Bronco SportsSports & Rec

Boise State signs new student-athletes on NCAA National Letter of Intent Day

Photo by Claire Keener

On Wednesday, Nov. 11 athletes across the world signed an NCAA National Letter of Intent (NLI) to come play at Boise State. An NLI is a binding agreement between a prospective student-athlete and an NLI member institution. This agreement includes the student-athlete agreeing to attend the institution full-time for at least one academic year. 

Women’s Basketball

By Desmond Ordonez

Dani Bayes

Boise State women’s basketball announced the signing of Dani Bayes from Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. While playing for the Logan Thunder in Australia’s NBL1 North, the 5-foot-11 guard averaged 9.3 points and 3.3 rebounds. The Thunder was able to 

take home the league title with the help of Bayes’s 35% shooting from 3-point range. 

“Bayes may be the best shooter for her age group I have ever seen,” said head coach Gordy Presnell. “She can knock down perimeter shots. She has had a terrific career in Australia. We are looking forward to what she can do here at Boise State.”  

At the 2021 U20 Nationals, Bayes played above her age group and was a member of a team that won the bronze medal. She was recently awarded the 2021 Sheldon College Basketball Player of the Year. 

Tatum Thompson

Women’s basketball also announced the signing of Tatum Thompson, a 6-foot-1 combo guard. Thompson attended Woodinville High School in Woodinville, Washington. In 2019-20, Thompson was an All-KingCo 4A Second-team member as a sophomore and pushed Woodinville to win the league championship. 

Last spring, Thompson was third in Washington’s KingCo 4A with 17.2 points per game while averaging 7.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game.

“Tatum is a great athlete,” Presnell said. “She has lost just one game in her high school varsity career and has a very high ceiling. She can run, jump and score, and she will be a great addition to our program.”

Natalie Pasco

Women’s basketball also announced that Natalie Pasco, a Bay Area, California native, signed with Boise State for the 2022 fall basketball season.

The 5-foot-10 guard was the 2021 San Francisco Chronicle Bay Area Girls Basketball Player of the Year. She led her San Ramon Valley High School team to a No. 4 league ranking while averaging 28.3 points and 13 rebounds throughout the regular season. 

Following a successful 2021 season, Pasco led her club team the “Cal Stars” to a 2021 Nike National Tournament championship in July. The Cal Stars organization is known to have connections to the Broncos, as former Bronco Mallory McGwire and current Bronco sophomore forward Abby Muse also once played for them. 

“Natalie is a terrific scorer and is an even better person, “ Presnell said. “She is the Northern California Player of the Year for a reason. We look forward to her being a part of our program.”

Beach Volleyball

Boise State student-athlete gear and backpack, new athletes signed to Boise State on NCAA National Letter of Intent Day
[Photo of a Boise State student-athlete wearing Bronco gear and athlete backpack]
Photo by Claire Keener | The Arbiter

By Lexi Almeido

Boise State’s head beach volleyball coach, Allison Voigt signed three high school standouts for fall 2022. 

“I’m very excited about our 2022 class,” Voigt said. “Each of these student-athletes will make an immediate impact in our program both on the court and in the classroom. I can’t wait to get them on campus and have them represent Boise State.”

Anika Christensen 

Christensen is a 5-foot-9 defender from Peninsula High School in Gig Harbor, Washington. Christensen is on the DaKine Volleyball Club team and received the DaKine Club Challenge Best Defender Award. 

Christensen and her pairs partner took third place at the BVCA Club Challenge Nationals in 2021. While playing with different partners, she placed third at both the 2021 AVP Junior California Championships and Manhattan Beach Juniors. Christensen was also a 2019 A1 USA Beach Volleyball player.

Aris Vetter 

Vetter is a 5-foot-10 defender from Olympia High School in Olympia, Washington. Vetter received the 2019 DaKine Spirit Award and the 2019 Best Team Performance Award.  She has played in numerous competitions during her youth career including winning the 2020 U16 AVP America Junior National Championship.

In the last two years, she has recorded five top-five finishes nationally. Vetter and Christensen have also played together and placed third at the 2020 AVP Waupaca Boatride Tournament.

