Nevada Women Defeat Boise State To End Eight-Year Drought

The Nevada Wolf Pack beat the Boise State Broncos for the first time since 2007 on Saturday, taking all but three events and winning 199-101 on senior night. In the team’s first year under head coach Neil Harper, the former head coach at Florida State among other places, this moves Nevada to an impressive 3-0 this season, in addition to a dominant victory at the Pacific Invite.

“You can tell in everybody’s eyes that they wanted to race a really good team in Boise State and that they were confident in themselves,” said Nevada head coach Neil Harper. “We have to go head-to-head and win against the best teams in the conference to prove ourselves, and Boise State is one of the best year in, year out, so this is a great result for us. I’m really proud of our total team effort.”

Nevada will now settle in to an extended period of training with a very light schedule between now and the Mountain West Conference Championships – the team will take 8 swimmers to U.S. Nationals, and then have January meets against San Jose State and a tri with UNLV and Wyoming. While they won’t have many more chances to test out their training before the conference meet, the dominating win over Boise gives them a victory over one of the two teams that were higher than their 3rd-place finish at the conference meet last year.

Yawen Li of Nevada put up a dominant showing, winning three individual events. In the 1000 free, Li touched over teammate Toni Baerens to take the win in 10:17.34. Baerens finished in 10:21.66 ahead of Boise State’s top finisher Blake Balogh (10:29.90).

Li also won the 200 breaststroke (2:18.63) and 200 IM (2:04.61). Both races came down to the wire, with Li beating teammate Riley Hilbrandt by .44 seconds in the breast and teammate Ary Medina by a slim .01 seconds in the IM. Li was just shy of her season best that ranks her second in the Mountain West conference, but she now holds three of the four fastest times this year. Laura Williams and Sam Wicks of Boise State were third in the 200 breast and 200 IM, respectively.

Teresa Baerens also claimed three events for the Wolf Pack, sweeping the 50, 100, and 200 freestyles. Baerens finished a half second over teammate Rebecca Murray in the 200, winning 1:50.05 to 1:50.67. Boise State’s Felicity Cann touched third.

Baerens followed up her win with a 23.81 victory in the 50, touching out Boise State’s Katelyn Martin (23.92) and Nevada’s Caitlyn Richardson (23.95). The same trio finished top three in the 100, but this time it was Richardson who put her hand on the wall second (51.83). Baerens won the race in a season best of 51.11.

Toni Baerens and Rebecca Murray went one-two for Nevada in the 500, with the younger Baerens sister touching first in 4:59.00. Boise State’s Emma Chard was third.

Boise State picked up a win in the 100 back through Sam Wicks, who won the event in 55.39. The senior touched narrowly ahead of Nevada’s Josefin Eriksen, who was second in 55.55. Nevada returned fire in the 200 distance, where Kate Hofmeyer, Eriksen, and Jaeger Turner touched one-two-three. Hofmeyer’s time of 2:00.60 was nearly two seconds faster than the rest of the field.

Ary Medina won the 100 breast for the Wolf Pack, touching in 1:04.02 over Riley Hilbrandt’s 1:04.66. Boise State’s Laura Williams was third, just behind in 1:04.97. Medina is beginning to look dangerous in this event this year, with the freshman recording two of the three fastest times in the conference so far. Boise State struck back in the next event, with Brittany Aoyama picking up a victory in the 200 fly over Nevada’s Sita Kusserow.

Aoyama won over Kusserow once again in the 100 fly, finishing in 54.73. Kusserow placed second in 56.16 while her teammate Emma Payne finished third. Aoyama improved on her previous season best of 55.06 but continues to trail conference leader Summer Harrison of San Diego State by seven hundredths of a second.

Nevada won both relays, taking the 200 medley in 1:42.43 and the 400 free relay in 3:23.19. Notably, Nevada’s B team swam exhibition but touched only three hundredths of a second behind the Boise State A relay. Krysta Palmer swept the diving events for the Wolf Pack, scoring 349.05 points in the three-meter event and 322.28 points in the one-meter.

Full meet results can be found here.

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