Last weekend, the Portland State track and field team competed in the NCAA West Preliminary Rounds at John McDonnell Field in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Any athletes who placed in this preliminary were slated to join other athletes who placed in the other regionals around the country by heading to the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Track Town, USA—better known as Eugene, Oregon.
Beginning on Thursday, senior distance runner Sarah Dean ran in the 10,000-meter and finished with a time of 35:11.57 minutes, which landed her in 21st place. With only the top 12 finishers advancing, Dean will not be advancing to the championships in Eugene.
The other Viking who competed on Thursday was freshman Genna Settle. Settle ran the 100-meter in 11.99 seconds in the fifth heat of the event. Though she finished eighth in the heat, she placed 36th overall and will also miss out on the trip to Track Town, because only the top 24 competitors advanced.
On Friday, four Vikings competed in various events. Jasmine Woods placed 43rd in the first round of the 200-meter with a time of 24.73 seconds, which was not good enough to advance.
There was, however, a bright side to Friday in the 100-meter hurdles. Junior Jazmin Ratcliff finished in third place with a time of 13.77 seconds, which automatically advanced her to the quarterfinals on Saturday.
Freshman CeCelia Jackson just missed making the cut and advancing to the quarterfinals with Ratcliff by three-hundredths of a second, with a time of 13.87 seconds. The slowest time that advanced was 13.84 seconds by UC Riverside sprinter Danielle Littleton.
Saturday proved to be a heartbreaker for Ratcliff. Running in the third heat of the 100-meter hurdles and placing sixth in the event, 17th overall, with a time of 13.53 seconds, Ratcliff ran a tenth of a second slower than what she needed to advance to Track Town in June. The slowest time that advanced in this event was 13.44 seconds by USC’s Melia Cox.
The Vikings also competed in the 4×100 meter relay on Saturday, running a 46.39 and finishing 20th overall, once again leaving them just short of advancing to Eugene.
Though no Vikings advanced to the 2014 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, there is definitely something Vikings fans and athletes can look forward to next year. The only competitor from this year’s preliminaries who will not be returning is senior distance runner Sarah Dean.
Ratcliff, who advanced to the quarterfinals in the 100-meter hurdles, is still a junior, and CeCelia Jackson, who barely missed advancing, is only a freshman. The return of Ratcliff and Jackson, in addition to sprinters Jasmine Woods and Genna Settle, a junior and a freshman respectively, leaves many Vikings fans hopeful for improved success next year, as well as in years to come.
Barring injuries or transfers, there is a great chance that the Vikings will not only make it to the NCAA West Preliminary next season, but could quite possibly advance all the way to the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.