Boise State swimming and diving head coach Kristin Hill announced the signing of eight student-athletes to National Letters of Intent Wednesday.
The Bronco signing class of 2014, which will enroll at the university and join the program for the 2015-16 academic year includes Mandy Barnes (Trabuco Canyon, Calif./Tesoro HS), Anne Boodt (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman HS), Cassidy Bose (Mt. Pleasant, Wis./J.I. Case HS), Cody Evans (Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada/Collège Vincent Massey Collegiate), Dakota Isaak (Juneau, Alaska/Juneau-Douglas HS), Mik Ranslem (Saugus, Calif./William S. Hart HS), Abbey Sorenson (Draper, Utah/Riverton HS) and Laura Williams (Covington, Wash./Kentlake HS).
“We had several key areas we were focusing on with this recruiting class, and we have definitely fulfilled those areas and then some with this outstanding group of young women,” Hill said. “Each of these student-athletes will bring so much to our team as strong swimmers who all have a drive to get better over the next four years, outstanding students who want to excel in the classroom, and leaders who understand our team focus on character, personal improvement, and service to our community.”
Bose, the lone diver among the octet, is a 2014 NISCA All-American and USA Diving Age Group National qualifier at J.I. Case High School. Additionally, Bose is a two-time USA Diving Age Group Zone qualifier (2012, 2014). She has thrice scored at the Wisconsin state championships with top-five finishes in each of the past two seasons (second in 2013, fifth in 2012), and won Southeast Conference and sectional titles in 2013. At the end of that junior year she was named county athlete of the year.
Off the diving board, Bose is a two-year member of the National Honor Society and has won three academic letters at J.I. Case.
“Boise immediately felt like home to me. The university’s surroundings are absolutely beautiful and the campus has a great community feeling,” Bose said. “[Head diving coach] John [Lynch], Kristin, and the girls are clearly a family in and out of the pool and they wasted no time making me feel like part of it. I was also impressed with the team’s level of academic success, and I am confident that Boise State is a place where I will thrive athletically, academically and personally.”
“We knew right away that Cassidy would be a great fit for our team,” said Boise State diving head coach John Lynch. “She is going to be able to contribute right away and has a ton of upward potential. We are all very excited that Cassidy is going to be a Bronco diver next year.”
Barnes has made her mark in the butterfly and 500 free at Tesoro High School, currently holding six school records entering her senior season. She helped Tesoro to a pair of league titles (2012, 2014) and was named a NISCA All-American in the 500 free with a top time of 4:54.74. In the 100 fly Barnes holds the South Coast League record (56.65) and after her freshman season held seven school records. Her top finishes at the CIF Championships are a pair of seventh-place efforts in the 500 free (2013) and 100 fly (2014).
She has been honored academically with the Spirit of the Titan Award and is the president and founder of the Team NEGU (Never Give Up) Club, which helps raise awareness for kids fighting cancer.
“I knew that Coach Kristin was building an amazing program at the school and the team’s improvement in the pool showed it,” Barnes said. “Not only were the times impressive, but the coaches’ philosophy and connection with the swimmers caught my eye. Once I visited the campus and met the team I had no doubt in my mind that Boise State is where I was going to spend the next four years competing.”
“Mandy comes from the club team I started with in competitive swimming in California, the Mission Viejo Nadadores, so I am thrilled to have her choose our program for her collegiate career. She made an immediate connection with our team and our coaching staff – her personality is so much fun and we enjoyed every step of this process with her,” Hill noted. “Mandy is an extremely hard worker and we appreciate her persistent attitude towards hard work that her club team is known for. Her strength in butterfly, along with her middle and distance freestyle strengths will really help our team’s strength and depth. Mandy is the fastest 1,000 freestyler we have ever signed, and she will have the opportunity to train with some of the best middle-distance and distance swimmers in the history of our program during her freshman year. We are excited for her to have that year to learn from them and help take our team to the next level as she develops in our program.”
Boodt has earned an NISCA All-America honor in the 100 back and is a multiple-time Junior Olympic champion. She posted a USA Swimming top-10 time in the 200 back in 2014 and finished fourth in the same event at sectionals as a prep. Boodt has also earned a Certificate of Honor in English in the classroom.
