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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.”


“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

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.”

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All-American senior Ciera Perkins is leading her team through summer workouts. Devin Ferrell/The Arbiter

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

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.”

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All season, the Boise State women’s golf team has been trying to gain a better understanding of their conference foes before the Mountain Championship occurring later this week.

So far, they like their chances.

With victories against every Mountain West school they’ve faced this season, the Broncos are looking to improve on their sixth place conference ranking and contend for a championship.

“I think we are just as good as any team in the conference,” head coach Nicole Bird said. “I think there’s going to be a lot of pressure on other schools that are ranked a little higher that more have that expectation to win and have all that pressure on them.”

Coming off of top three finishes in five of their last nine tournaments, the Broncos are peaking at just the right time.

Sophomore Samantha Martin has been the unquestioned leader of this years squad with six top 10 finishes and owning the share of two tournament titles this season.

Martin, paired with fellow sophomore McKenzie Ford, who returned from an injury in early March, gives Boise State two golfers expected to place well over the weekend.

“In the last few tournaments where we’ve played MWC teams, we actually did really well,” freshman Genevieve Ling said. “We don’t plan on going in there with the mentality that we have to win this, but we know that we could do that.”

Bird is excited to see if Boise State’s lineup for the MWC championships can continue their streak of earning at least a share of a tournament victory.

When together, the lineup of Martin, Ford, Ling, Sammie Pless and Oceane Pelloille have won both the Winthrop Intercollegiate, and a share of the Fresno State Lexus Classic.

“It feels good to have our full line-up,” Bird said. “Team chemistry wise, I think they’re really gelling. They’re focused when they need to, but they’re relaxed when  they’re not on the golf course.”

Boise State will also have knowledge on the par-72, 6,324-yard Dinah Shore Course from Gerina Piller, an LPGA golfer who has played the course before.

Bird was able to get notes from Piller via Ryan Hietala, the men’s assistant coach who attended UTEP with Piller.

“I think it’s one of the best championship golf courses there is,” Bird said. “I think what it does is it evens out the field really well.”

Tee begins with Pelloille at 8:45 a.m. on Thursday. The Broncos will be paired with Nevada and UNLV for the opening round.

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The Omni Tucson National Golf Resort could not be a better host for the Mountain West Golf Championships for the Boise State men’s golf program.

The long fairways and non-undulated greens of the course that have played host to multiple PGA Tour and NCAA events play right to the strengths of Boise State, according to head coach Kevin Burton.

“You need to hit your tee balls in the right area and you need to hit them straight,” Burton said. “That fits right into our game plan. We’re very good strikers and we hit into a lot of fairways.”

Couple that with a group of golfers hungry for a taste of victory with an underdog mentality and you have a recipe for an upset – something every golfer on the Boise State roster is thinking about.

With that underdog mentality, Burton believes Boise State is in an excellent position to surprise some of the best teams this weekend.

Not having the pressure and expectation of victory is a gift allowing the Broncos to go into Tucson with nothing to lose.

“We don’t have any pressure at all,” Burton said. “We go out there, swing away and try to make birdies.”

UNLV, San Diego State and New Mexico, all ranking as some of the top teams in the nation, are favorites to walk away with the championship, but Burton and freshman David Elliott know that while anything can happen, Boise State is going to need to put up its best performance of the season to finish in the top five over the weekend.

“In a few tournaments we’ve been in the position to do something really special; we just haven’t quite been able to put it together yet,” Elliott said. “I think if we can all click at the same time and be smart and make good decisions, the sky’s the limit for us. It’ll be fun to see.”

Boise State’s lineup will feature Elliott and fellow freshman Mark Brassey, sophomore Logan France, junior Ty Travis and senior Jordan Skyles.

Travis, consistently one of the Broncos’ top golfers is looking forward to a great championship atmosphere and a top 10 finish as an individual.

“I’m really excited,” Travis said. “It should be great weather and we have a really strong conference so it should be a lot of fun.”

The action begins Friday April 25 from Tucson, Ariz.

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Boise State men’s tennis head coach Greg Patton is getting antsy.

He’s antsy because the Broncos, now ranked 24th in the nation, have secured the top seed in the Mountain West Championship and are one step closer to a possible national championship.

The Mountain West Championship begins today in Fresno, Calif. at the Sierra Sport & Racquet Club, and will run through Sunday. Boise State will first step on the court at 11 a.m. Mountain Time against Utah State.

“I can almost kiss (the national championship),” Patton said. “No team has won a national championship in Division I here. Why not us? I think we’ve proven to everyone what we can do. We’ve beaten teams in the top 10.”

Boise State (25-4, 5-0 MW) is no stranger to talented teams. In fact, the Broncos are in position to win their third straight Mountain West Championship following back-to-back seasons with victories over New Mexico. The Broncos beat the Aggies 4-0 in 2012 and 4-3 in 2013.

