The end of the 2004 season is near for Portland State outdoortrack and field teams. Both the men and women’s teams have hadcompetitive and improved seasons. The women especially should berecognized for their achievements. Seventeen women from PortlandState will compete in 15 events at the Big Sky ConferenceChampionships Wednesday, May 12, through Saturday, May 15. Therewill be eight Vikings from the men’s team also competing in eightevents. The championship meet will be held at Weber State in Ogden,Utah at the William H. Child Track, which is located inside theStewart Stadium.
Saturday will be a big day for senior Lisa Gunderson, as shewill defend her 2003 championship high jump title. Gundersonrecorded a NCAA regional mark of 5’8″ at the Mt. Hood Relays.Gunderson is also currently tied for first with Weber State’s ownLanette Noble.
Besides Gunderson, other seniors competing in the Big SkyChampionship meet include Mandy Peterson, Brady Randall, and AndreaSchwartz. Mandy Peterson will be competing in the 1,500-meter runand the 3,000m steeplechase. Peterson recently placed fourth(4:44.74) at the Western Oregon Invite in the 1,500m and she holdsthe Portland State steeplechase record. Brady Randall is slated tocompete in the 400m Hurdles, where she is currently ranked at third(63.08) in Big Sky. This will be Randall’s second conferencechampionship meet this year. Andrea Schwartz will compete in the5,000m run. Schwartz is the 5,000m record holder for Portland StateIndoor track, and she was the Academic All-Big Sky Conference forindoor and outdoor in the 2003 season.
Junior Anne Kawasaki, who is ranked ninth on the Big Sky outdoorseason-best list, will join senior Andrea Schwartz in the 5,000mrun along with freshman Bobyea Krishnek. Krishnek is currentlyplaced sixth in the conference with a time of 17:40.29.
Sophomore, Kerry-Ann Blackwood will team up with stellar juniorsOlivia Palmero and Ena Shemi in the 100m dash. Shemi ranks fifth inthe 100m dash (12.12). Palmero and Shemi will both compete in the200m dash as well. Shemi is ranked third in this event at 24.66.Blackwood will also compete in the long jump where she currentlyholds fifth place in the conference with her mark of 18 – 5.25.
As for the freshman, there are two whom will compete in trackevents and four skilled Vikings who will compete in a range offield events. Starting with the track events, Staci Bielenberg andTylar Stephenson will both compete in the 800m race. Bielenberg iscurrently ranked third in the conference this season with aqualifying time of 2:13.31.
Freshman Ashley Quay will compete in the long jump, while fellowfreshman Lynae Newby competes in the pole vault. Oswald rankseighth in the conference with her mark of 168 – 7. That mark isalso a Portland State record. Andrea Clarke will compete in thejavelin throw. Clarke qualified with a season best throw of 145 -8.
Portland State will have more women than men competing at theBig Sky Conference Championships, but the eight qualifying menattending this week’s meet are top quality athletes. FreshmanBrandon Lopez has made a name for himself this season. Lopez has aseason best time of 1:53.54 in the 800m race. Lopez will competealongside senior Evan Garich (1:54.03), whom will be competing inhis third consecutive Big Sky Outdoor championship. Garich scoredthree team points in 2002 for his sixth place finish in the1,500m.
Freshman Kennith Mackins will compete in the 100m dash where hecurrently ranks third in conference with a best time of 10.83.
Senior Keith Gill will compete in the 110m hurdles with hisqualifying best time of 14.69.
Sophomore Michael Davenport is tended to run in the 5,000m wherehe ranks sixth in conference with a time of 14:27.00.
Junior Shaun Straka will be throwing shot put. Straka threw 53 -7 at the Oregon Preview, ranking him eighth in conference.
Freshman Jordan Senn will throw the javelin at the championshipsthis week. Senn’s throw of 204 – 3.5 on April 10 qualified him forthe NCAA Western Regional. This was Senn’s first meet of theseason, and he is the only male Viking to qualify this year. Sennis not only ranked first in the Big Sky and fifth in the NCAADivision 1 Western Region, but he is also ranked 22nd in thenation. Senn will be the reason to check out the results of theconference championships as well as the NCAA Western Regionalmeet.