Portland State hosted the conference championships for the first time in Forest Grove last weekend, and didn’t waste the home field advantage. The women’s team took second place in a packed field, marking the best finish for the program since 2006, while the men took ninth.
Portland State hosted the conference championships for the first time in Forest Grove last weekend, and didn’t waste the home field advantage. The women’s team took second place in a packed field, marking the best finish for the program since 2006, while the men took ninth. After coming in second at the indoor championships in February, the Vikings had high expectations going into the outdoor meet. Though they lost out to California State University, Sacramento, the PSU squad showed why they were among the favorites at the championships, displaying their talent and determination in a number of individual events and nearly beating out Sacramento State on the final day of competition.
“Our girls took their hits, but they kept fighting back,” assistant coach Seth Henson said. “It was an emotional meet—things went our way and things did not go our way. In the end, I am really proud of our effort from both the men and women.”
Joenisha Vinson led the way for PSU, winning the women’s heptathlon and breaking the previous school record in the process. Vinson’s total in the event puts her in 13th place in the nation this year and qualifies her for the national meet, which will take place in Des Moines, Iowa, next month. She didn’t stop at the heptathlon, either, as the senior also finished first in the long jump, qualifying her for the regional meet in that event. Vinson was named the championship’s most outstanding performer.
“We’re really excited,” Henson said. “We’re expecting big things from her. I’m really confident that Joenisha has a chance to be an All-American.”
PSU’s Geronne Black and Sierra Brooks both medaled in the 100-meter dash, with Black taking home the gold. Graduate student Dominique Maloney tore up the track in Forest Grove, medaling in the 200- and 400-meter events. She was also part of the team that took gold in the 4-x-100-meter relay. Jazmin Ratcliff had another strong outing for the Vikings, and she succeeded in punching her ticket to the regional meet by finishing in third in the 100-meter hurdles. Bianca Martin and Amber Rozcicha shined in the 1,500-meter, crossing the finish line within four seconds of each other to each grab a medal. Martin took second place while
Rozcicha took third.
The Vikings were just two points off the lead heading into the final day, but a dominant performance in the 800-meter event by Sacramento State put the championship out of reach for PSU. The team comes out of the competition disappointed but with plenty of motivation for next season.
“We are progressing in the right direction,” Henson said. “We established ourselves as a legit track and field program. You can’t take Portland State lightly.”
Next up for PSU is the regional meet in Austin, Texas, scheduled for May 23–25.