“Boise State has everything I want as a swimmer and a student. Every girl on the team supports each other and is very dedicated to reaching individual and team goals,” Boodt noted as to why she chose Boise State. “The team is like a family and the coaches are very active in each swimmer’s life. The school has the academic program I am looking for and the university is really supported by the community.”
“Anne will be our first swimmer from Team Rebel Aquatics in Las Vegas, but we have had three other swimmers and divers in our program who have come from Bishop Gorman High School so that has become a nice tradition,” Hill said. “She fills a great need right away with her strengths in the backstroke and IM events as we will graduate some of our best backstrokers and medleyers in program history with this senior class. The priorities Anne had when looking for a great fit matched our program and university well with a family atmosphere, great academic strengths, a true team environment, and a staff who is very invested in each student athlete in our program. She is kind hearted, hard working, competitive and focused, and those are all traits that we prioritize in recruiting.”
Evans will join the Boise State squad from the Great White North, joining junior Taylor Padington as the Broncos’ Canadian contingent. Swimming with the Manitoba Marlins club, Evans finished third in the 50 and 400 frees at the 2014 Western Canadian Championships. At the 2014 Canadian Age Group Championships she took seventh in the 100 and 200 frees and eighth in the 50 free. Evans also took third in the 50 free at the 2013 Western Canadian Championships. She also continues to hold the provincial 12-and-under record in the 100 free.
At Collège Vincent Massey Collegiate she is in the French immersion program, taking all of her courses in the language.
“I chose Boise State because from the moment I got there I felt like I was at home and that I was already part of the team; everybody was so welcoming,” Evans said. “I also really appreciate how the coaches all thinkg of you as people first and not just swimmers and students. One last reason is because of the city of Boise itself; I absolutely loved the nature surrounding the city and the river running right through it.”
“Cody was very excited about our training program right away, and her and I connected very well on the phone and then even more so in person. She is very persistent and was very thorough in the recruiting process so we are thrilled that she chose to be a Bronco,” commented Hill. “Cody will add great depth and strength to our current freestyle strength and she is someone who will compete for relay spots right away. She works hard in training and has certainly been challenged by her club coach, so she will be ready for our program and will have less transition time in adapting to our style of training. Cody is a very strong student and she is also bilingual which speaks well of her preparation for college. She loved Boise like we all do and we are really looking forward to welcoming her to our program.”
Coming to Boise from further north is Isaak, a native of Juneau, Alaska. At Juneau-Douglas High School Isaak was the state champion in the 200 medley relay as a sophomore and in the 100 breast and 200 free relay as a junior. She also finished eighth at senior sectionals in the 100 breast. At the club level, with Glacier Swim Club, she is the all-time (open) state-record holder in the 100 breast, the 17-18-year-old-record holder in the 200 breast and 400 medley relay.
“It was a dream come true to be invited on a recruiting trip to Boise, and the moment I stepped on campus I knew it was where I was meant to spend my next four years of academics and swimming,” Isaak recalled. “I love everything about the school, the team and the city, and I really clicked with Kristin and Eddie [Larios].”
“Dakota is an outstanding athlete and she is a swimmer we identified early in the recruiting process as a great fit for our program. She has a lot of experience with winning championships on her high school team and she understands what it takes to win, so she will fit right in with our championship team mentality,” Hill said. “Dakota had seen the dramatic improvement in fellow Alaskan Sam Wicks and that really helped us make an immediate connection with her. She has posted some strong times, and with her background and her drive we know her best swimming is definitely ahead of her. With two of our best breaststrokers in the history of our program graduating this year, it was important to be sure we continued to have strength in this area. Dakota’s character and focus are both very strong and she is someone who will really thrive in our program with the way we develop swimmers in a well-rounded training program that will allow her to not only maximize her breaststroke strength but also add new strengths. She fits in so well with our team dynamic and our staff is really looking forward to working with her.”
Ranslem will come to Boise State from William S. Hart in Saugus, Calif. The school-record holder in the 100 fly and 200 IM, Ranslem finished tied for fourth in the 100 fly at the CIF Southern Section Championships in 2014. As a junior in 2013, Ranslem finished fifth in the 100 fly and ninth in the 200 IM as Hart finished third in the team standings. Her top prep 200 IM time (2:00.91) is already 0.68 of a second under the current NCAA B standard for the event and her top 100 fly time (55.19) is just seven-tenths of a second off of the current NCAA B standard.