“This is the most dangerous team I’ve been on,” Nathan Sereke said. “My sophomore year we had a really good team too, but this is the most dangerous team we’ve had. We could upset many good teams.”

This team is led by two seniors, Andy Bettles and Nathan Sereke, Patton’s top two singles players. With a record of 23-14 this season, Bettles has crept into the national rankings where he sits at 89th individually.

The Broncos rose as high as No. 15 in the International Tennis Association rankings this season. After winning the Blue-Gray National Tennis Classic in February, Boise State went from No. 41 in the country to No. 15.

Boise State might have improved on its season-best ranking late in the season if not for a devastating loss to Stanford on the road on April 1. The loss dropped the Broncos out of the top 20 once again.

Weather conditions and poor coaching decisions – this according to Patton himself – were mostly to blame for the 4-0 Cardinal sweep in Palo Alto, Calif.

“We’re not in the top 15, and there’s one reason, and one reason only: that Stanford debacle,” Patton told The Arbiter. “It was totally my fault , we should’ve never played that match because it was raining. It wasn’t (my team’s) fault.”

Most recently the Broncos grabbed two wins against Air Force and San Francisco last Saturday, 7-0 and 4-1 respectively. With the win against the Falcons, Boise State locked up the Mountain West regular season title with an undefeated conference record.

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Junior gymnasts Kelsey Morris and Ciera Perkins excelled at the 2014 NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships as Perkins earned Second Team All-American honors while both set Boise State records in each of their events.

“Ciera is our first All-American on floor exercise,” co-head coach Tina Bird told Broncosports. “This is such an honor for a very deserving gymnast and we are so happy
for her.”

Perkins earned a score of 9.90 for her floor routine. She would finish in a tie for eighth-place with seven other gymnasts from Alabama, Florida, UCLA and Utah. Perkins became the first Bronco to be named an All-American in the floor exercise and the fourth All-American in the history of Boise State gymnastics.

Kelsey Morris took part in the uneven bars and her score of 9.850 tied the highest score in Boise State history at the national championships in the event. She tied for 10th with 12 other competitors from Arkansas, Alabama, Florida, Nebraska, UCLA and Utah.

“We’re extremely proud of Kelsey and Ciera,” said Bird. “They did awesome routines and represented Boise State well. They will be great leaders to our dedicated and hungry team going into next season.”

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Bryan Talbot / The Arbiter

For Lauren Lucas, remaining busy has been a major part of her life.

After four years in the elementary education program and as a member of the Boise State cross country and track and field teams, Lucas was announced as a Top 10 Scholar for the Class of 2014 earlier this month — the ultimate pay-off for her hard work.

“I’m very very thankful for it, but this wasn’t even something I knew was possible, to be honest,” Lucas said. “I didn’t realize how much I actually wanted it until I won it.”

The Top 10 Scholar recognition is awarded to students with a minimum of a 3.8 GPA, and based off of nominations and an accreditation packet submitted to the dean of their college.

During the fall cross country season, an average day for Lucas began at 5 a.m. She completed a 10 mile run in the Boise foothills with her teammates before she began her student teaching at Jefferson Elementary School at 7:30 in the morning.

Lucas would remain at Jefferson until 4:45 in the afternoon, student teaching second grade classroom. After Lucas fulfilled her responsibilities student teaching she would begin her second workout of the day with weight exercises.

With the added hassle of traveling for cross country meets, Lucas found herself constantly on the move, rarely finding time at home.

“I was just tired. There wasn’t a lot to do, it was just my body was run down,” Lucas said.

Despite the hours Lucas spent on the road traveling or inside a classroom, Lucas enjoyed every minute of the constant movement, preferring to stay busy.

“I like to be busy,” Lucas said. “I would rather be busy than not doing anything. I drive myself crazy without a lot going on.”

Lucas’s endeavors in running and student teaching are coupled with being a member of the Boise State Honors College, a program that required her to be present for several events, as well as added papers to write and presentations to give — all of this added to her already full schedule.

Her schedule lightened up in the spring, however, when a hip injury was discovered after the fall season.

After months of not knowing what was causing the pain in her hips, an MRI and X-ray informed Lucas of a bone deformity that caused a tear in the cartilage which effectively ended her senior season.

With her season over and requiring surgery, Lucas could no longer participate in an activity that brought her enjoyment. This threw a wrench in her plans of graduating in four years, as well as finishing her eligibility in four years.

With her injury however, Lucas found more time and energy to put into teaching — something she believes goes hand in hand with running.

“Running has definitely played a role in my life and wanting to teach,” Lucas said. “You don’t get a lot of recognition with running. It’s a lot of on your own stuff. With teaching, it’s appreciated, but you don’t get a lot of recognition for it.”

