Five Vie For 2009-10 Bronco Team of the Year

Presenting the second category...

With a large contingent of Boise State student-athletes still competing for individual honors this year, we turn our attention to the 2009-10 Bronco Team of the Year. Five outstanding Boise State teams deserve your consideration.

The "Broncos of the Year" annual competition continues on BroncoCountry.  Last week, we voted on Coach of the Year.  The votes are still being tallied for that prestigious award.  This week, we need your input on Bronco "Team of the Year".  The nominees are:

 

Football

Wrestling

Women's Tennis

Swimming and Diving

Soccer

 

 

Football

Coming off an undefeated regular season in 2008, the '09 Broncos had perhaps more pressure on them than any other team in school history.  Rarely is the case when a team can live up to the hype.  This one did.

Coach Chris Petersen led Boise State's football team to a perfect 14-0 record, including a 17-10 victory over #3 TCU in the 2010 Fiesta Bowl.  It was the second time that Petersen and the Broncos won the Fiesta Bowl in four seasons.  The 14 wins not only set a school record but were the most by any team in the nation since Ohio State did it in 2001. 

Petersen not only was named WAC Coach of the Year but became the first college coach in history to win the prestigious Paul "Bear" Bryant Award for National Coach of the Year.  Petersen also won the Bryant Award in 2006.  Coach Petersen also was a finalist for the Eddie Robinson National Coach of the Year Award.  Boise State was undefeated in the regular season for the third time in four years. 

Additionally, Offensive Coordinator Bryan Harsin was named as one of five finalists for the Broyles Award given annually to the nation's top assistant coach.

The high-powered Boise State offense once again led the nation in scoring, tied with Houston at 42.2 points per game.  Boise State was 26th in rushing (186.07 yards per game), 29th in passing (264.14 ypg), and 10th in total offense (450.21 ypg).  The Broncos paced the country with just five sacks allowed.  Boise State ranked 28th in rushing defense (120.36 ypg), 21st in passing defense (179.86 ypg), 14th in total defense (300.21 ypg) and also 14th in scoring defense (17.14 ppg). 

Boise State led the WAC in scoring, scoring defense, passing defense, total defense, kickoff returns (26.6 ypg) and interceptions with 24.

Quarterback Kellen Moore and the Broncos set NCAA records for the lowest interception ratio of all-time. 

Moore led the nation in passing efficiency most of the season before finishing second to Florida's Tim Tebow.  Moore finished with a rating of 161.7.  Cornerback Brandyn Thompson finished the season #19 in the country in interceptions with six.  Titus Young was 20th in the nation in kickoff returns with a 26.87 average.  Kyle Brotzman led the WAC with 117 points and in field goals with 18. 

Moore was one of 15 players named to the Watch List for the Walter Camp Award for National Player of the Year and was also one of 10 finalists for the Allstate Sugar Bowl Manning Award.  The Manning Award, which is named in honor of the accomplishments of Archie, Peyton and Eli Manning, recognizes the top college quarterback each season from the FBS.  Kyle Wilson was named a semifinalist for the Jim Thorpe Award.

Moore was named first team All-America by SI.com and CBSSports.com and was a third-team All-American on the Associated Press team.  Wilson was named to the second team by both the Associated Press and the Walter Camp Football Foundation.  Titus Young was an honorable mention selection of SI.com.  Moore tossed a school-record 39 touchdown passes against only three interceptions and completed 64.8% of his passes (254-392) for 3,325 yards.  Wilson recorded 40 tackles (28 unassisted) and three interceptions, including two returns for touchdowns.  Young averaged 27.8 yards per return and returned two kickoffs for touchdowns.

  Moore was voted as the WAC Offensive Player of the Year to lead Boise State's 11 All-WAC selections.  Junior wide receivers Austin Pettis and Titus Young and sophomore offensive lineman Nate Potter joined Moore as first-team All-WAC members.  Two members of Boise State's top defense in the conference were honored—junior defensive end Ryan Winterswyk and senior defensive back Kyle Wilson.  Young was also chosen All-WAC as a kickoff returner.  Running back Jeremy Avery, defensive lineman Billy Winn, linebacker Winston Venable and defensive back Jeron Johnson were selected to the WAC's second team.

Boise State sent another First Round draft choice to the National Football League when cornerback Kyle Wilson was drafted by the New York Jets.

 

 

Soccer

The rise to the top in soccer has been slower than in swimming but just as exciting.  Steve Lucas is the man behind Boise State's success as the Head Coach for 10 seasons.  Viewing the WAC Soccer Tournaments the last few years, one could easily see that the Broncos were a team on the rise.  This year, Lucas took Boise State over the top, capturing the WAC Tournament with three heart-pounding victories in Boise.

