XC best finish since 2007

The cross country Big Sky Conference Championships were held in North Dakota over the weekend at Ray Richards Golf Course. Portland State’s men’s and women’s cross country squads competed, finishing 10th and sixth, respectively.
On the women’s side, the Vikings saw their best finish in seven years. Senior Camelia Mayfield led an experienced PSU squad, which was picked to finish 12th in the Big Sky Conference at the beginning of the year. It would not have taken much for the Vikings to beat out their preseason ranking, and they accomplished that and more.
Mayfield was the head Viking, finishing in 15th place in the meet. Her finish stands as the eighth-best time in PSU history and the second time in a row that the Vikings have had a runner finish in the top-15 at the Big Sky Conference Championships. Before last season, it had been seven years since the Vikings had a runner in the top-15 at the championships.
The Vikings’ progress the last two seasons has shown a program that’s developing. Behind Mayfield were three other Vikings, within 30 seconds of the senior. The three following runners were junior Amanda Boman, sophomore Cheryn Trapp and freshman Sarah Medved. All of these runners had seasonal bests at the meet, running their best times at the end of the season.
On the men’s side, the Vikings took 10th place, led by freshman Alejandro Cisneros who finished in 27th place. His time of 25:30 was his second best of the season in the 8,000 meter. The rest of the men’s squad, which is filled with upperclassmen, finished behind Cisneros, including juniors John Talik and Neil Seibert and senior Jake Schwartz.
The men’s squad has not seen a runner finish as high as Cisneros since 2010, when the Vikings had Andrew Salg finish 22nd.
This meet did not have any flashy numbers or big-time historic runs from Vikings athletes, but what it did have was a performance from a Vikings team that not many expected. Being picked to finish in last place and then finishing six places above that says a lot about a Vikings squad and coaching staff, who work with their athletes year round in preparation for the season.
Next up on the cross country schedule is the NCAA West Regionals, which takes place at Stanford University. Athletes who rank among the top at that meet will qualify for nationals, which take place in Indiana.
As far as the track and field season goes, PSU will begin their next part of the season with the indoor schedule starting in January. The indoor season precedes the outdoor track and field season, which has seen the women’s side challenge for championships in previous years. The women have finished in third twice in recent years and have been just points away from bringing home a Big Sky Championship.
The men have been improving over the last few seasons as well, doing their best to stay out of last place and move up the standings in the conference.