Updated: Jan 13
Recruit rankings data has been manually collected by TSR contributors from multiple, reliable sources. Transfers and foreign recruits who are not expected to have four years of eligibility are excluded from these rankings. Order of rankings was decided by all TSR contributors. Despite our research, it is possible that certain names have been erroneously omitted.
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The Boise State Broncos are a team that dominated the 2018-2019 headlines, most recently with Allie Ostrander’s third national title in the steeplechase as well as her subsequent professional announcement. A sub-11:00 clocking from their DMR earlier this winter, Alexis Fuller and Kristie Schoffield qualifying for NCAA's during indoors and outdoors, and an NCAA lead in the 10k from Allie Ostrander helped make Boise State one of the top distance programs in the NCAA this year. That is all on top of Boise State’s 6th place at the cross country national meet last fall.
However, the future seems to be a little rocky for this group. Ostrander has announced that she will turn pro, Alexis Fuller has graduated, Kyra Lopez is using her final year of eligibility elsewhere, and Emily Venters has decided to transfer to Colorado. Boise State can still be a competitive team this fall with Clare O’Brien and Maxine Paholek leading the way, but they will need a significant amount of help.
Of course, Coach Corey Ihmels was likely aware that this current dominance wasn't going to last forever. That's why he's bringing in these top-tier recruits. While not the largest class in these rankings, each of these athletes brings significant potential and can even offer immediate help for a team that is need of some scoring.
Grace Brock travels across the pond to Boise from Great Britain and brings along national team experience. Brock represented team Great Britain at the European Cross Country Championships in 2019, finishing 11th in the U20 race that brought home team gold to the British team. Brock finished 25th in Aarhus at the U20 IAAF World XC Championships as well and was the second European across the line.
Outside of her extremely encouraging experience, Brock has also posted some majorly impressive PR's. She ran 16:08 for 5000 meters earlier this year as well as a 4:33 for 1500 meters. Brock also has a 3000 meter PR of 9:24 and a 10k road PR of 34:24. Her range and cross country prowess make her a wildly valuable asset on this roster. For a team that lost a handful of runners who specialize in certain distance events, Brock seemingly covers all of their needs.
Hannah O’Connor will be joining the Broncos from across the Pacific after representing New Zealand in a number of international competitions. Her PR of 4:22 in the 1500 meters comes from the Commonwealth Youth Games in 2017 where she placed 7th. She also placed 7th in the 3000 meters at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires with a time of 9:25.
O’Connor has been dominant in New Zealand with 10 Junior, Youth, or U20 Championship titles across the 1500, 3000, and 5000 from 2016 to 2019. O’Connor also has two bronze medals in the 3000 meters at the New Zealand Senior Championships. She also has PR's of 6:32 in the 2000 steeplechase (a New Zealand Junior record), 16:43 in the 5000 meters, and 2:15for 800 meters.
O’Connor’s ability to gain personal record performances at world competitions is beneficial to Boise State in two ways. The first is that she is not afraid of big races – a needed psychological determinant of success - and the second is that the sustained increase in competition should help drive her to better results than what she had at the junior level in New Zealand.
After finishing her New Zealand outdoor season in January of 2019, she began transitioning to the Boise State training program. The extra four or five months of getting accustomed to Coach Ihmels’ program might be the additional help needed to make her a breakout star for the Broncos.
Boise State’s next recruit is also international as Isabeau Lenaerts hails from Belgium. Lenaerts has personal bests of 4:33 in the 1500 meters and 9:52 in the 3000 meters to accompany a 2:17 800 meter PR. Lenaerts has not raced on the track since September of 2018 where she won the Kessel-Lo Belgian U18 Championships at 3000 meters. Lenaerts did, however, compete at the European Clubs XC Championship in March where she placed 15th.
Lenaerts may not have the flashiest resume of this recruiting class, but the incoming freshman could certainly make a difference throughout her years in Boise. She adds very solid - and frankly underrated - depth to a team that has often found scoring positions for young standouts.
The Broncos’ American addition to the recruiting class is Tiahna Vladic who has competed across a wide range of events for Billings High School in Montana. In 2019 alone, Vladic competed in the 400, 800, 1600, and 3200 at the Montana State meet. At that meet, she won the 3200, placed 2nd in the 1600 (in a PR of 4:56), finished 3rd in the 800, and then 11th in the 400. It is hard to truly express just how impressive that is. Pulling off a (successful) quadruple should show how wildly valuable she can be to any team in the country.
Adding to her resume was a 19th place finish at Nike Cross Nationals in 2018 which came after a 2nd place finish at the Northwest NXN regional. She also came away with the Montana State Championship and a new PR of 17:07 during that 2018 XC season.
But don't dismiss that NXN performance. 2018 was Vladic’s third time qualifying for the meet after placing 23rd in 2015 and 21st in 2016. There are very few recruits in this year's overall national class that are as well-rounded as Vladic. Between her range, consistency, durability, championship experience, and fast personal bests, she'll bring crucial value to Boise State.
The Broncos are also gaining Lara Hamilton from Australia and Emily Moyes from the UK to bolster their roster for next season. Hamilton has a 3000 meter best of 9:28 alongside a 16:13 5k and 34:00 10k. Emily Moyes will add to the steeplechase lineage of the Broncos after running 10:16. Both enter the NCAA with less than four years of eligibility and technically do not contribute to Boise State's #3 recruit ranking, but their experience will strengthen an already strong and deep team.
Four incoming first-year recruits is a relatively small distance class, but at Boise State it is more than enough to bolster one of the more accomplished programs in the country. O’Connor and Brock could find themselves inside the top 75 at the NCAA XC national meet later this fall and, with only slight improvements, are borderline qualifiers for the outdoor national meet in the steeplechase and 5k.
Vladic should also be able to make an impact in cross country. Coach Ihmels has shown that he can produce good results with first-year athletes and Boise State has the upperclassmen leadership to help lessen the burden placed on this class' shoulders.
This recruiting class has all of the little things going for them. They have international experience and general strength fits that lend themselves to positive transitions into the collegiate ranks. Look for this group among the 2019 headlines...and beyond.