This 2004 season earned the Vikings respect. After 2003’s injury-laden and worst season in six years, Portland State was picked last in both the coaches and the media polls for 2004.
Instead of remaining at the bottom of the barrel, the Vikings improved their record by three games, climbed up the conference standings to fourth and challenged for the Big Sky title with a post-season playoff berth. Portland State’s 7-4 record was the best since 2001. As the 2004 season closed, the Vikings became the most improved program in the Big Sky Conference.
PSU ranked as the Big Sky Conference leader in both team and personal categories. Ryan Fuqua and Joe Rubin contributed to the Vikings Big Sky lead in offensive rushing. PSU averaged 204.4 rushing yards per game; Fuqua contributed 102.1 ypg and Rubin had 82.5 ypg. PSU was 18 more yards per game over Eastern Washington who is ranked the next best Big Sky Team over the Vikings. PSU also lead the Big Sky Conference in total defense including rushing defense, pass efficiency defense and scoring defense.
Rushing: Ryan Fuqua (102.1 ypg)
Rushing touchdowns: Ryan Fuqua and Allen Kennett (9 each)
Passing: Joe Wiser
Receiving/Receiving Touchdowns: Shaun Bodiford (5)
Total Touchdowns: Allen Kennett (10)
Scoring: Eric Azorr (65 points)
All-Purpose Yards: Ryan Fuqua (1,348)
Tackles: Tolo Tuitele (73)
Sacks: Chuck Jones: (7)
Pass Breakups: Dominic Dixon (8) and Odell Jackson (8)
Interceptions: Reynard Carrie and Nick Chenault (3 each)
Fumbles Forced: Chuck Jones, Chris Berg, Odell Jackson (2 each)
Fumbles Recovered: Andrew Dorsey (5)
The 2004 Cross Country season may have ended with less than excellent Big Sky standings, but the Vikings made improvements. "We had a great season but didn’t finish well," said Head Coach Mike Hickey, "We are moving forward as a team and as a conference."
The Viking men enjoyed the best men’s season in recent years. The men racked up a third place finish at the Sundodger Invitational and the Willamette Invitational as well as a first place finish at the Eastern Washington Invite.
Despite these great victories, the Vikings placed at a disappointing sixth place. Junior Michael Davenport earned a 34th place finish at the NCAA West Regional meet and continued to lead the pack for PSU. Junior transfer Clay Hemlock joined Davenport at the lead of the pack. Hemlock’s solid racing as a runner surprised Coach Hickey, "This is the first time that I’ve had two front runners at Portland State," he said.
The Viking women also raced to a satisfying season.
"The goal for the women’s team was to perform to their potential at the Big Sky Championship," Hickey said. "We were very close to that goal. If any one runner had moved up about five seconds, we would have been fifth."
Junior transfer Amanda Kamm led the pack with Viking veteran, Sophomore Bobeya Krishnek. Both women broke the 18-minute barrier marking the first time two Vikings have ever had two women better a mark in the same race. All around the Viking women exhibited potential for season to come while improving at every race.
Portland State won its first Big Sky regular season title in 2004. The Vikings were top-seeded this year, and they equaled their best conference record (4-1-1) in Big Sky play for the second time in three years.
Their greatest disappointment this season was the loss to Weber State after the number one seeded Vikings dominated the first half of the game. Weber stole the 2-0 win in the second half when they took over the momentum of the game. The loss was upsetting but does not define the well-rounded season the Vikings endured.
Portland State’s offense was sporadic but still good enough to lead the Big Sky with 24 goals across the season. Defensively, the Vikings led the conference during the regular season with seven shutouts. PSU even managed to win one of two non-conference tournaments, taking the winners’ trophy at the UC Irvine/Holiday Inn Invitational.
The Vikings will be without four key players in the 2005 season. Seniors Annie Peccia, Julie Forrest, Karly Larsen and Katie Miyake helped define a new image for the Vikings in their season of play at Portland State. Each was equipped with skill that will be hard to replace.