Vikings compete in Big Sky Indoor Championship this weekend
The Portland State Vikings have had a memorable indoor track and field season. But it is not over yet, as the Vikings will compete in one last meet—the Big Sky Indoor Championship.
The championship takes place this weekend, Feb. 24 and 25, in Flagstaff, Ariz. Portland State will be sending 18 athletes to compete against the top athletes from the Big Sky Conference.
“On the women’s side, I am very happy; it’s kind of how I drew it out at the beginning of the season,” head coach Ronnye Harrison said. “If we missed a few people, it’s because they are transitional. They are from junior colleges. I am not as happy with the men’s program. I am not using happy as an emotion; I just wish we could have got more of those guys up to the level of the competition. We just weren’t that successful. I am hoping that they will take the numbers from indoor and move them up for the outdoor season.”
Two of the 18 team members have dominated the conference in their events this season. The first is senior sprinter Karene King, who could be running in her last ever meet in a Portland State uniform. Also running for the Vikings is junior sprinter Gerrone Black, who owns the Big Sky record in the 60-meter dash. Both talented sprinters hope to finish strong at the championships.
“It’s emotional,” King said. “Every time I think that Big Sky is next—and then maybe nationals, and that is it—I get emotional.”
On the women’s side, Portland State could do something they haven’t done in five years—finish in the top three overall. The Vikings have been poised since the beginning of the season for an excellent finish, and nothing has changed. For the coaching staff, expectations are running high.
“If things go our way, we are expecting to see our highest finish in the last four or five years,” assistant coach Seth Henson said. “We are expecting to see a good number of girls in the finals, and we are really expecting a lot out of our sprinters.”
Portland State has had two weeks off since their last meet, but the Vikings are as prepared as ever going into the championship. According to their coaches, aside from a few injuries, the track and field team is ready for the two day meet.
“Our women’s team is extremely prepared,” Henson said. “On the men’s team, the guys that are going are all prepared physically and mentally to go compete. They just don’t have as big of numbers. Our women’s team as a group is extremely ready to go and compete. We are almost 100 percent healthy. We got a few people that are nursing a few tiny injuries but nothing major. Everybody is ready to go do their part.”
The indoor season is just the beginning of the year for the track and field team. The spring outdoor season starts in March. Having a good indoor season is crucial to success in the spring, when more athletes participate. Portland State hopes that a successful indoor championship will transition into a winning spring season. A lot of the athletes are recording their best finishes for this time of the season, and that bodes well for the spring.
“It’s a huge set up when you have success at the first part of your season,” Henson said. “You get excited about adding javelin throwers to the mix, and you are talking about getting a few more points. You want that tight group of sprinters and relay to feel like they have something to work for, and that starts with indoor.”
The Big Sky Indoor Championship will be held this weekend at the Walkup Skydrome in Flagstaff, Ariz. If any Vikings advance, the NCAA Indoor Championship will be in Nampa, Idaho, on March 9 and 10.