Ava Anderson 

Anderson plays both indoor and outdoor volleyball for Tesoro High School in Rancho Santa Margarita, California. She is a four-year member of the THS beach volleyball varsity team where she was named All-Marmonte League Sand Volleyball First Team in 2021. 

She also plays club beach volleyball for Tamarack Beach Volleyball Club in Carlsbad, California. As a member of the indoor squad at Tesoro, she was named second-team All-Coastal Canyon League in 2019. Anderson is also a two-time team captain and was named team Most Valuable Offensive Player in 2018.

Women’s Golf

By Ryan Marshall

Annie Buffolino

The Boise State women’s golf team signed Annie Buffolino out of Burbank, California.

“Annie will be a great addition to our program,” said head coach Kailin Downs. “Her passion for the game and to become a Bronco is exciting and I look forward to welcoming her to our family.”

Buffolino’s achievements include three PGA Tour Titles in Southern California in 2019, tying for third at the Willowick Spring Classic and finishing with 3-under for the first nine holes to get her at the top of the podium at the Toyota Tour Cup.

While at Notre Dame High School, she received second place her freshman and sophomore seasons at the Mission League Championships. Junior year she finished fourth. Buffolino also led Notre Dame to a pair of Mission League Championships.

Macee Greenwood

The women’s golf team also signed Macee Greenwood out of Corvallis, Montana. 

“Macee and her family have Boise roots, and she has been a Bronco since she was young,” Downs said. “Her game shows lots of promise, and I see her adding value to our program in many ways.”

During her freshman year of high school, Greenwood averaged 80.9 and shot a low round of 77. As a junior, she averaged 75.3 and shot a low of 67.

In 2020, she won the Montana State Championships by 7 strokes. In her freshman and sophomore seasons, she placed second.

Greenwood is a four-time academic all-state honoree, four-time all-state golfer and two-time female golfer of the year at Corvallis High School. 

Gymnastics

By Desmond Ordonez

Boise State Gymnastics head coach Tina Bird announced the signings of three future Broncos to their 2022 NLI class. 

“I am so happy to welcome our three signees from the class of 2022 into our Bronco Family,” Bird said. “They will make an impact on all events and add to our consistent success in the classroom.”

Kylee Hamby

Hamby is a native of Edmond, Oklahoma, where she competed for Dynamo Gymnastics.

Hamby was an A-Level 10 National Qualifier and the Level 10 vault state champion this year. In 2019, Hamby was the Oklahoma Level 10 bars state champion. 

She is also an excellent student, holding a 4.0 GPA while being a member of the National Honors Society.

Sydney Kho 

Kho will make her way to Boise State from her hometown of Rosemead, California, where she competed for the Charter Oak Gliders. 

Kho has become a four-time Level 10 National Qualifier. Kho has two sisters, Caitlin and Kaylee, both who compete for the Southern Utah gymnastics program. Kho comes from an athletic background and the hope is that she can help Boise State gymnastics next fall. 

Riley Shaffer

Shaffer was announced Thursday to join the Broncos. 

Shaffer hails from San Antonio, Texas. The Lone Star state athlete was coached at the Mavericks Gymnastics facility. Shaffer signed with Boise State after being awarded this years’ Level 10 National Qualifier.

Women’s Soccer 

by Ryan Marshall

The Boise State women’s soccer team welcomed five new Broncos to their team.

“This class fills all the holes that we saw during the 2021 season and continues a lot of the recruiting themes that have shown to have great success in the past,” said head coach Jim Thomas. “We found some awesome, top-end local talent and then really hand-picked, specific out-of-state talent that is going to impact our squad right away.”

Nadia Kinkaid

Kincaid is one of the best recruits in this class according to Thomas.

“I think she’s one of the most exciting recruits for me because I really don’t know what to expect from her,” Thomas said. “She’s so capable of playing so many different positions.”

Kincaid is from Meridian, Idaho, and played for Rocky Mountain High School. She led her team to three state tournaments and had 61 goals in her career. Kincaid is also a very good student, holding a  3.9 GPA which the all-academic team honors each year at Rocky.

Avery McBride

McBride is a very athletic player that will fit in nicely for the Broncos.

