The Vikings’ final lap

Last weekend six Portland State Vikings headed down to Eugene to compete in the NCAA West regional event, which was ultimately the last meet of the outdoor season.

Last weekend six Portland State Vikings headed down to Eugene to compete in the NCAA West regional event, which was ultimately the last meet of the outdoor season.

The six Vikings who made an appearance were sophomore Geronne Black; juniors Tony Crisofulli, Joenisha Vinson, Sean Mackelvie and Anaiah Rhodes; and senior Karene King. For all the athletes except King, 2012 will mark a return outdoor season.

At the meet, all the athletes finished within the top 50 in the entire west region, but still fell short of the mark to advance. Some of the big name schools that they went up against were programs such as Texas A&M, University of Oregon, Texas Tech and USC.

The women’s 4×100 relay, comprised of Black, Rhodes, Vinson and King finished 20th, as did Black in the 100-meter, her other event of the meet. King placed 30th in the 200-meter and Vinson 39th in the 100-meter hurdles. King was disappointed about her performance at the meet, but said she was still happy with how her season turned out.

“When I first got to Portland State, there were a lot of good people running here and most of the best people have gone to run later this season. I’m just very happy to be one of those runners on the relay team,” King said in a statement released by the school.

As for the men, Mackelvie finished 34th in the javelin and Crisofulli 41th in the 800-meter. This was Mackelvie’s first NCAA regional appearance and Crisofulli’s second.

“It definitely wasn’t my best, and I didn’t do what I could have done,” said Crisofulli. “But just to qualify again just shows that I’m still in the game.”

This is the first year since 2008 that Portland State has not sent an athlete to the NCAA championships. But there are hopes for years to come. Black’s season best time was 11.65 seconds, and the qualifying time for the championship round is even .02 slower than her time. Unfortunately, she finished with a time of 11.95, but since she has two more seasons with the Vikings, improvements are likely.

 Still, overall it’s been a successful year for the program, as the Viks earned 13 new school records, two conference records and six Big Sky Conference Athlete of the Week awards.

“We had a good year at conference and lots of school records were broken,” King said. “And we had one of the largest groups of athletes PSU ever had at a regional.”

Portland State track has seen a lot of growth as a team and a program over this season. From an athlete’s point of view, Crisofulli thought the team grew a lot this year by the number of people qualifying in their respective events and making it to conference as well as other big meets. He also commented on how they took a lot of the freshmen and new incomers to the big meets, which gave them a great learning experience to help them grow as a top-level division one athlete.

However, there are still certain areas that could be worked on for next year. The biggest thing that Crisofulli thought could be improved upon was the overall closeness of the team and trying to create more of a “family” outside of track.

Despite the fact that their seasons are done, many will continue training and running over the summer, while others will be taking breaks and letting their bodies rest up after a stressful season. King, however, will not be resting, but instead she will be competing for her home country of the British Virgin Islands this summer. One of the meets that she will be competing in is the Central America and Caribbean games, and hopefully, she says, in the International Association of Athletes Federation World Championships. 

“[My hopes] are to have another blessed season and break some more records and leave with a bang,” King said.

Crisofulli will be taking a month off from running to let his body recuperate after such a hard season. Once that is up, he’ll continue his training and work on building up speed and endurance for next year’s track season. His hopes for next year are to qualify for the NCAA nationals, as well as the USA nationals and perhaps compete at the Olympic trials.

For many of the Vikings, their next official season will start again with the cross-country season in the fall. After so many strong performances this past year, it appears that the program is certainly on the fast track. ?