit of Boise State’s first Division I national championship. Patton and the Broncos have earned an at-large berth to the NCAA Championship in each of the three season they’ve been members of the Mountain West.

The last two seasons, Boise State has needed an at-large berth in order to slide into the NCAA’s. This season, however, the Broncos punched their ticket before the beginning of the conference championship.

“This year we knew we were getting in,” coach Patton said. “This is special.”

1 7

Junior Ciera Perkins made school history last weekend at the 2014 NCAA National Gymnastics Championship.

“It was definitely an awesome feeling,” Perkins said. “Having my teammates and my coaches by my side was really nice and such an amazing feeling.”

Perkins finished in eighth place in the floor exercise where she earned her second team All-American honors.

“She was confident in her ability and knew that she belonged at nationals,” co-head coach Tina Bird said. “She performed her best routine of the season there and deserved her All-American Floor team status. We were so excited and proud to be her coaches.”

She became the first gymnast in school history to achieve All-American status in floor exercise and just the fourth All-American in school history.

“It was pretty amazing just watching her,” sophomore Maddie Krentz said. “She has been a great leader and great inspiration to
all of us.”

Competing on the national stage was quite the experience for Perkins.

“It was so surreal and insane,” Perkins said. “I had goose bumps on almost every single routine but then I got up on the floor and all my nerves calmed down.”

Perkins journey to becoming an All-American and one of the most prolific gymnasts in school history started at the age of four when she first started doing gymnastics.

“My mom saw an ad in the newspaper and decided since I flipped in all other sports we should try this,” Perkins said. “I ended up loving it and have loved it ever since.”

Perkins came to Boise State by way of Las Vegas where she was born and raised. She was part of the Gymcasts Gymnastics Club there and it wasn’t long before Boise State took notice.

“Her coaches contacted us and asked us to take a look at her as they thought she would be a perfect fit for our program and they were right,” Bird said.  “She attended our camp one summer as well and we all fell in love with her work ethic and enthusiasm. “

Soon after Perkins chose Boise State for one main reason.

“Definitely the coaches,” Perkins said. “They had this mentality of me improving each year and that is what I really wanted to do, not only athletically but academically as well.”

The rest is history as Perkins has gone on to become a vital part of the gymnastics team success over the last few seasons.

“She leads by example and next season we expect her to just keep on doing what she did this year,” Bird said.  “She is a workhorse who is fun to coach and is calm and steady in competition and her consistency is something that the team came to count on.”

Perkins credits many people with all the success she has had during her time here.

“Definitely my parents, coaches, and teammates,” Perkins said. “Without them I definitely would not have been on that national stage and they have supported me all the way.”

Perkins had one of the best seasons in school history and with still another year left perhaps the best is still yet to come from her.

“Ciera definitely will go down as one of the best gymnasts in school history,” Bird said.  “She had a record- setting season and I have no doubt she will continue that trend next season.”

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Boise State men’s basketball signed their newest addition to the 2014-2015 season last week as Pratt Community College transfer Kevin Allen signed his letter of intent for the Broncos.

“We are really excited to get Kevin,” head coach Leon Rice told Bronco Sports. “He fills a need for us with size we’ve been lacking and the departure of Ryan Watkins. Kevin has tremendous upside, and with his work ethic and our system, we’re really looking forward to his development as a Bronco.”

Allen helped lead Pratt to a berth in the NJCAA Tournament earlier this year, as the Beavers were ousted in the first round. The 6-foot-10 Michigan native scored 31 points and pulled down 17 rebounds in the first round defeat.

Allen will have big shoes to fill as he replaces former forward Ryan Watkins, who was named as a Second Team All-Mountain West player after becoming the first player in Mountain West history to score over 200 points and record over 200 rebounds in conference play during the 2013-2014 season.

“It felt like a perfect fit for me,” Allen said. “Coach Rice showed a lot more interest in me than the other schools and they (the Broncos) play at a very
high level.”

After his freshman year at Jackson Community College in Michigan where he averaged 8.8 points and 6.5 rebounds per game in the 2012-2013 season, Allen transferred to Pratt in Kansas where he scored 13.4 points and pulled down 8.4 rebounds per game as a redshirt
sophomore.

Pratt will join the Broncos for the 2014-2015 season as he prepares for the Mountain West as a redshirt junior.

“I’ve been waiting for an opportunity like this my whole life,” Allen said. “I just needed someone to give me a chance.”