The Portland State men’s and women’s cross country teams raced Saturday at the Springfield Country Club in Eugene for the NCAA West Regional.
Running through the end
The Portland State men’s and women’s cross country teams raced Saturday at the Springfield Country Club in Eugene for the NCAA West Regional. Neither team finished with team scores, and only individual scores were recorded.
Three women runners competed on the 6-kilometer course. Senior Karissa Fuller took the lead out of the three by finishing 149th out of 221, with a time of 22 minutes and 28 seconds. Following Fuller was sophomore Amber Rozcicha, who finished with a time of 23:09 to place 187th. Coming in 46 seconds behind her was junior Katie Blue.
“Amber [Rozcicha] and Katie [Blue] ran much faster than they did last year on this same course,” assistant coach Cassie Stilley said. “Karissa not only ran a new personal record, she also beat several athletes from schools like Sacramento State, Idaho and Eastern Washington—who have all been well ahead of her in other races this season.”
On the men’s 10k loop, senior Andrew Slag placed 95th with a time of 31:42. Junior John Lawrence came in 123rd and freshman Zachary Carpenter was close on his heels with a five-second difference in time, putting him at 128th with a time of 32:13.
“John and Andrew both ran huge PRs,” Stilley said.
Carpenter is PSU’s top freshman runner, and Saturday marked his NCAA Regional debut. Stilley added that Carpenter’s performance was a highlight for the team.
“In high school, boys only race 5,000 meters, but in college the men double that distance, running a 10k at regionals and nationals,” Stilley said. “Most freshmen really struggle with the longer distance. In addition, we compete in the hardest region, racing against the No. 2 and the No. 3 teams in the country, along with several other nationally ranked programs.
“It would be easy for Zach to get intimidated, but he stepped up and raced very well—holding his own against more experienced runners.”
None of the Viking runners qualified for the NCAA Nationals, and as a result Saturday signaled the end of PSU’s cross country season.
“We fell a little short of our goals for where we wanted to place in the conference, but we had lots of great individual performances,” Stilley said about the season. “Almost everyone, on both the men’s and women’s teams, improved from where they were last year, and we finished the season without any major injuries, which sets us up well for indoor track.”
Next up for many of the runners on the cross country teams is the indoor track & field season, which begins Dec. 3 at the Boise State-hosted Jackson’s Open. ?