This season was a definite turning point in the success of the Portland State track and field team. The Vikings performed well all season long, often setting a school or conference record one weekend and then re-establishing the same record the following weekend with a better performance.
Portland State ended their conference schedule strong, with a particularly impressive performance at the Big Sky Championships in Cheney, Wash. But those Viking participants that advanced to the NCAA Regional Tournament in Provo, Utah, didn’t fare nearly as well as the team did at the Big Sky Championships.
PSU was represented by 29 top track and field athletes at this season’s Big Sky Championships, which is arguably the most accurate barometer of a team’s overall success. At the conference tournament Portland State improved their overall point total for the second season in a row, meaning both the men’s and women’s squads set new school records for total points earned.
The men captured eighth place by earning a total of 65 points, which was just a half of point less than seventh-place Northern Arizona. The women received 165 points at the tournament, which was good enough for second place in the Big Sky standings. The men improved by exactly 20 points over the record they set last year, while the women bettered their record by 37 points.
The team performances were obviously impressive but some of the individual accomplishments were even better. Five Viking athletes walked away from the tournament with conference titles, 14 performers earned all-conference with a third-place finish or better and 10 school records were established at the meet.
Nine Portland State athletes advanced to compete against the region’s elite at the NCAA Regional Tournament. However, this time around the Vikings only enjoyed minimal success. The top performer on the men’s squad was junior distance runner Brandon Lopez, who finished seventh in the 800-meter finals field with a time of 1:50.39.
A couple of athletes highlighted the women performance. Senior sprinter and jumper Gayle Imran-Sideris continued the consistent excellence that she had provided all year long, finishing seventh in the triple jump event by recording a best mark of 41 feet and 9.75 inches.
Additionally, the best overall performance for the Viks was junior multi-event athlete Ashley Quay. She tied for second place in the high jump with a jump of best height of 5 feet 7.25 inches, granting her an invitation to the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Sacramento, Calif., which will be held from Wednesday, June 7 to Saturday, June 10.
This season the Vikings continued the growth that they have shown over the past couple of years. The Vikings have an abundance of young talent on in their track and field program, and should continue the current trend to surpass many of the records they established this season.