The regular season ended on Saturday, May 12 for the Portland State men’s and women’s track teams at the Seattle Pacific Invitational.
However, the rest of the competition awaits the athletes who qualified for this week’s Big Sky Championships. That action runs May 16-19 in Pocatello, Idaho.
The Vikings’ Sharon Burnett’s long season finally paid off when she rallied to victory in the 800 meter with a Big Sky qualifying time of 2 minutes, 12.42 seconds.
“She just had a great effort. We programmed a race strategy for her the night before. She led for the first 620 meters and a Washington girl went right by her,” said women’s head coach Keith Woodard. “With 80 to go Sharon went right by her.”
Burnett said she was just glad to clinch herself a spot heading into the championships, especially with all the competition on race day.
Thirteen other Vikings also improved their jumps, throws and times on meet day. PSU’s Marcia Bomber improved her performances in the 100 (12.65 seconds) and the hammer throw. Bomber broke her own school record in the hammer throw for the third consecutive time, this time throwing the weight 132 feet, 6 inches. She finished 10th in the 100 and ninth in the hammer.
“She (Bomber) just keeps right on improving but unfortunately the season is ending on her,” Woodard said. “She’s been working very hard and we appreciate it.”
Rachel Codiroli also competed in the 100 and finished sixth-place overall with a time of 12.53. Toni Adair marked her best performance in the 400 with a blistering time of 58.91 seconds, good for fourth-place. Jill Salmon cruised her way to a sixth place finish in the 800 (2:16.46) while Sage Lintner finished 12th in the 1500 run crossing the line in 4:53.89. Lisa Gunderson won her sixth high jump competition this year, clearing 5-6 for the win.
On the men’s side, PSU’s Andre Gittens rallied to a season-best in the 100 with a sixth-place and crossed the line in 11.07.
“I was quite upset with it. Before the race I just got done running the relay. As a result, I shouldn’t have run this race. My hamstrings tightened up after the relay. Even though I got massages before it still didn’t help,” Gittens explained.
Jim Sattem finished in fifth in the 200 with a time of 22.61 seconds. In the 800, Evan Garich powered his way to a 1 minute, 55.75 second performance, good for a seventh place finish.
“I’m really happy with it actually,” Garich said about his time. “I got injured early on but got going at the end of the season. When I started this race I made the commitment and I told myself I was going to race.”
The possibility of Garich competing in the Big Sky Championships looks slim at this point. But he remains optimistic.
“There’s a possibility that Ken (Woodard) may wild card me in. I think overall that the team did fairly well. They closed out the season really good,” Garich said.
In the field events, Scott Rotrock had a throw of 38 feet, 4 inches in the shot put, which was his first attempt at the event this year.
The men’s short relay had their best time of the season when they crossed the line in 42.58 seconds.
“They ran fast enough on Saturday to move in front of Montana and Montana State,” Woodard said. “They’re the No. 7. seed. We had a bunch of people who just stepped up on Saturday.”
Men’s coach Ken Woodard wasn’t available for comment. He was coaching Jeremy Park who competed in the 5000 at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif. Sunday.
“It’s been a great season and they [the women’s team] are really great to work with,” Woodard said. “We’re putting entries in and looking at the list, I know I have at least five women in the top 12. We’ll have both relays competing at the championships.”
The Vikings will travel to Idaho this week for the Big Sky Championships. The decathlon and heptathlon take place Wednesday and Thursday. The remainder of the competition will continue on Friday and Saturday.