A 2013 Academic All-American, Ranslem is also active in the community as a member of the Key Club and a Special Olympics volunteer.
“I envisioned my next four years of college and couldn’t see myself anywhere besides Boise State,” Ranslem said. “As I leave my club coach and transition to my college coach, I needed to be confident that I would be happy where I was swimming and that my new coach could help me continue to improve and meet my swimming goals. I have found that in Kristin and Boise State, and after visiting the school and meeting the swimmers it was an easy choice.”
“Mik comes from an outstanding club program, Canyons Aquatics, in the Santa Clarita Valley of California, and she is one of the fastest recruits we have ever signed at Boise State in the 200 fly and 200 IM,” Hill said. “Two of our top priorities with this recruiting class were those two events, so Mik was a great fit from the start. Her progression with her club coach, Coley Stickels, over the last few years has been outstanding, which is really important in our evaluation process of swimmers we are recruiting. When we couple that with our great rate of improvement in swimmers with our program over four years, she has everything in place for a really incredible collegiate career. Mik has diverse strengths, with speed in the 100 fly, 50 free, 100 free, and strength in the 400 IM, so she really has the ability to make a great impact right away. She is a hard worker and a strong student which is a great fit for our team culture. We can’t wait to get her on campus.”
Sorenson, from Riverton High School in Draper, Utah, is a two-time state champion in both the 50 free and 100 back (2012, 2014) and the school-record holder in those events in addition to the 100 free, 200 free, 100 fly, 200 medley relay, 200 free relay and the 400 free relay. She was named the state 5A Female Swimmer of the Year following her junior year and currently owns the third-fastest time in Utah history for the 50 free.
A perennial honor-roll member at Riverton, Sorenson is an active participant in the “Silver Rush” charity drive each year, helping raise money for a different charity every December.
“Boise State is a place where I felt at home. It was somewhere I knew I would be accepted and loved by the girls on the team and the coaches,” Sorenson noted. “I knew I could get better as a swimmer and as a person there. It felt like a great environment, one I wanted to be a part of.”
“Abbey is very determined as both a student and an athlete. She knows that she has a lot more left to accomplish as a swimmer, and she also has a passion to be a registered nurse. Abbey will join fellow Utah swimmer, Amelia Draney, and we are excited to have two from our bordering state here in Boise. Abbey has shown phenomenal improvement over the last year as she has grown in Ron Lockwood’s program at Wasatch Front Fish Market Swim Team, and we know they anticipate even more time drops before she arrives her next fall. She joins an outstanding tradition of sprinting excellence in freestyle, as well as a great group of backstrokers who have competed at the highest level. Abbey has a strong family support system, and we look forward to welcoming all of them to our team family. We are glad she found the team and family environment she was looking for here at Boise State.”
Williams, from Kentlake High School in Covington, Wash., is part of the 200 medley and 200 free relay teams that hold the school records in those respective events. Earlier this month she captured the 100 breast in 1:05.86 at the 4A West Central District meet, and is a multiple-time finalist at the 4A Washington State championships.
Outside of the pool Williams is involved with the Childhaven Youth Board, an organization that helps children who have been victims of abuse and neglect. She helps with the organization’s fundraising and attends monthly group meetings.
“Boise State is exactly what I wanted in a school and in a swim program,” Williams said. “The coaches are very dynamic and welcoming and I absolutely loved them. I felt the same way about the girls—they were all very encouraging, spirited and helpful with anything we needed. After my recruiting trip I knew I wanted to become a Bronco.”
“Laura comes from a great club team with King Aquatics and she is someone who was highly recommended by her coaches at King. When we saw her in the water we were really excited about her strength and power which is key for a breaststroker, and we look forward to helping her continue to develop her strengths,” Hill noted. “She joins two other King teammates here, Emily Tanasse and Felicity Cann, and they both spoke very highly of Laura. Her parents both competed in Division I swimming at Washington, so we know she has an understanding of the challenges and rewards of being a student-athlete. Laura is a great student and she has a lot of leadership skills that will add a great deal to our program. She has led as a team captain, but she also serves on the Childhaven Youth Board which helps abused and neglected children, and this is something that really stood out to me as I got to know Laura more through the recruiting process. Laura has a great record of improvement, and we know she will continue to grow in our program as a swimmer and a person.”
College Swimming News courtesy of Boise State Swimming And Diving.