By: Jeff Hokenson
The Broncos are now in full swing for their golf season for both the men and women’s teams. Though each team faces its own challenges, both are looking forward to what should hopefully be a successful season.
Backed by head coach Nicole Bird, the women’s golf team looks to start their season off strong at their first tournament of the year at the Ptarmigan Ram Classic in Fort Collins, Colorado.
Last season, the team had a small roster with only seven players, one being injured for a majority of the year. At the end of the year, the women said goodbye to graduating seniors Genevieve Ling and Dana Clary, who hold the No. 2 and 4 spots in career scoring averages in program respectively.
“We don’t have a ton of experienced players, but we have a lot of good strong players,” said Bird.
Losing big hitters is always hard for the team, but Bird, who has been head coach for 11 seasons, believes the addition of new players, like junior Ivane Helias and freshman Alejandra Lobelo, will be able to pick up the slack and help the team succeed. Bird also hopes this season’s roster is more competitive with nine players, including five new faces for the Broncos.
Ivane Helias, a junior international student from Saint-Maxime Hauterive, France, is one of the new faces on the team. Due to a lack of college sports in Europe, Helias looked west to pursue golfing and education. She originally set her eyes on Boise State after being contacted by a recruiter in France, but there was an initial hiccup.
“It’s very complicated for international students to join the NCAA, so because of one of her test scores, she was not allowed to come,” Bird said.
Helias instead spent two years at Bellevue University in Nebraska, where she was enrolled in a NAIA program. Parallel to the NCAA, the NAIA programs go through smaller schools and runs stricter regulations on student athletes. After becoming eligible to join the NCAA, she transferred to join the Broncos and to help further improve her golf game.
“We have a strong team, and the cohesion is really good,” Helias said.
The women’s golf team has been practicing hard and building up team chemistry. Over Labor Day weekend, the ladies went on a retreat to McCall, where they were able to golf and help build strong relationships for the new squad.
This season, the women have ten tournaments lined up, leading up to the Mountain West Championship.
“We’re going to take it one tournament at a time,” said Bird.
Golf season has begun for the Broncos men’s golf team, as the team traveled to Pullman, Washington to participate in the Itani Quality Homes Collegiate. The Broncos performed well in the tournament, finishing in second place behind tournament host Washington State. However, the Broncos had a real chance at first place, leading the tournament heading into the final day, but ended up losing by just a single stroke.
“It obviously feels good to start the season off well,” said head coach Dan Potter. “(We) knew it was a course (the team) could score low on. They went out with an aggressive mindset, so when they started making birdies, they just kept making more and more.” This is Potter’s fourth season as head coach of the team.
As for individual performance, Boise State senior business major Donny Hopoi won the tournament, with a total score of 200 over the three-round event. This was an end result of -13, two strokes ahead of the second place finisher. Hopoi’s victory marked the first tournament win of his career, and the 40th in Boise State’s history.
“It sets the tone hopefully for the rest of the season,” said Hopoi. “It’s huge for my confidence.”
Other notable performers included freshman Skylar Eubank, who tied for fifth place, and sophomore Brian Humphreys, who tied for eighth. Eubank, Humphreys and Hopoi were all able to shoot par or better in each round of the tournament.
“I did a good job minimizing big errors,” said Humphreys. As for his season hopes for the team, he says his ultimate goal is to “make it to regionals, that just requires playing consistently well and having our ranking go up throughout the season.”
The Broncos’ season is surely looking up after their impressive performance in their first tournament. The team will now begin to prepare for The Jackrabbit, their next tournament, which takes place Oct. 1 through Oct. 3.