This Thursday, six members of the Portland State track team will be heading down to familiar territory at Hayward Field in Eugene to compete in the NCAA West Regional meet.
This Thursday, six members of the Portland State track team will be heading down to familiar territory at Hayward Field in Eugene to compete in the NCAA West Regional meet. The NCAA west region consists of schools from every state found on the west side of the Mississippi river. Some of the big-name universities showing up for competition will be schools such as the University of Texas, Texas A&M, University of Oregon and Stanford.
Out of the six athletes making the trip, four are female runners from the women’s 4×100 relay team, although most of those members will be competing in multiple events. The only member of the relay team who is not competing in any other event is junior Anaiah Rhodes. As for the other three, sophomore Geronne Black will be running the 100-meter, as will fellow teammate senior Karene King. Lastly, there will be junior Joenisha Vinson in the 100-meter hurdles.
On the men’s side, junior Tony Crisofulli will be running in the 800-meter and junior Sean Mackelvie is competing in the javelin.
Last week, in Sacramento, Calif., the Big Sky Outdoor Championship was held. King also qualified for the International Associated of Athletics Federations World Championships, because of her performance in the 200-meter. King won the race with a time of 23.46 seconds in the preliminary round. She then continued to the final round and won gold. The IAAF World Championship will be held in Daegu, South Korea, August 27 to Sept. 4.
This will be Black’s first NCAA regional appearance in the 100-m, and it will be Vinson’s, King’s and Crisofulli’s second regional meet. Crisofulli, a native to Vail, Colo., shared a bit about his feelings before the race, saying that after his workout on the 20, he is feeling much more confident and ready to run, but is aware that the field will be strong.
“It’ll be a tough meet,” Crisofulli said, “Lots of good runners.”
At last year’s meet, Crisofulli finished 38th with a time of 1:50.65. He’s entering this meet ranked 22nd with a time of 1:49.02. He said his goals for this race were to make it to the semi final round and break the 1:48 barrier by finishing with a time around 1:48.20.
“Breaking the [1:48 mark] would be ideal,” Crisofulli said.
The semi-final round will be held at the national meet in Des Moines, Iowa, on June 8–11. In order to make it to that point, Crisofulli would need to place within the top three of his first race to advance to the quarter final, where the top 24 athletes are chosen to compete. Then from there the top 12 from the west continue on to compete against the top 12 of the east.
Both male athletes, Crisofulli (ranked 22nd) and Mackelvie (ranked 21st), are both entering their events seeded in the top 25. Whereas the women, Black, King and Vinson, are ranked 40th, 27th and 27th, respectively.
Also, the women’s team moved up from sixth to fifth, and in doing so claimed their first ever All-Sport Trophy from the Big Sky Conference. The team had originally placed seventh, but then they got moved up to sixth after a scoring correction in the women’s high jump. The final score was 65 points, the best score out of the three years since head coach Ronnye Harrison took over. The men’s side ended up scoring 13 points.
“In addition, we had our highest finish at the conference meet in several years, and we were only one point away from being fifth in the conference. It’s an exciting time to be a part of PSU Track,” said assistant coach Cassie Stilley.
As for those who are not competing in the regional meet, their season is done and they get to enjoy a small break before starting back up with training. Stilley mentioned that some athletes, such as junior Dominique Maloney, as well as King, will be competing for their home country of British Virgin Islands, and have already started practicing.
For some track Vikings, they will return to action again during the cross-country season, which returns to competition at the end of August.
“There’s not much room for down time.” Stilley said.
More information about the NCAA west regional meet can be found online at goviks.com, and ticket information can be found at goducks.com.