After graduation, Lucas hopes to work in an elementary school classroom, preferably in the Boise area, while remaining close to the sport of running as a coach.

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The Arbiter

The Boise State women’s softball team is looking to close the season strong

“We are hoping by the end of the season we are playing our strongest ball,” head coach Erin Thorpe said. “We are hoping we really come together these last five weeks of the

The Broncos are on a roll as of late as they prepare to go on the road to face fellow conference rivals
Utah State.

“I’m expecting some big wins,” senior outfielder Tara Glover said. “It’s going to be exciting and it’s going to come down to those last couple games to see who wins conference. Hopefully it’s us.”

After losing four games in row, Boise State won six out of eight games to move to 23-19, 8-7 in the

“I think it’s going really well,” Glover said. “We are connecting as a team and are looking to finish strong.”

The Broncos are currently ranked sixth in the conference. While that is not where they want to be, they know that can all change.

“We have had good games and bad but every team goes though that,” junior infielder Jordan Kreiger said. “It’s about what we do from here on out.”

To do that the Broncos have been working on a few key things in practice.

“We have really been focusing on our defense,” Glover said. “We are waiting for that one game to really show teams what we can really do on the defensive side of the ball.”

Boise State is looking to take the conference by storm even if no one else thinks they can.

“People may underestimates us but that’s alright because I love being the underdog and proving people wrong,” Glover said.

In order for that to become a reality the Broncos know they just need to focus on themselves.

“We are trying to stay relaxed and not think about the standings so much,” Kreiger said. “We know if we just play our game that it’s going to reward us.”

Boise State has been hindered with injuries but they have not let that deter them this year.

“We have had to use a majority of our athletes this season just because of all our injuries and illnesses,” Thorpe said. “Our team has been really resilient in that way so when someone goes down someone else picks it up and takes that spot.”

Even with all the ups and downs this year, the ultimate goal of a Mountain West championship is still very much within reach.

“It would mean a lot, Kreiger said. “It would be the first time in our school history making it to the post season and that has always been in the back of our minds and be a huge rewarding goal.”

But that is not the only goal this year.

“I just want to see the girls compete,” Thorpe said. “Go out there and have fun, work hard, and give it everything they have, knowing they left it all out there and have no regrets on the way we ended the season.”

No matter what happens this season the team has each other and that is their biggest strength.

“We work really well together, all get along, all hangout, and understand each other on and off the field,” Kreiger said. “It’s a family bond and that is nice.”

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For men’s tennis seniors Andy Bettles and Nathan Sereke, the time has come to say goodbye to the blue courts of the Appleton Tennis Center.

The Broncos (23-4, 4-0 MW) will play their final matches of the regular season against conference opponent Air Force, and San Francisco on Saturday. This will be Boise State’s last opportunity to raise its national stock before embarking for the Mountain West Championships in Fresno, Calif. on April 24.

Air Force will be the first opponent of the day at 11 a.m., followed by San Francisco at 6 p.m.

Both seniors hail from overseas, with Bettles coming to Boise State by way of Reeds School in Somerset, England and Sereke transplanting from Samgymnasiet in Stockholm, Sweden. Bettles and Sereke entered the program as head coach Greg Patton’s No. 5 and No. 6 singles players. They are now his No. 1 and No. 2 respectively.

“When I first got here, I was kind of like ‘what am I doing here?’” Sereke said. “I didn’t know anyone and I barely spoke any English, and it was hard. I thought for sure I was going to go back home, but now I can’t see myself anywhere else.”

Last season, Bettles became the Broncos clear-cut star, tallying a 30-10 overall record and qualifying for the NCAA Singles Championship as a junior. In the 2013-14 season, Bettles has slipped a bit, and is 22-14 and 4-6 against ranked opponents. Sereke holds a singles record of 13-12 heading into his final home matches.

Despite Bettles’s less pronounced individual record, he’s pleased that Boise State — now ranked No. 24 in the nation — is putting together one of its most dominant seasons in program history.

“Each year we’ve gotten slightly better since I’ve been here, and it’s great to have an unbelievable senior year,” Bettles said. “It means everything.”

Though senior day is important for every athletic program on campus, the Broncos have more pressing matters at hand. With the Mountain West Championship around the corner, followed by the NCAA Regional and National Championship, Boise State still has some areas to improve.

The Broncos will capture an outright Mountain West regular season title with a win over Air Force. This season hasn’t been without drama, as the Broncos have come down to the final court in multiple matches.

“You want to be the king of your neighborhood,” Patton said. “We’re like the actor who goes from one action thriller to the next; we’re the Alfred Hitchcock of collegiate tennis.”

Patton has a running wager with other coaches on campus to be the first head coach to bring a Division I national championship to Boise State. With this year’s program, he has never been closer.

