A year in Viking athletics

From the court to the track, in the field or on the trails, Viking athletics has been a successful and formidable force in the conference in recent years.

From the court to the track, in the field or on the trails, Viking athletics has been a successful and formidable force in the conference in recent years. With multiple conference titles to count and broken records throughout various sports, this season has been no different, as Portland State athletics had another strong year overall and continues to build its athletic program.

In the fall, the women’s volleyball team, led by senior outside-hitter Whitney Phillips, won their regular season title and beat Northern Colorado at the Big Sky tournament finals, resulting in the school’s second appearance at the NCAA tournament. The team also landed a program-record 10 players on the Big Sky Conference Fall All-Academic team.

For Portland State cross country, the women’s side was led most of the season by sophomore Julie Pederson, who led the Viking women with a 22nd place finish in the Big Sky championship. Overall, the women’s team took an eighth place finish and the men’s team claimed seventh. The men were led in post-season competition by senior Andrew Salg, both in Big Sky championship and NCAA Regional events.

On the field, men’s football struggled to find a productive game plan after a sudden coaching change introduced current head coach Nigel Burton. The team claimed a 2-9 overall, 1-7 conference record. Along with the coaching change, the team was challenged by injuries to their first and second-string quarterbacks along with the adjustments of playing at the temporary Hillsboro Stadium.

The women’s soccer team fell to Sac State in the semi-finals of the Big Sky tournament. As one of just three seniors, Frankie Ross led much of the season. Even though the team was largely composed of younger players, they made the record books for most conference wins with a 5-2-0 Big Sky record.

In the winter, men and women’s basketball took to the court. Men’s basketball suffered through an NCAA ruling for low APR scores, which made them ineligible for post-season play. The team also saw a handful of crucial injuries, but still managed a 5-11 record in conference and 15-16 record overall.

On the women’s side, the Viks claimed their first-ever regular season Big Sky championship, and with that an opportunity to host the Big Sky tournament. With junior Eryn Jones and sophomore Courtney VanBrocklin combined with four seniors and a deep bench, the Viks pushed into the finals of the Big Sky tournament, but their efforts fell short of victory as they lost a close contest to Montana.

Track and field took the stage in the spring as sophomore Geronne Black, senior Karene King and juniors Joenisha Vinson and Anaiah Rhodes led the way for the women. For the men, junior Tony Crisofulli in the 800-meter and junior Sean Mackelvie for javelin were the top post-season performers. Despite a strong performance in conference, unfortunately, neither men nor women’s track was able to advance an athlete into the NCAA Nationals.

On the tennis courts, the men’s team suffered a tough 2-6 conference record, after pushing to make a Big Sky post-season appearance. The women’s team, led by freshman Yuki Sugiyama, finished with a 3-5 conference record, the most conference wins in the history of the team.

On the greens, women’s golf completed another winning season with a Big Sky Conference victory—the sixth in the past nine seasons. The team broke nearly all the scoring records in the books and earned a slew of conference awards.

In softball news, the women’s team dominated the regular season, seemingly improving every series on their way to the PCSC Mountain Division title. They then beat Loyola Marymount to secure a PCSC Conference championship and advanced to compete in the NCAA Regional.

Whether it was working with new coaches, adjusting to injured players or bringing younger athletes to the frontlines, 2010–11 was quite a busy and newsworthy year for the Vikings. With Portland State athletics on the rise and continuing support from the fans and the administration, look for even more athletic success next season. ?