Monday, October 5, 2020

Gone, Lost & Forgotten: Their Best = Boise State

 When the Broncos of Boise State dropped their wrestling program in 2017, they dropped one of the most successful athletic programs that the University has ever had.   In fact with 16 Conference Titles (Ten in the BIG SKY & Six in the PAC-12) the wrestling team was only a hair behind Football with 18 conference titles.  As to number of All Americans? Again, only second behind Football.   At the time Boise State had produced a total of five NCAA champions.  Two of which wrestling had given them.  

Jake Swartz

A Washington state champion for Auburn High school,  Swartz won three PAC-12 titles during his time as a Bronco, earning All American honors his senior season with a seventh place finish in 2014.  In addition to these honors he also placed three times at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational (CKLV) with two fourths & a sixth place finish.  His brother Kurt also won a PAC-12 title & his father Brad won two PAC-12 titles for Oregon State. 

J.T. Felix 

Salutatorian for Centennial High School where he helped lead the football team to a state title & where he finished as the California state runner-up, Felix had a notable career at Boise State.   After two runner-up finishes at the PAC-12 championships in his freshman & junior seasons, Felix was able to capture the title as a senior in 2014.   

By all means he should have been an All American, but in one of the worst calls I have ever personally witnessed at the NCAA championships, Felix lost out & had to settle for one match shy instead.   Despite not making All American status he still won the Gorriaran Award for the most amount of falls at the tournament.   Other highlights of his career were placing third as a junior & runner-up as a senior at CKLV.  

Jesse Brock 

MMA competitor Jesse Brock was a standout for the Broncos winning PAC-12 titles in 2002 & 2004. 

Ben Cherrington 

Sometimes it takes a few tries before you get it right.  Cherrington a two time PAC-12 champion had came close to All American honors in previous seasons, but he kept finishing a hair away of the achievement.  Come his senior season of 2006, he put it altogether.  Not only did he make All American status, he did so by capturing the NCAA title & doing so with an undefeated record.  Post his collegiate career he got into coaching, including a head position at Northern Colorado. 

Rusty Cook 

A native of New Mexico, Rusty Cook won two PAC-12 titles for the Broncos, including a fourth place finish at the 2001 NCAA championships. 

Jason Chamberlain 

A four time Utah State champion with a 191-2 high school record for Springville High school, Jason Chamberlain narrowly missed out on winning four PAC-12 titles for the Broncos.  Winning titles in his freshman, junior & senior seasons, he finished third as a sophomore.   Along with these notable accomplishments, Chamberlain finished in third place as a junior & as the NCAA runner-up as a senior securing two All American finishes.  

Post his successful collegiate career, Chamberlain went on to success internationally claiming a gold medal at the 2015 PAN-American Championships.   He then got into coaching.  

Brent Chriswell

A two time Washington state champion for South Kitsap high school, Chriswell began his career at Arizona State before transferring to Boise State.  While competing for the Broncos he won two PAC-12 titles & finished in sixth place at the 2009 NCAA championships. 

Adam Hall 

Hall is another example of a wrestler who got it done on the mat and in the classroom.  A two time PAC-12 champion, Hall had NCAA All American finishes of third and fifth during his illustrious career.  Graduating with a 3.5 GPA,  he got into coaching including stints at North Carolina State & Columbia. 

Andrew Hochstrasser 

Boise State provided a home for another four time Utah State champion, this one from Tooele High school, when Andrew Hochstrasser showed up to wrestle for the Broncos.  Finishing one match shy of All American status as a freshman in 2005, Hochstrasser went on a mission trip & when he came back, he came back to wrestle.   Winning two PAC-12 titles,  Hochstrasser finished fourth in 2009 & capped off his career as an NCAA runner-up in 2011. 

Scott Jorgensen 

If you're ever in a discussion with anyone over the best wrestlers to never make All American, you can't go wrong if you bring up the name Scott Jorgensen.  The MMA superstar had an assortment of quality victories during his career & in three PAC-12 championships, he was untouchable at the tournament.   A four time high school state finalist for Eagle High School, Jorgensen enjoys fame as a UFC competitor. 

Nate Lee

Lee won PAC-12 titles in 2008 & 2009, finishing as a runner-up in 2010.  

