Boise State Gymnastics joins Mountain West and takes it to the next level

Courtesy of Boise State Athletics

Boise State is in their gymnastics era … literally. 

The days of not being recognized have come to an end for the Boise State gymnastics team. After what has been an incredible start for the gymnastics squad, there are no signs of stopping for the Lady Broncos. 

The Broncos hosted No. 19 Iowa State in what was an iconic ‘Eras Night’, an ode to Taylor Swift. 

It wasn’t just the Taylor Swift music and fans that gave the team an incredible 196.525-195.550 victory, but it was also senior Courtney Blackson who led the Broncos with the highest overall score, tying the school record on floor with a 9.950.

The spectacular performance not only helped the Broncos propel over the Cyclones for the win, but earned Blackson the Mountain West Floor Specialist of the Week. 

“What a fun night!” head coach Tina Bird said after the win. “We love competing at home and the crowd was awesome! We had a lot of highlights tonight with Courtney’s (Blackson) school record-tying floor routine and Elaina’s (McGovern) 9.900 on floor.”

Not only have they been beating ranked opponents, they have been breaking records, winning awards, being shown on television and finally filling up their student section. 

The gymnastics team made a huge leap from the Mountain Rim Gymnastics Conference (MRGC) this season to join the Mountain West Conference (MWC).

Let’s just say it has brought new challenges, but also bigger and better opportunities.

The team kicked off their season in the first NCAA Gymnastics Invitational owned and operated by ESPN Events on Jan. 12, which was also the first gymnastics meet to be televised on the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Network. 

“Being shown on ACC Network was intense,” senior Emily Lopez said. “The cameras follow us around more.” 

Lopez has been doing gymnastics since she was three years old and since then, has been doing the same pep talk for each competition to motivate herself to do the best she possibly can.

“I tell myself to calm down, relax, take a deep breath,” Lopez said. “You have done this routine a million times and I remind myself that I am proud of myself.”

And she should be proud, as  Lopez was awarded Mountain West Bar Specialist of the Week for the third week in a row after scoring a 9.925 on Jan. 19. 

Junior, Emma Loyim, from Mountain Lakes, New Jersey, is also on the gymnastics team and has been competing since she was five years old. Loyim received a Floor Specialist award which was her third-weekly conference award. 

Loyim and Lopez were both named Co-Beam Specialist of the week after the Jan. 19 conference. 

 Loyim reflected on the different mental challenges this sport can bring, and discussed the importance of staying grounded. 

“I get very nervous, and as I compete throughout college I tell myself it is just another routine and take one thing at a time, especially doing the beam because you do not want to get ahead of yourself and you want to be where your feet are.”

Loyim was recently Ford Idaho’s Athlete of the Week. This recognition is an accomplishment for student-athletes as it serves as a testament to all their hard work and dedication. For Loyim, receiving this award helped her feel good about herself and recognize that hard work does pay off. 

“I scored my highest score ever for my beam routine. Then one day as I was just scrolling through Instagram, I saw I was tagged in a Boise State Broncos post,” Loyim said. “And just seeing that showed me how everything I have been doing is paying off.”

There is no doubt though that gymnastics is a challenging  sport that requires hard work, but Loyim and Lopez make  it look effortless.

After leaving the Mountain Rim Gymnastics Conference this season to join the Mountain West Conference, the team entered an entirely new ballpark that requires  them to compete with new competitors. 

“Going into it we were ranked number one for our conference,” Loyim said. “We get to live up to it and it’s been great to compete with new teams.”

The newfound exposure that the team has gained since joining the MWC has increased support by bringing in new crowds, especially student sections. Being in a smaller conference has been a major barrier for the gymnastics team to have the chance to shine and reach their target audience.

The MWC has finally given them a stage to showcase their talent.

“Our first home meet was one of our biggest crowds that I have ever seen at Boise State since being on the team. We’ve been doing good on our marketing side and getting our name out there,” Lopez said. “Our last home meet we actually had a student section which was cool to see.”

What most people do not realize is how demanding the sport is.

“It is a huge commitment, we are an all-year sport. Every sport deserves recognition but people do not realize what we go through,” Loyim said. “Then when they do they are amazed. We feel seen and heard.”

This just shows how being in the new conference has opened up new doors for the team. According to Loyim, social media has played a big role in the growth and recognition of the team.  

“We did a good job putting ourselves more out there on social media and showed the world what Boise State has to offer,” Loyim said.  “It makes people wonder what we have in store, this season we are going to do even bigger things.”

Boise State Gymnastics now holds a 6-2 overall record and a perfect 2-0 in Mountain West matchups. 

With the season still unfolding, the gymnastics team is far from finished in revealing their talent. Upcoming competitions, including the matchup against Southern Utah University on Feb. 9 will keep their momentum going.

Leave a Reply