“I can almost kiss (the national championship),” Patton said. “I bet (Chris) Petersen who could do it first, Leon (Rice), and I’ll probably talk to (Bryan) Harsin about it. That’s the way I want my guys to think: why not? Why not us?

“We could do this. All the stars have to align, but the stars do align,” Patton said.”

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ROBBY MILO/THE ARBITER - The Boise State track and field team is enjoying its most dominant season in recent memory.
ROBBY MILO/THE ARBITER - The Boise State track and field team is enjoying its most dominant season in recent memory.

Hayli Bozarth and Matt Post, both throwers on the track and field team, look to lead the Broncos in their next event at the Bryan Clay Invitational in Azusa, Calif. Both seniors, Bozarth and Post are coming off impressive performances in their last competition, sustaining optimism heading into their next meet.

“I’m really excited because this last week was a huge shock to me because practice wasn’t going so well,” said Post.

Having had a better week of preparation leading up to the meet down in California, Post feels the level of competition that is going to be there will only elevate his game.

“I’m hoping for some big marks this weekend. Oregon has a great hammer thrower in Greg Skipper. Hopefully he can help push me to a new level,” Post said. “I never touch my (personal record) in practice. I have never thrown within five feet of my P.R. in practice. If you can throw five feet of what you can throw in practice, you’re usually in a pretty good place.”

As for Bozarth she is coming off a performance that broke a 23-year-old school record which amazingly wasn’t even a personal best.

“The thing is, it’s not a personal best so that’s the hard thing and it was only by two inches so it’s like ‘yeah I broke the school record but I know there is more left in the tank,’” Bozarth said. Her personal record is 52-9.25 at the NCAA West Preliminary when she was a member of the Iowa State track and field team.

At this point in the season it seems to be all coming to together, whose time is dwindling down as a competitive college thrower. So what’s actually been the difference for Bozarth?

“Technique; getting back into it is just a matter of time it will come,” Bozarth said.

Collectively the team as a whole isn’t going to be competing for any championships this year, so closing out the season strong is going to be a valuable learning experience for the young members of the team.

“As long as everyone can come to the championship and do their best I think we can come out with very good performances overall,” Post said.  Bozarth added by saying, “I think it’s just getting some of the young ones in and getting them that experience because down the road two years from now they can come together as a team.”

The Bryan Clay Invitational takes places all day April 18 at Azusa Pacific.

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Long, bleak, freezing winters, defined by snow and gray skies, have never been advantageous for Boise State’s golf programs.

Months locked in two small rooms in Bronco Stadium – dubbed the “dungeons” by the men’s golf team – have led to struggles recruiting and rusty golfers come the spring season.

For those reasons, head coach Kevin Burton has begun a campaign to raise $500,000 in order to build a state of the art indoor practice facility located at Warm Springs Golf Course.

“When I first took over the program nine years ago we had nothing,” Burton said. “They’re not the nicest in the world but it’s gotten the job done. It’s at the point where we need to upgrade ours and get something done.”

The new facility will feature a hitting center which would allow four golfers to hit at once. The hitting center will be equipped with state of the art video and launch monitors and new club fitting technology.

Alongside the hitting center will be a 2,500 sq. ft. indoor facility used for practice in short game and putting. It  will equipped with a three tier putting green with three different kinds of grasses to hit from.

Burton hopes to raise the $500,000 through both naming rights and private donations. In order to have the facility built by winter, the money must be raised by the end of May or early June.

“It’s not going to be easy,” Burton said.

While appreciative of the rooms in Bronco Stadium provided, freshman David Elliot feels they are not getting the job done.

“One of the main things you miss out on all winter is seeing the ball fly,” Elliot said. “You can do as much on your swing as you can and get kind of a general feeling of your shot, but unless you can actually see where the ball is going you’re never 100% sure.”

The new indoor facility will not only help the Broncos enter spring with a better feeling of their game, but also level the playing field when it comes to recruiting.

Boise State has recently struggled to recruit against other MWC schools such as Wyoming — which just completed a $2 million facility.

“To bring a golfer to Boise, ID is not the easiest thing in the world,” Burton said. “They usually get here and love the city and love the school. We do have a phenomenal community, but the winter aspect does scare some away.”

The Boise State gymnastics team is sending two members to the NCAA Women’s Gymnastics National Championships this weekend.

Despite not qualifying as a team, the Broncos are sending juniors Ciera Perkins and Kelsey Morris to the biggest stage of collegiate gymnastics.

“I’m excited. We are going against teams we haven’t competed against and girls we haven’t seen before,” Perkins said. “I’m just excited to go out there and show people who Boise State is and show them we have amazing talent and we can go to nationals next year.”

Both Perkins and Morris won their respective events to qualify for nationals: Perkins on floor exercise and Morris on uneven bars.

