(TOM SCOTT’S COLUMN WILL RETURN TUESDAY.)
Just Tuesday I speculated on this. I didn’t think it would happen so quickly. Allie Ostrander has decided to forego her final year of eligibility at Boise State to go professional and focus on the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. “I really enjoyed my time at Boise State,” tweeted Ostrander. “It’s been the best 4 years of my life. I loved the relationships that I was able to form…I’m going to miss everyone.” Despite her incredible success in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, Ostrander remains one of the best talents in the country in the 10,000-meters. She said on Idaho SportsTalk Tuesday that she’ll use the next year to see which one gives her the best shot at the Olympics. Ostrander will compete in the U.S. Outdoor Track and Field Championships July 25-28 in Des Moines, Iowa, and probably at the Pan-American Games August 6-10 in Lima, Peru.
Ostrander has already exceeded the qualifications for the Boise State Athletic Hall of Fame. She’s a graduate, and she has won three individual national championships. I’m thinking that she’ll now be eligible for the Hall in 2024. If the Broncos stick with every-other-year inductions, there will be a ceremony in 2024. Make plans now. The university may just have to work it around the Summer Olympics in Paris that year. Allie Ostrander is going to be around for a long, long time. History will prove her to be not only one of the most decorated, but one of the most beloved athletes in Boise State history.
A MOUNTAIN WEST ARMS RACE?
Between Albertsons Stadium, the Bleymaier Football Center and the Caven-Williams Sports complex, Boise State has, by consensus, the best football facilities in the Mountain West. But that doesn’t mean that gap isn’t closing. The latest example: the Fertitta Football Complex at UNLV. It’s a 75,000 square-foot, $35 million jewel financed by the Fertitta family, due mainly to their affection for Rebels head coach Tony Sanchez. It’s already paying off in recruiting. “We didn’t build a facility to compete in the Mountain West,” Sanchez said. “We built one to compete with the whole country.” There’s a large empty space in the middle. “That’s where we’re going to put the Fremont Cannon after we kick Reno’s ass every year,” exclaimed Sanchez. It’ll be fully operational in October, about the time the Broncos visit Las Vegas.
Colorado State built a new stadium in 2017. Utah State renovated Maverik Stadium at about the same time. San Diego State will probably have a new stadium in 2021. Wyoming has its High Altitude Performance Center. Boise State won’t stand pat, of course. The school just has to prioritize, and at the top of the list right now is the renovation of the east side of Albertsons Stadium. If you only spend time on the west side, with its wide concourses, large concession stands and serviceable restrooms, you’re missing out. The east side of the stadium is old-school, and not in a good way. Boise State wants to widen the concourses, remodel the restrooms (and add new ones) and expand concessions, hopefully in time for the 2020 season.
TWENTY CANDLES FOR THE MW
Monday marked the Mountain West’s 20-year anniversary as a conference. Do you remember the original eight in 1999? They were Air Force, BYU, Colorado State, New Mexico, San Diego State, UNLV, Utah and Wyoming. Six still remain, of course (Boise State has been a member for eight years now). According to the league’s website, Mountain West teams have participated in 96 bowl games in the past two decades, including four appearances in BCS games and one CFP game (they must mean New Year’s Six bowl). The MW has earned six NCAA Sweet 16 appearances in men’s basketball, as well as three NIT Final Four berths. MW women’s basketball has tallied five Sweet 16 appearances and one Elite Eight berth in 20 seasons. Wyoming won the WNIT championship in 2007.
HUTCHISON HOPES TO GET GOING AGAIN
The NBA’s Las Vegas Summer League starts Friday on an 11-day, 83-game odyssey. The initial Chicago Bulls roster information does include Chandler Hutchison. The former Boise State star was injured in the final minute of a loss to Atlanta on January 23, but two nights later he played 41 minutes against the L.A. Clippers and posted a double-double (12 points, 12 rebounds). Hutchison was diagnosed with a fractured toe, though, and that was it for his rookie season in the NBA. The Broncos’ first-ever first-round draft pick played 44 games for the Bulls before being shelved, averaging 20.3 minutes, 5.2 points and 4.2 rebounds per game. Hutchison’s goal was to make it back in time for summer league. So far, so good.
HAWKS GET OFF THE ROAD SCHNEID
A very solid performance picked the Boise Hawks up off the mat Tuesday night, giving them their first road victory of the season after eight losses. The Hawks made the most of their five hits and won 4-1 at Everett. Isaac Collins doubled in the Hawks’ first run in the third inning—then knocked two more in with a triple in the seventh. Just as big a story was Boise starter Frederis Parra, who allowed one unearned run in six innings. Parra has not yielded an earned run since Opening Night, a stretch of 22 1/3 innings. His ERA is now a subterranean 0.72. The Hawks have one more against the AquaSox tonight before returning to Memorial Stadium for the 4thof July.
POTPOURRI ON HOLIDAY GETAWAY DAY
Meridian’s Troy Merritt missed a PGA Tour cut last week for only the fifth time this season. Merritt tees it up again tomorrow in the 3M Open at TPC Twin Cities in Minnesota. The former Boise State star lost a lot of ground in FedExCup standings early this year while he was recovering from surgery to remove a rib, but he’s still ranked 111th. The Idaho Steelheads have forward Kyle Schempp in the fold for the 2019-20 season. Schempp scored 16 goals with 25 assists in 70 games for the Steelheads last season. And from the “all-name team” comes Jennifer Swing, the new women’s tennis coach at College of Idaho. Swing replaces the retiring Cisco Limbago, who had led the Coyotes for 34 years. She played tennis and golf for Boise State in the 1990’s. Swing’s name is even better for golf.
This Day In Sports…brought to you by ZAMZOWS…Nobody Knows Like Zamzows!
Fast-forward a day to the 4thof July, 1919, 100 years ago: In a heavily-promoted fight on Independence Day in Toledo, Ohio, 6-foot-6 Jess Willard—flabby from inactivity—defends his heavyweight title against challenger Jack Dempsey. Despite a record 26 first-round knockouts, Dempsey didn’t kayo Willard in the first—but he did knock him down seven times in the opening three minutes. After the third round, Willard threw in the towel, and Dempsey began his glorious reign as heavyweight champion of the world.
(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment during the football season on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors five sports segments each weekday on 93.1 FM KTIK. He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.)