Lucas's squad won action-packed games over Fresno State (2-1), Utah State (1-0) and Nevada (1-0) to win the first-ever WAC Championship for Boise State.  Boise State got goals from Brandy Hickcox in the 59th minute of play to down Fresno State and from Erica Parks in the 58th minute to beat Utah State.  The Broncos earned the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament (also the first-ever for the school) before running into #3 UCLA.

Boise State set a school record for victories in a season, compiling a 13-7-4 mark.  Liz Goal keeper Liz Ruiz led the WAC with a stingy .50 goals against average and was second with 5.75 saves per game.  Shannon Saxton was sixth in the WAC in shots with 25 while Chelsea Robinson was second in assists with three. 

Saxton was named ESPN The Magazine's Academic All-District.  Sophomore defender Lindsay Roberts was named to the All-WAC first team while sophomore midfielder Hickcox and junior forward Shannon Sexton were tabbed as second-team members.  Saxton was also honored as Academic All-District by ESPN The Magazine.

Roberts was part of Boise State's league-leading defense that recorded seven shutouts on the season and allowed just 17 goals for a .81 goals allowed per game.  Both were school records.  Saxton tied for the WAC lead in scoring with six goals and two assists.  With one season to go, Saxton already owns school records for career points (73) and career assists (15).  She can tie the career record for goals (30) with one more.  While scoring two goals last fall, Hickcox directed the Bronco offensive attack that scored 26 goals on the season.

Lucas's teams have recorded the best APR (academic performance rating) in the conference in each of the last two years.

 

 

 

Swimming and Diving

Four years ago, Boise State Athletic Director Gene Bleymaier gave the go-ahead for a first-ever swimming and diving program.  The new addition to Bronco sports available for student-athletes fit Bleymaier's quest to meet all requirements of Title IX.

In that brief time, Boise State, through the guidance of Head Coach Kristin Hill, has slowly built the program, attracting better and better talent to take to the water against the best the Western Athletic Conference could provide.  In 2010, the Broncos enjoyed a superb year, dominating nearly all of their regular season meets. 

Along came February and the chance for Boise State to take it to the next level and prove their regular season heroics were no fluke.  On the second day of competition, the Broncos surged into the lead and never looked back.  Boise State won eight individual WAC titles, broke 15 school records and shattered the school record for WAC scoring with 547 points.  San Jose State was the school closest to the Broncos with 494 points. 

Amber Boucher won the 50-meter freestyle and the 100-meter butterfly in an NCAA provisional time of 54.49 while Stephanie North won her second consecutive WAC title in the 100-meter freestyle with an NCAA provisional time of 49.86.  Christine Raininger captured titles in the 400-meter individual medley and the 200 butterfly.  The 400-meter freestyle relay team also won with an NCAA provisional time of 3:23.02 and the 400-meter medley relay team also captured the WAC title with a pool record time of 3:44.03 and the 800-meter freestyle relay team also captured first. 

Boucher was named WAC Swimmer of the Year, earning five gold medals at the Championships.  In addition to the two individual titles, Boucher swam on all three WAC-champion relay teams.

11 members of the Boise State team were named to the WAC All-Academic team. 

 

 

Women's Tennis

The Boise State women's tennis team is slowly gaining a reputation around the nation in much the same way that their counterparts on the Boise State men's team has done over the past 15 years.  Fresno State has been the queen of women's tennis in the WAC, winning an unprecedented eight consecutive championships.  The 2010 season represented the changing of the guard.

Under Coach Mark Tichenor, Boise State has fought the Bulldogs tooth and nail in each of the last four seasons in the WAC Championship.  Each time, the Lady Bulldogs prevailed, though the difference between the two has been shrinking.  This year, the Broncos finally beat back their nemesis to claim the crown and that beautiful WAC trophy!

It was perhaps fitting that Boise State would emerge as the new champion on Fresno State's home courts.  With hundreds of Bulldog fans trying to influence the match, the game Broncos displayed nerves of steel in wrestling the crown away.

 Boise State was 23-6 this season with a perfect 8-0 record against the WAC during the regular season.  For the second straight year, Boise State shocked a Top 25 opponent in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.  Earlier this month, the Lady Broncos destroyed #21 Iowa 4-1 before losing to #6 Notre Dame in the second round.

Tichenor was named WAC Coach of the Year as well as Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Women's Mountain Region Coach of the Year. 