”She’s as athletic as any player at any level in any conference,” Thomas said. “And when you pair that with her mentality and will to take the game on her back.”

McBride was recruited out of Mountain View High School in Meridian, Idaho. She led Mountain View to three state tournaments, and she also received the SIC Academic Award every year at Mountain View. McBride won the Idaho State Cup in 2018 on Boise Thorns ECNL. 

Teryn Newkirk

Newkirk is a smart player that will be able to fit multiple positions according to Thomas.

“[Newkirk] is a ridiculously athletic kid with a very high soccer IQ who’s very easy to plug into multiple positions,” Thomas said. 

Newkirk has all of the essentials of being a very good goalkeeper at the collegiate level. She is from Cypress, California, and was at Los Alamitos High School. In 2019, she was All-Sunset League First-Team honors and led the team to SL Title in undefeated fashion.  

Abbie Scott

Scott is a highly rated and talented prospect. 

“She’s got all the tools: She’s a great shot-stopper, tremendous at playing-in crosses, and again has that imposing figure that really catches your eyes,” Thomas said. 

Scott is from Spokane, Washington, and achieved all-league first team her junior year. Scott won the NPL National Championship in 2019 and was on the Academic Honor Roll all throughout high school with a 4.0 GPA. 

Hailey Wisley

Wisley is going to be one of the hardest workers in this class and the entire team. 

”Hayden has an undeniable desire to win, and I think that’s really why we’re attracted so much to her,” Thomas said. “There’s not a run she won’t make.”

Wisley is from Timberline High School in Boise, Idaho, which makes her the third in this class from Treasure Valley. She got 17 assists and 22 goals throughout her senior season. She was also 5A All-State First Team in 2020 and a three-time champion on Boise Thorns ECNL.

Women’s Volleyball

By Hunter Bos

Elle Cotton

Boise State volleyball announced Wednesday the signing of setter and right-side hitter, Elle Cotton. Cotton is from Elk River High School in Elk River, Minnesota, where she was a starter for four years straight. Cotton was an AVCA All-Region 7 as a senior and an All-Metro Third Team as well as All-Northwest Suburban Conference selection as a junior.

In Cotton’s senior year, she recorded 243 kills and hit at .268 percent. She also had 263 assists, 49 service aces, 32 blocks and 195 digs. 

“Elle is a setter with tremendous athletic ability,” said head coach Shawn Garus. “She has the speed and skill to set at the highest level. Elle also comes from an athletic family. Her mom played basketball, and dad played football at Kansas State. I look forward to developing her on-court leadership and seeing how great she can become as a Bronco.”

Kiersten Van Kirk

The Broncos also signed setter and right-side hitter Van Kirk out of Bozeman, Montana, for the women’s volleyball team.

Van Kirk was a four-year starter for her team at Manhattan Christian High School in Churchill, Montana. Van Kirk is also a Montana Class C All-State First Team and three-time first-team all-conference honoree.

Van Kirk’s senior statistics have not been released, but as a junior, she had 328 kills, 93 service aces and 167 digs.

“Kiersten [Van Kirk] has the length we like to see in our pin players,” Garus said. “She is an aggressive blocker and as a lefty, she will present a tough match-up for opponents. Kiersten has strong connections to Boise since both of her parents played basketball for the Broncos. Kiersten is eager to get on campus and start working toward her goals.” 

Softball

By Hunter Bos

The Broncos signed 6 hitters and 2 new pitchers under first-year Boise State head softball coach Justin Shults.

“We are very excited about the depth of our 2022 class,” Shults said. “The class has it all; power, speed, defense and pitching. The recruits also bring a ton of elite experience at both the high school and travel ball levels. We cannot wait for them to get to campus next fall and make an immediate impact for Bronco softball.”

Extra Inning Softball has ranked the class 28th nationally. Of the 8 players signed, 5 student-athletes ranked within the top 150. 

The newest Broncos include:

Kasey Aguinaga – left-handed pitcher

Abby Edwards – catcher

Hollie Farmer- utility 

Sydney Groves – third baseman

Taci Haase – shortstop

Zoe Karam – first baseman

Amber Thornton – right-handed pitcher

Becky Wetteland – right-handed pitcher

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