“Just being able to represent Boise State is such an honor,” Morris said.  “I want to put us on the map and let people know that we are out there.”

Perkins and Morris join a shortlist of national qualifiers in school history. Only seven other individuals have qualified for nationals.

“I’m so proud of them and I am super excited to see these two particular girls going to nationals,” co-head coach Tina Bird said.  “They are both leaders and work harder than anyone else in the gym.”

Morris became the first ever Bronco in school history to qualify for uneven bars. Morris is the first to go in floor exercise since Hannah Redmon did it back in 2010.

They are not letting all the attention and pressure that comes with making it to nationals get to them.

“The most important part for me is to take a moment and sit back and enjoy it,” Morris said. “I realize how lucky I am and how cool of an experience this is going to be.”

Whatever happens at nationals the girls are just happy to be able to have this opportunity.

“Pretty much go out there and have fun is the way I am looking at this,” Perkins said.  “Show people I’m happy to be there and realize this is a life experience that I will always remember.”

Both Morris and Perkins wish though they would be able to share this experience with their teammates.

“That’s one of the bittersweet parts of going to nationals — not being able to go there with our teammates,” Morris said. “But just knowing that they are supporting us and wishing us well will get us through the meet.”

Morris and Perkins attribute all their success this season to their team and will be competing for them.

“Without our teammates support we definitely wouldn’t be standing here,” Perkins said. “They definitely motivate us to be the best we can be.”

They know they are more than capable of being successful and know exactly what they need to do in order to make that a reality.

“We have done the work already,” Morris said. “Now it’s just a matter of going out there and executing it like we have all season.”

Perkins and Morris have cemented their legacies at Boise State and Bird sees the national championships as the perfect capstone.

“I’m expecting them to go in and do what they have been doing all season long and do the best routines they can do,” Bird said.  “When they do that no matter what the outcome is I will be happy with that.”

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Former Boise State golfer Graham DeLaet made history on Thursday, April 10, when he became the first Bronco to compete in the Masters when he appeared in the first of four PGA Tour major championships this season.

DeLaet, currently ranked 30th in the world following a eighth place finish in the FedEx Cup race and 16th in the PGA Tour money list in 2013, joined 23 other Masters rookies in their first appearances at Augusta National Golf Club over the weekend.

Unfortunately for DeLaet, the weekend would be short-lived as the 32-year-old Canadian would fail to make the cut, something many Masters first timers have done before him.

Entering the week the odds were not in DeLaet’s favor, as a player has not won the Masters in their first appearance since Fuzzy Zoeller accomplished the feat in 1979.

DeLaet’s opening round 8-over par 80 all but sealed his fate for an early exit as the deceptiveness of the treacherous Augusta greens baffled the former Bronco.

“It’s so tricky. There’s so many little intricacies. It takes time to learn, and get familiar with some of the bounces you’re going to get. I think it does take a few years to get the hang of this golf course,” DeLaet said to The Vancouver Sun. “And it would have been nice to play a couple more rounds here this weekend. Unfortunately, I won’t get that chance.”

While the nerves seemed to be shaken off in Friday’s second round, DeLaet was never able to get in a good rhythm to post a necessary score to qualify for the weekend, as his even par 72, bringing his two-day total to 8-over par, would be three shots shy of the cut line of 5-over par.

“The greens were just so much faster and trickier than I had anticipated, so maybe (next time) I’ll spend a little more time around the greens and putting,” DeLaet told The Vancouver Sun. “But at the same time, it’s so much different once the tournament starts from how it was Tuesday and Wednesday. It’s hard to get the feel of how lightning-fast it is.”

DeLaet’s dejection was expected, after receiving an outpouring of support through social media throughout the week. The former Bronco did take to Twitter to discuss his experience however, tweeting out on Friday “Still the best week of my life…”

Delaet’s next PGA Tour will come on April 17-20 at the RBC Heritage Open at Harbour Town Golf Links in Hilton Head, S.C.

With most coaching changes, many fans expect the transition to be quick, seamless and yield immediate results.

Boise State fell far short of its Spring Game attendance goal of 20,000, as only 13,822 filled the stands.

Unfortunately, Saturday’s Spring Game offered a dose of reality to many Boise State fans expecting to see the full of extent of Bryan Harsin’s return to the glory days of Bronco football.

The annual Blue and Orange Spring Game saw both the offense and defense struggle during the game, with the first stringers pulling out a 21-7 win over the second team.

While the Spring Game brought many answers –such as strength along the defensive line as well as Jake Roh appearing as the missing link at tight end – many questions still remain unanswered.

“There was some good, some bad,” Harsin said following the game. “As you go back and forth a lot of things to work on and build from but plenty of positives
as well.”

Offensive coordinator Mike Sanford cemented Harsin’s comments with what he saw from the coaches box.