Pichittra Thongdach, the #1 singles player for Tichenor, was honored as the WAC Player of the Year.  Thongdach was 18-10 in dual action in singles (including 5-7 against nationally-ranked opponents) and paired with Lauren Megale for a 21-7 doubles mark.  Thongdach and Megale finished the season ranked #45 in doubles. 

Megale and Thongdach were named to the All-WAC doubles team and both were also tabbed All-WAC in singles.  Bianca Jochimsen earned second-team All-WAC in singles.

Thongdach was also honored by the ITA as the 2010 recipient of the Cissie Leary Award for Sportsmanship.  The award is given to a women's player who displays inspiring dedication and commitment to her tam, which has enhanced her team's performance and exemplified the spirit of college tennis.

Thongdach was invited to the NCAA Individual championships in singles and Thongdach and Megale will also represent the Broncos in doubles at the National Championships at the end of the month.

 

 

Wrestling

. After last season, the word circulating around the college wrestling world was that Boise State was a threat to finish in the top five and perhaps challenge for their first-ever national championship.

The Broncos did not accomplish that, but by any other standard had a highly successful season.  They spent most of the year ranked in the national top 10 and were favored to win their third consecutive Pac-10 Conference Championship until they were upset by two points.  Oregon State's team took the trophy away from Boise State this year with 127 points to 125 for the Broncos.

Despite injuries and some other factors, Coach Greg Randall's team competed valiantly at the NCAA Championships in Omaha, Nebraska.  Boise State advanced four wrestlers to the national quarterfinals (Jason Chamberlain, Levi Jones, Kirk Smith and Adam Hall) and briefly had a chance to finish in the top ten.  The Broncos just missed matching the school's all-time best finish at the Championships, finishing 11th with 43.5 points.  Boise State achieved its highest finish in 1999 when they cracked the top 10 at #10.  Coach Randall's team did score its best NCAA finish in Randall's tenure, which previously was #12 in both 2003 and 2009.

Junior Kirk Smith led the Bronco charge in Omaha with a superb performance at 184 pounds.  Smith advanced all the way to the championship match before falling to #6 Max Askren of Missouri 10-3.  Smith entered the match #1 in the country with a perfect 28-0 record.  Smith earned All-America honors for the second straight year and posted the best finish by a wrestler in the 184-pound classification in school history, beating Cash Edwards' sixth-place finish in 2001. 

Smith also became one of just five Boise State grapplers to win multiple All-America honors, joining Edwards (2000 and 2001), Larry Quisel (1999 and 2000 at 157 pounds), Ben VomBaur (2002 and 2003 at 125 pounds) and Kirk White, who was an All-American twice at 165 pounds (1999 and 2000) and once at 157 pounds (2001).

Junior Adam Hall fought his way back through the consolation bracket at 157 pounds to finish third and also earn All-America recognition.  Hall, the #2 seed nationally, came back from a 5-2 quarterfinal upset to #7 Chase Pami of Cal Poly.  Hall joined Smith in a group of 19 different Broncos who have earned All-America wrestling status.  Smith was named Pac-10 Wrestler of the Year by D1collegewrestling.net.  

Boise State captured two individual Pac-10 Championships and two third-place finishes in making a late run at their third straight title in Davis, California.  Smith scored his second straight conference title with a pin of Cal State Bakersfield's Michael Larson.  Hall matched Smith's feat with a Pac-10 title at 157 pounds, avenging a loss to Pami in the championship match the year before with a 5-1 decision in 2010.  Nate Lee dropped a heartbreaking 3-2 decision to Colby Covington of Oregon State in the 174-pound title match. 

Boise State's Jason Chamberlain (149 pounds) and Matt Casperson (197 pounds) captured third-place finishes in Davis while Michael Cuthbertson was fourth at 165 pounds and heavyweight Sam Zylstra finished fifth at 285 pounds.

 The Bronco team also received recognition for their achievements in the classroom.  The National Wrestling Coaches Association honored the Bronco team as well as two individuals.  Coach Randall's squad finished the 2010 season ranked #21 in overall team grade-point average, posting a 3.0179 collective GPA.  Harvard was #1 at 3.3098.  

Hall and Smith were named Academic All-Americans by the NWCA.  Hall and Alan Bartelli were first-team All-Academic Pac-10 honorees while Smith was voted to the Pac-10 second-team.

 

There you have the outstanding nominees in this year's vote for 2009-10 Bronco Team of the Year.  Return to the Blue Turf Board to make your selection.

 

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