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Track and field teams show vast improvement

Though both the men’s and women’s track and field teams finished in last place Saturday at the BSC Championships, several of their placings were representative of a team that has taken great strides toward improvement all season.

“It was a meet of high and lows and mixed emotions,” said head coach Tony Veney. Either we were on the victory stand or getting crushed somewhere else.”

The Vikings joined the competition – which was held May 14-17 in Bozeman, Mont., and featured more than 330 athletes – on Friday.

Among the Portland State competitors who qualified for the finals during preliminaries were Jim Sattem (100-meter dash), Andre Gittens (100m), Kerine Harvey (long jump), Ena Shemi (100m) and Brady Randall (400-meter hurdles).

Lisa Gunderson qualified with an impressive 1.78-meter high jump, a score that put her in first place in the event.

Junior Ryan Brown broke the school record of 24-8.5 in the long jump competition with his leap of 25 feet, 2 inches.

Despite these solid performances, PSU ended day one with rather low team scores. The men garnered eight overall points, while the women fared slightly better at 15. Comparatively, leader Montana State ended the day with men and women’s scores of 78 and 49.

“The Big Sky is a tough conference for track. We lack depth right now, and our lack of depth caught up with us in this meet,” Veney said.

The PSU men pushed their final score up to 37 on Saturday, easily surpassing last year’s previous championship high score of 25.

Sattem led the team with a first-place finish in the 100m at 10.54. Sattem became the first male Viking to place first at an outdoor event. Anthony Robinson took second place in the 400-meter dash at 47.45 seconds.

Notable finishes on the women’s team were Keisha Harvey, who placed third in the triple jump, and Ena Shemi, who took third in the 100m.

Gunderson won the high jump to become the first female in the PSU history to be an outdoor individual champion. Gunderson broke the school record on the high jump as well. Senior Jenny Rodgers finished in fifth place in the 1,500 meters in 4:37.19.

The Viking women ended the competition with a team score of 34.5, their best finish at the championships.

Host Montana State’s women took first place with a score of 176. Northern Arizona was victorious on the men’s side, with a score of 160.5.