“It was a tale of two halves,” Sanford said. “We got a lot of things out of our offense, but we’re not where we need
to be.”

The conclusion of spring practice still leaves many questions for the coaching staff to answer in the coming months.

Who becomes the back-up to quarterback Grant Hedrick? Thomas Stuart or Ryan Finley?

Who gets carries behind Jay Ajayi in the backfield?

Will the offensive line continue to be the Broncos’ Achilles heel?

Neither Stuart or Finely created much separation on Saturday. While Finley showed his arm injury from last year won’t be an issue, Stuart showed flashes of brilliance and athleticism Finley couldn’t match.

Stuart tossed a costly interception to a wide-open Darren Lee to tighten the gap between himself and Finley.

Harsin, Sanford and Hedrick all agree there’s been tremendous growth from
the two.

With the struggles along the offensive line and one returning starter competing during spring practices, much of Boise State’s offense struggled.

Electric playmaking was soon killed by defensive pressure causing the offense to be unable to stretch out any drives.

“You want to sustain drives; it’s great to move the ball in the open field, anybody can do that,” Harsin said. “Can you do it back to back? Can you do it in the red zone? Can you move down the field? We’ve shown signs that we can do that, but we’re not there yet.”

The Broncos made jumps this spring in implementing Harsin and Sanford’s offense to a young and inexperienced team, but there is still a long way to go before Boise State is back to dominating defenses the way they used to.

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In arguably the most anticipated golf tournament on the PGA Tour, former Boise State golfer Graham DeLaet will become the first Bronco to compete in the Masters when he tees it up on Thursday, April 10 at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia.

“If there is one tournament I could play in and be done with golf it would be Augusta and the Masters,” DeLaet said. “I still kind of pinch myself once in a while to know I’m going to be there in a couple weeks.”

DeLaet is not a stranger to the big stage as a professional at this point in his career.

While this will be DeLaet’s first Masters, it will be his third appearance in a major championship, as he finished 83rd in the 2013 Open Championship in his first major appearance, and missing the cut at his first PGA Championship just a few weeks later.

DeLaet earned his first Masters invitation by way of his stellar 2013 season long performance, getting himself into the Tour Championship, a tournament reserved for the top-30 on the PGA Tour money list come mid-September every year, as he finished eighth in the 2013 FedEx Cup race.

“I have been playing well, doing the right things both on and off the course. That’s the goal,” DeLaet said. “You want to get in that winner’s circle and the only way to do that is to keep giving yourself chances.”

Now ranking 30th in the world, the Canadian golfer, who still resides in Boise, has made three World Golf Championships appearances this season, events only the top-50 in the world compete in, and seems to be up for the challenge of Augusta National.

“I think it (Augusta) suits my game pretty well. It’s long. You have to be able to control the ball well, control your ball flight,” DeLaet said. “Into the greens you have to hit the right spots and control your distance and those are things I kind of pride myself on being able to do.”

DeLaet has knocked on the door of his first PGA Tour victory several times in the last couple of seasons, including two runner-up finishes this season. While no first time Masters competitor has won in their Augusta debut, DeLaet’s confidence is high going into the event.

“There hasn’t been a first time winner sine 1979 and I’d like to change that,” DeLaet said. “But that being said, it’s a week I’ve looked forward to my entire life and I want to make sure I have fun. If I can play well, then that would be a bonus.”

DeLaet will tee off on Thursday morning at 10:30 a.m. MT with 2008 Masters Champion Trevor Immelman, and amateur Oliver Gross. DeLaet’s Friday tee time is scheduled for 7:02 a.m. MT with the same pairings. Coverage of the first two rounds can be seen on ESPN at 1 p.m. MT or at

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For the first time in school history, Boise State has an official sand volleyball team.

“I think it’s really exciting and we are all pretty excited about it,” junior outside hitter Sarah
Horton said.

This brand new sports program was added this past year and its maiden season is officially

“It was fun,” freshman middle backer  Laney Hayes said. “It was a surprise to come out and see teams with previous experience and that weekend was a big learning experience for us.”

The Broncos had their first games this past weekend with a California road trip that saw Boise State win two out of five matches.

“I’m really excited on where we are at,” head coach Shawn Garus said. “We didn’t know what to expect and picking up two wins was just fantastic.”

Garus, who is also the head coach for the indoor volleyball team, was instrumental in bringing sand volleyball to Boise State.

“I have been involved with trying to grow the sport of sand volleyball for over six years now,” Garus said.

The sand volleyball team is made up entirely of the indoor volleyball team from the fall and its focus right now is helping the team get that valuable extra experience.

“I think playing in the sand will get me more comfortable going into my senior indoor season,” sophomore outside hitter Alyssa Gammel said. “It’s definitely going to benefit me and our entire team.”