Larry Quisel 

The late Larry Quisel who we lost in 2018 in an Elk hunting accident is one of the most memorable wrestlers to ever grace the blue & orange.  A two time State champion for Park high school in Montana, Quisel won back to back PAC-12 titles in 1999 & 2000.   Earning a Gorriaran award & a third place finish at the NCAA's in 1999, he did himself one better in 2000 by finishing as the NCAA runner-up.  

Tyler Sherfey 

During his senior season of 2009, Sherfey perfected a strong ride to earn both a PAC-12 title & NCAA All American honors with an eighth place finish. 

Kirk Smith

Kirk Smith had immediate success as a Bronco when he upset the returning NCAA finalist Roger Kish of Minnesota to earn his first All American honor as a freshman in 2008 with an eighth place finish.  He'd go on to win PAC-12 titles in 2009 & 2010, making the NCAA finals in 2010.  As a senior injuries kept him from winning a third PAC-12 title & eventually from even being able to compete at the NCAA championships. Had it not been for a nasty ankle injury, Smith may have been the third wrestler to win an NCAA title for the Broncos. 

Ben Vombaur 

Vombaur never knew defeat in high school going 102-0 winning four Washington state championships.  Competing for the Broncos,  he had a standout career winning PAC-12 titles in 2001 & 2003, earning All American honors in 2002 & 2003.  As a junior in 2002 he finished in fourth place & as a senior in 2003 he finished in sixth place.  

He later coached at the collegiate level for a while, before turning his focus to youth wrestling running the Bear Cave wrestling club. 

Kirk White 

Kirk White made history during his sophomore season when he became the first Bronco wrestler to win a NCAA title.  He'd go on to capture two more All American honors with a fifth place finish in 2000 & a sixth place finish in 2001, making him the first three time All American in Boise State history.  

Graduating with a career record of 114-21, White when on to success on the international level, capturing back to back silver medals at the 2003 & 2004 PAN-American championships. 

Tracy Yeates 

Yeates won a California state title as a junior & finished in fourth place as a senior before coming to Boise State.  While competing for the Broncos he won BIG SKY titles in 1983 and 1984. 

Dave Chandler 

Dave Chandler made history when he became the first Bronco wrestler to win four BIG SKY conference titles in 1972, 73', 74' & 75'.  In addition to winning four conference titles, he capped off his career with a fifth place finish at the NCAA championships. 

Bill Braseth

Braseth won three BIG SKY titles for the Broncos in 1979, 80' & 81'. 

Scott Barrett 

Going 115-25 during his career, Barrett became the second Bronco to win four BIG SKY conference titles.  To cap off his distinguished career, Barrett made the NCAA finals as a senior in 1982. 

Ben Coronado 

Coronado won BIG SKY conference titles in 1983, 86' & 87' 

Stan Armstrong 

Armstrong got it done on the mat and in the classroom.  Along with winning BIG SKY conference titles in 1984, 85' & 86', he was also named All-BIG SKY Academic in those seasons as well. 

Charles Burton 

While a notable career of 101-32 as a Bronco that includes a 1996 All American finish of third at the NCAA championships, it is what Burton did as a wrestler post his collegiate career that really make him stick out. 

After a bronze medal at the 1997 PAN-American championships & a silver medal in 2000, Burton became the first Bronco to ever make an Olympic team when he won the team trials in 2000.  Finishing just shy of an Olympic medal, he'd go on to win bronze medals at the World Cup in both 2001 & 2003. 

Cash Edwards 

Edwards was a two time All American for the Broncos, finishing in seventh place in 2000 and in sixth place in 2001. 

Collin Robertson

Robertson put it altogether for a standout senior season in 2003 which included a PAC-12 title & a sixth place finish at the NCAA championships. 

Boe Rushton 

A two time state runner-up for Wood River high school, Rushton was one of those wrestlers that flew under the radar & came out of nowhere for an outstanding final NCAA tournament his senior season in 2003.   He dominated through the tournament only losing one match in route to a very impressive third place finish.  His career record 59-25. 

Post his collegiate career Rushton has coached high school wrestling while teaching history and government.  


As you can see Boise State wrestling was very successful during its run on the mat.  Not only that but Boise State provided a home for West coast wrestlers.  Especially those from Idaho & Washington where wrestling opportunities are scarce & Division I opportunities are non-existent.  Bronco wrestling was one of the most successful athletics at Boise State at the time of discontinuation.  A quick study only a few years later would most likely conclude that it still is. 

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