Magical seasons do not just happen.
They are made.
Undefeated seasons do not produce out of thin air.
They are prepared.
Unforgettable seasons are not willed into being.
They are forged.
Seasons like this one, for Boise State, are made in practices, in workouts, in the classroom, and in rehab. It takes a full commitment from everyone to make those exceptional seasons come to fruition. It takes a moonwalking freshman phenom. It takes the leadership of a veteran senior who wants what is best for the team and makes the tough calls. It takes vision and leadership from coaches. It takes trainers who know their subjects and know what they need to stay healthy. It takes time in the offseason to put it all together.
It takes the best six.
The Broncos gymnastics team did all this. They put together a magical run throughout the year that culminated in a championship in the Mountain Rim Gymnastics Conference and individual champions in respective events.
Photo courtesy of Boise State Athletics
And it all started in the summer.
It was there in the off season that Krystine Jacobsen could see her follow athletes bond and come together. It was in the off season that the team began to believe this season would be special. It was in the off season that the athletes honed their craft. It was in the off season where the team would start their run to achieve the highest team ranking in school history: ninth—out of 82 institutions that sponsor women's gymnastics. It was in the off season where the undefeated year began.
Jacobsen, noted Uneven Bars wunderkind, knows what it takes to be a champion. It is the small goals. It is the detailed preparations that help lead to big things. It is being able to clear out the small details of the outside world: class, nutrition, overall health/fitness, that allow her (and her fellow Broncos) to concentrate on perfection in their events.
"Each week you think that all we do are these big skills but when you break them down there's a lot of little factors that get us there."
Big skills would be an understatement.
What we have seen, and come to expect, from this team are big moments. Opportunities to excel and show flashes of greatness. There were plenty of times throughout the season where the members of the team have stepped up and made memorable exploits happen and milestones have been reached.
Like tying a school record while coming through in the clutch during the MRGC championships.
Krystine Jacobsen matches her own school record with a 9.975 on uneven bars! pic.twitter.com/L8628rZ6Mo— Boise State Gym (@BroncoSportsGYM) March 20, 2016
Of course, not all of those memorable times were necessarily "on the mat". For Jacobsen, the most memorable moment this year was the meet at San José State. There her family, her uncle, aunt, and mother, were able to attend and watch her compete. It was a year ago that day Jacobsen's brother had passed away.
The team had dedicated the meet to him.
That day, the number 10 Broncos, went on to win big against the Spartans—196.275 to 193.700. On the Uneven Bars, Jacobsen's favorite event, she had posted a 9.95 that would lead all athletes. It would be another moment that would help entrench this season in special ways.
While the sport of gymnastics is very individual, those individual performances come together to make team success happen. As such, freshman come to mind when Jacobsen talks about individual performances and key contributors to the program. This year there were only two freshman on the roster. They made their efforts, and opportunities count.
"It's really hard coming in as freshman and they got out there and they got after it."
"After it" was just another Jacobsen understatement.
Sarah Means contributed on the Balance Beam. She posted 9.800 five times in the regular season, 9.775 three times, and one 9.750.
Shani Remme tied for one all-around title this season and outright won three more, thus garnering the MRGC Freshman of the Year honors. She is also known for busting a move while on the Beam.
Being a freshman in college is hard enough, but add in being an all-conference performer? That is just down right silly.
Of course, sometimes these moments for others to shine can be few and far between. It takes a dedication to the team to help these moments come to fruition. It takes self-awareness and emotional intelligence to know just how to put the team in the forefront.
Jacobsen has these in spades.
While she took the all-around title against UC Davis and Seattle Pacific in the Broncos' season opener, she knew that the vault was her weakest event. And she knew that she needed to shift her focus away from the vault and the all-around to put her focus elsewhere—the Uneven Bars.
"You always want to put your best six up," says Jacobsen, "and I did want to focus on the other three and better those and that helped a lot."
That would be a defining decision for the senior—and the Broncos, as she captured career, and Boise State highs in the Uneven Bars. It was a decision that other squads would come to regret Jacobsen making. She would eventually work to become tied for first—in the twelfth week—in the event with McKenzie Wofford of Oklahoma with a Regional Qualifying Score (RQS) of 9.95.
"It's so humbling to know that my favorite event is what I get to be top-ranked in and I just absolutely love everything about that event."
"Gymnastics is so unpredictable, [a] small team can score great scores and go ahead in the rankings or a great school can not do so well and go down."