Though much of the team hasn’t played competitively in sand before, Gammel has already seen

“Not a whole lot of us have played sand volleyball before so it’s definitely a learning experience, Gammel said. “But we have definitely benefitted from it.”

Sand volleyball is quite different than normal indoor volleyball so there is a lot to adjust to.

“It’s definitely more personal,” Gammel said. “You learn to work with each other and communicate with one another because it’s just you and that other person.”

Boise State is hoping the addition of the program will prompt more players to come to the university.

“It will really help in the recruiting process,” Garus said. “Being able to be one of the schools that offers both indoor and sand volleyball is fantastic and this will bring in more recruits.”

The future of the sport does indeed looks bright as already several other schools across the nation have or are considering
adding it.

“I believe there will be as many as six Mountain West schools having a sand volleyball in the next two years,” Garus said. “I see it growing a lot in our conference and it’s a sport that’s not going to go away, so we want to put ourselves in a position where we are going to be competitive.”

Despite inexperience the Broncos are looking to have a solid season and believe they have what it takes
to do so.

“We definitely have the potential to win matches which we proved this last weekend,” Horton said. “Hopefully we can keep competing, keeping the matches close and
getting wins.”

The team certainly feels that is only the beginning and that the best is still yet to come.

“It’s just exciting to think about the upcoming years,” Hayes said. “Once we get that experience under our belts we can keep getting better and compete with those top teams.”

One of the first things on Boise State head football coach Bryan Harsin’s mind appears to be showing appreciation.

 The opportunity to return to Boise State, his hometown school and alma mater, has not been an opportunity Harsin has taken lightly.

Harsin opened up April 5 scrimmage up to members of the Boise State faculty and students and spoke before the scrimmage of his appreciation of support the university and students have provided for his student-athletes.

The scrimmage would not be the only thing Harsin opened up to the university — two and a half hours before the scrimmage began, the Gene Bleymaier Football Complex and Bronco Stadium were filled with fans and university faculty.

According to ASBSU President Bryan Vlok, the event, dubbed On the Blue, was a combination of a several groups across campus together to begin planning the event before students left for spring break.

Vlok said the event was important to get the university more invested in the Broncos.

“I believe it is important for Boise State students, faculty and staff to tour the facilities and get on the blue to be able to get more invested in our Broncos,” Vlok said.

“I think we are taking steps to break down some walls between athletics and Boise State to become one united campus.”

Students and faculty were led on a brief tour of the Bleymaier Football Complex which took them through the team room and weight room before walking out of the tunnel onto the blue turf for an assortment of activities such as throwing drills, PAT attempts, pictures with the Buster Bronco mascot and cheerleaders, as well as photos with Harsin himself.

Freshman music education major Kaelin Ward enjoyed the opportunity to see things from the perspective of the Boise State players and coaches.

“It was really fun taking the tour,” Ward said. “Walking through the tunnel was a different experience to look at it from the players perspective.”

Roughly 600 individuals took the tour and participated on the blue turf while roughly 1,500 fans attended the scrimmage — an overall success for Vlok.

“My favorite part of this event was [everyone’s] reaction,” Vlok said. “To be able see how excited and appreciative they were of Football allowing them into their complex and getting to have an awesome experience on The Blue.”

Vlok hopes the event becomes a Boise State tradition and continues to grow in the coming years.

Check out our gallery for more photos from Student Day on the Blue.

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Dreams really do come true.

“It’s just a crazy feeling,” senior Jake Swartz said. “You put so much work into something and for it to finally come true—it’s all I could ever hope for.”

 Swartz achieved his ultimate dream by becoming the 11th All-American in the past seven years for the Boise State wrestling team.

“It didn’t hit me till after the match,” Swartz said. “Easily the best feeling of my life.”

Swartz placed 7th at the tournament and now joins a long list of All-American wrestlers that have come through the program.

“It’s awesome to be able to put yourself next to guys like Kirk Smith and Adam Hall,” Swartz said. “I really set myself and my wrestling career where I wanted to be.”

The path to becoming an All-American didn’t come easily for Swartz. The previous three seasons, he came home empty-handed.

“When the round of 12 came up, all I could think about was last year and how I fell,” Swartz said. “But I told myself I wasn’t going to have any regrets and went out there and wrestled as hard as I could.”

 It was especially difficult for him last season where he came a mere match away from placing.

“Anytime you get that close its going to haunt you for a while,” head coach Greg Randall said. “He got over that and I’m proud of him because I know he worked hard to get there.”

Despite the hardships and shortcomings, Swartz kept at it and it paid off in the biggest of ways.

“It was very satisfying as a coach seeing a guy like Jake, who becoming an All-American had escaped him his whole career, go out and become one,” Randall said. “I was so happy for Jake when he won that All-American match.”

In fact Swartz credits his disappointing experiences with helping him succeed this year.

