Track team testing new waters

This weekend on April 1–2, the Portland State track team will compete in Salem at the Willamette Invitational.

This weekend on April 1–2, the Portland State track team will compete in Salem at the Willamette Invitational. This meet differs from many, since most of the distance events will be held on Friday for Willamette’s “Celebration of Distance,” and then all the sprinting events will be raced on Saturday.

“Since this will be an electric environment for distance runners, several of the athletes are trying new events for the first time or are competing in events they rarely run,” assistant coach Cassie Stilley said.

Junior Joenisha Vinson, who is a multi-event athlete, will be taking a break from running this meet and will be focusing on her filed events. Junior Tony Crisofulli is running the 400-meter for the second time this season. Last time he competed in this event, he finished fourth and just barely missed the school record by .26 seconds. Junior J.J. Rosenberg, who usually runs the 400-m and 100-meter, will be competing in the 200-meter this meet.

Some athletes, such as sophmore Geronne Black, senior Karene King and junior Anaiah Rhodes are taking a break this meet to rest up.

This meet is going to consist of some tough competition, especially for the distance runners. University of Portland’s distance runners were nationally ranked last year, and many of their runners will be competing in the event. Also, making appearances this weekend will be Southern Oregon University and Alaska-Anchorage, both of whom have solid distance teams this season.

Another factor that will make this meet tough is the weather. Forecasts show that it should be raining, which makes the more technical competitions, such as field events, much more difficult.

“Even with the poor weather, this is a great opportunity for several team members to go after conference qualifiers or to get a new personal record,” said Stilley.

Judging by the success of their last two meets—the Cal Multi Events, where Vinson and Rosenberg were the only Vikings who competed, and the Stanford Invitational, where the rest team participated—this upcoming event should be good for the Vikings if they can continue to ride their recent momentum.

At the Cal Multi Events, Vinson had a score of 3,021 points by the end of the first day and was ranked the top collegiate competitor. Her best event was the 200-m, in which she won with a time of 24.81 seconds, which was a new personal record by .26, this time qualified her for the Big Sky Championship in the 200-m and moved her up to number eight in the PSU record book.

Rosenberg was placed ninth in the decathlon and had 3,213 points. His best event was the 400-m, winning with a time of 49.62, beating his next competitor by .65. Rosenberg is also in better standing than the 2010 decathlon NCAA runner up, Michael Morrison, as Morrison never scored during the high jump. Unfortunately for these two athletes, the second day of competition was cancelled due to high winds.

“The opportunities to commit in a multi are very few, so they may only have one chance to compete this season.  Since Joenisha has placed well in past heptathlons and pentathlons, she’s a definite medal threat,” said Stilley.

At the Stanford Invitational, Black broke the school record in the 100-m with a time of 11.65. Her new time ranks her the eighth-fastest runner in the West region and the fourth-fastest in Big Sky records. Mackelvie placed third in the competition for men’s javelin, improving his season-best record by four feet and one inch, making his record 199 feet and six inches.

Another athlete who did well this past weekend was freshman Zach Carpenter, who ran a new season best in the 1,500-meter with a time of 4:00.47, which is an eight-second improvement for him. His time puts him only three seconds behind fellow teammate Lawrence by three seconds. ?