Distance runners are the best in years

The Portland State Vikings women’s cross country squad competed in the NCAA West Regionals last Friday, finishing 17th out of 34 teams, which is their best finish at the regionals in over 11 years.

The Vikings’ 17th-place finish is also the second-best result in PSU history. After a season where the Vikings weren’t picked to finish in the top half of their conference, this means even more to a coaching staff and athletes who beat out all exterior expectations of what this program could accomplish.

With 456 points in the meet, the Vikings also had their second lowest point total (scoring low is good in these meets) in the NCAA West Regionals in the program’s history. Their previous lowest point totals came in 1999 and 2002, respectively.

Leading the PSU women was junior Amanda Boman, who finished the 6,000 meter in 49th place. Boman came up big in a big race by having one of her best performances of the season. Her time puts her in the PSU record books, with the fifth-best time in the 6,000 meter  in school history.

Boman was not alone, with another runner placing in the top 65, sophomore Cheryn Trapp. Trapp’s time was under 22 minutes, and also earned her a place in the PSU record books. Her time is the sixth-best cross country 6k in Vikings history.

Having two runners place so well in such a big meet is another statement being made by a PSU squad who, once again, were not picked to do very well in the Big Sky Conference at the beginning of the season. Internally, the Vikings coaching staff and athletes showed that those expectations do not mean much, especially when PSU is able to put up quality performances in meets with big schools and big-time runners competing.

Boman and Trapp were followed by PSU’s third and fourth place runners Sarah Medved and Camelia Mayfield. Both runners finished within five seconds of each other.

On the men’s side, the Vikings placed 27th, with 741 points. The men were led by a group of three runners, who were all within six seconds of each other. This group of three included junior John Talik, freshman Alejandro Cisneros and junior T-Roy Brown.

All times for PSU’s three leading men were better than their performances last season, or for Cisneros, earlier this season. The Vikings now have a young crew to build around in hopes of performing even better at the regional next season.

The regional meet ends the season for the Vikings, as no PSU athletes will qualify for the national event. Next up for track and field is the 2014–15 indoor season, which has seen a lot of success for the Vikings over the last three years. The women have challenged to win the Big Sky Conference multiple times, coming up just short on a number of occasions. A majority of the meets for the indoor season will take place in early 2015.