“If I didn’t have last year’s experience I don’t think I would have become an All-American,” Swartz said. “That experience and that drive really pushed me through the tournament.”

Swartz also knew he had to make some changes to his wrestling if this tournament was going to be different.

“I wrestled different and took a lot more risks, going for things instead of holding back and waiting for opportunities,” Swartz said.

Swartz ended his career on a high note and loved every second of his time here.

“It’s been the best five years of my life and I wouldn’t change it for anything,” Swartz said. “All the experience has led me to the person that I am today and I’m really grateful for the opportunity.”

Swartz attributes many people to his success such as his coaches and teammates but there is one that stands out more than the rest.

“My father is number one,” Swartz said. “He has been with me the whole time making sure I had everything I needed.”

To everyone who has a dream he has this to say.

“Hard work and dedication gets you where you want to go,” Swartz said. “If you put in the work you are going to get out what you want from it.”


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Senior Matt Miller was arguably one of the best offensive weapons the Broncos had last season.

“He knows what to do,”  head coach Bryan Harsin said. “He picks things up conceptually and can play all three positions at wide receiver.”

Miller had 88 catches for 1140 yards and 12 touchdowns for Boise State as a junior and Harsin is expecting more of the same this season.

“A guy like Matt gives you a lot flexibility and versatility in your offense,”Harsin said.

In his latest press conference Harsin spent a good amount of time addressing his thoughts on his star wide receiver.

“As a coach you look at the talent and are like ok, big, strong, fast, all that is great, but how hard is this guy really going to work and go out there and prepare himself,” Harsin said. “Matt has been a guy since day one that has always had those qualities.”

While Harsin was at Boise State, when Miller was just a true freshman, he left before he got to see him really develop into the standout receiver the Broncos have been accustomed to over the last few seasons—but that didn’t mean he didn’t take notice.

“He was a guy that just kept showing up in practice as a young guy and making plays,” Harsin said. “That’s carried over.”

In fact, Harsin expected the type of success that Miller has had over the last few seasons at Boise State before he left.

“When he was just a freshman here he stood out to me,” Harsin said. “It just wasn’t about the talent but how hard he was working.”

Hard work is exactly what Harsin likes to see out of his players, and no one better embodies that than Miller.

“That’s the one thing about Matt,” Harsin said.  “He is a guy that has that talent and works extremely hard.”

Even with the great seasons that Miller has had for the Broncos, Harsin is expecting more out of him.

“He has confidence and he is going to come into fall camp confident and prepared,” Harsin said. “Just because of who he is he will come back at the end of August as a better player than he is now.”

Harsin has no doubts about this because of the type of player Miller is.

“Matt will be the first one to tell you that he has got to get better and he will because that is his mindset and that’s how he works,” Harsin said.

Harsin expects Miller to have a tremendous final season for Boise State and feels the best is still yet to come for a player that has already had a terrific career as a Bronco.

“From what I have seen from him, we can utilize him in different spots, utilize his experience, his confidence and his savvy for playing the position,” Harsin said. “To me, that’s what we are looking for and he will make plays because of that.”


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It has been three weeks since the women’s golf team has taken a swing. They will finally get back out on the course when they travel down to Maricopa, Ariz. at the Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Course for the Wyoming Cowgirl Classic. Sometimes a long layover can hurt a team but the Broncos feel as if the layover will be beneficial and has helped them re-energize for the home stretch of the season.

“I think it helps because it gives us the opportunity to work on parts of our game that we need to work on,” said sophomore Sammie Pless. “Also it gives us a little bit of a mental break from the game so we can go into this tournament and ready to go.”

Some of the Broncos stayed in Boise while others went back home to get away from the game. Pless went back home to Arizona where she had the opportunity to practice in the warm weather—hopefully giving her a slight edge.

With an experienced squad, head coach Nicole Bird, excited about what the future has in store for the Broncos.

“Our scoring average is a lot better; it is a full stroke lower than it was last year,” Bird said.  “Very excited about our young team. They have played a lot better than I expected. To have freshmen who can come up and replace the seniors who graduated last year has been really amazing.”

The Broncos are entering the tournament in Arizona as defending champions and repeating is never an easy task for anyone.

“It is going to be a little different because this is a new course we have never played here before, even though it is the Wyoming Cowgirl Classic it is held at a different golf course with different teams on the field,” Pless said.

The Broncos are still trying to put three full rounds of golf together after their last tournament where they were co-champions with Fresno State. The Broncos have set a lofty goal for themselves for this tournament, one of which they feel they are knocking on the door.

“We want to birdie every hole at this golf course,” Bird said. “That is that goal that we keep trying every time and get so close.”

Look for the Broncos to try and defend their championship on April 7 in Maricopa, Ariz. They will face a daunting task to repeat with schools such as Wyoming, BYU, Eastern Washington and New Mexico State.