Track looks ahead to Big Sky Championships

WangPortland State’s men’s and women’s track teams have been running at full speed trying to get ready for the Big Sky Championships this weekend. Several of the Vikings have the talent and are in position to compete for the first-ever individual Big Sky Championship by a Portland State competitor.

On the women’s side both of the Harvey sisters look to be in good position in the 60-meter hurdles. This past weekend in Moscow, Idaho, Kerine and Keisha Harvey improved their times in the event and are both automatically qualified to enter the Big Sky Championships. Kerine finished fourth in the finals with a time of 8.71 and Keisha finished fifth with a time of 8.97, but ran a 8.92 in her preliminaries. Currently Kerine is ninth in the 55-meter, and third in the 55-meter hurdles; Keisha is ranked eight in the 55m hurdles, fifth in the long jump and first in the triple jump. Keisha hit a personal best this past weekend in the triple jump with a 12.56-meter jump. That mark was the 25th best in the nation for Division I.

“The girls are doing wonderful work,” first season PSU head coach Tony Veney said.

Veney was hired this past summer to coach the track teams, after assisting the men’s track squad at the University of Oregon.

“I’m very excited my first indoor championship meet as the head coach of this program,” Veney said.

Also performing well for the women are Lisa Gunderson, who is ranked first in her high jump event, and Ena Shemi, who is ranked eighth in the 55m. Shemi ran a 7.72 in the 60m and finished third in Idaho.

Despite lacking the depth of the women’s team, the men’s squad has a couple standouts. One top competitor is long jumper Ryan Brown. The transfer from Western Oregon and former state record holder is currently tied for first in the conference for the long jump. Brown won the last long jump competition in Idaho with a mark of 7.08-meter.

Also competing on the men’s team are Jim Sattem and Andre Gittens. Sattem placed seventh in 60-meter finals and Gittens placed eighth over the weekend.

“I’m giving them a nice week of rest” in preparation for this weekend’s Championship, Veney said. “We’re going to get them up there early to adjust to the altitude.”

The Big Sky Championships will be held in Pocatello, Idaho, this Friday and Saturday.