Westin Morill, Nick Trubachik, Jernise Saunders and Kelsey Kahle competed in Eugene at the Western Regional Championships over the weekend.
Morill and Trubachik competed in the javelin, Kahle in high jump, and Saunders competed in both the 100- and 200-meter dashes.
Saunders was the highlight of the meet. She competed in the 100-meter dash on Friday night, setting a school record in the process. Saunders ran the 100 in 11.69 seconds, beating the previous Portland State record of 11.74 held by Alyssa Tibbs.
Saunders was 10th overall in the 100 meter and just barely missed making the finals, as only the top eight advance. She was in second but was passed in the last few meters.
“I was pissed because I wanted to make it to Nationals in both the 100 and 200,” a disappointed Saunders said.
Saunders channeled that anger and had one of the best races of her life in the 200-meter dash. She shot out of the starting blocks like a rocket and was in first place with 80 meters to go. As she crossed the finish line she knew it was close.
“I looked to my right and saw a bunch of people in line with me,” Saunders said. “I thought I did not make it.”
She started walking off when one of the officials said, “PSU, don’t go anywhere.” When she looked up she noticed she got fifth. Head coach Ronnye Harrison came over and gave her a hug and congratulated her. Saunders was much happier after that realization.
“I was juiced, and I began hugging everyone,” Saunders said. “I’ve been on cloud nine ever since the race ended.”
Saunders became the first sprinter in Portland State history to make it to the NCAA Nationals and her time of 23.77 in the 200 is another school record.
Kahle had three fouls in the high jump and didn’t place. It was a disappointing way to end her career as a collegiate athlete.
Trubachik and Morill competed in the javelin. Trubachik finished in 22nd place with a toss of 192 feet and was disappointed.
“I felt good, but I could have done better,” Trubachik said.
Morrill finished in 10th place with a toss of 203 feet, which ended his collegiate career as an athlete as well. The senior has been through a lot this past year and really stepped up his competitiveness this season.
With the Western Regional Championship over, Saunders and Trubachik will be prepping for Nationals in the next 10 days—Saunders in the 200 and Trubachik in the decathlon. The NCAA Nationals will be held in Fayetteville, Ark., June 10–13.
Harrison believes that we have not seen the best of Saunders yet and thinks the school record in the 200 is going to drop again.
“We have two weeks to solidify a few things and we will be taking it one round at a time,” Harrison said.
Saunders will continue working on her finish and start in the 200, and Trubachik will be working on several decathlon events that he believes are his weak spots.
When asked about her upcoming trip to Nationals, Saunders excitedly responded: “I can’t wait.”