Last Friday was the cross country championship with the Big Sky hosted by Portland State for the first time since 2008. Teams all across the Conference like Northern Arizona and Weber State came to Hillsboro. Early showers led to almost no clouds just in time for both races. The first race started at 11 a.m. with the women’s 5k. Katie Camerena finished fourth in the 5k with a time of 16:35.3, casually breaking yet another school record this year.
According to Camerena, she felt confident after the first kilometer, unworried about getting tripped up due to being in the front. “[In] the last [kilometer], I was fourth or fifth, and everyone was trying to make an aggressive move,” Camerena said. “It was a little bit faster than I was thinking, but it felt good.”
It was raining a couple hours on the course before Camarena’s race, making it more challenging. “It was very muddy and I was sliding around a bit,” Camerena said. But the atmosphere on Friday was so exciting that “just having someone at every point of the race cheering” helped Camerena stay steady at the front pack. “It was just nice to have the whole team and everyone’s friends and fans out here,” she said.
Regionals take place on Nov. 12 in Sacramento—and with Camerena’s top-four finish in conference, she’s looking to go big or go home.
“Definitely excited for that,” Camerena said. “[I’m] trying to be top-25 to get All-Regional and then have a chance to go to nationals. And I think the team will be in a better position too.”
Camerena praised the team’s abilities, remarking that the relative youth of some runners was impressive considering their performance.
Hunter Storm was the second Vik to finish the 5k with a time of 17:15.9, followed by Liza Sajn with a 17:18.0. Portland State finished in third as a team in the 5k with 95 points. Previously, the team’s record was placing fifth. Northern Arizona finished first with a low 37 points and Weber State came in second with 51 points.
The men’s 8k finished sixth overall with 146 points. Jordan Macintosh was the first Vik to finish the 8k with a time of 24:12.3.
Macintosh said he was trying to run smooth for the first kilometer, attempting to stay with the front pack: “Not being too out of control, but staying within myself and running fast but smooth.”
Training for everyone on the team had been going well, according to Macintosh, however one of the top three runners did not compete, though they will be back for regionals. “That will help the team a lot,” Macintosh said.
24:26.9 was Josh Snyder’s time, the second Viking to reach the end of the 8k. Dom Morganti was the third Viking with a time of 24:45.9. Northern Arizona came in first again with 30 points. Southern Utah came in second with 53 points, and Montana State had 80. The Viks now prepare for the NCAA West Regional Nov. 12 in Sacramento.
First things first, the Viks are currently tied for first place in the Big Sky Conference with only four games left in the regular season. The Weber State Wildcats currently have the tiebreaker, having a 183-179 point edge over the Vikings, out of the two matches played with them.
Best case scenario, the Viks will have to win their last four in hopes of Weber State falling to at least one school before the season ends. The Viks quickly swept Idaho State 3-0 (25-22, 25-18 and 25-19) and regained focus for the larger match.
Last week, when speaking with Portland State Vanguard, libero Ellie Snook said the team was capable of beating every team in the conference. However, the Viks had a struggle with the Cats in the first set on Saturday, unable to win in a long 34-32 loss to start the game.
Snook felt the sole loss of the game came from the first set. “I think we controlled it the whole first half, and we came out really strong with our energy and they started fighting back and we kinda let go a little,” Snook said.
“It was just like little mental errors,” said teammate Makalya Lewis. “Like little things back and forth that we knew we weren’t supposed to do but we still controlled it. So we knew what we were doing, but it was the little things that we didn’t put 100% effort in.”
After the first set loss, everything changed and the Vikings continued to win. “We’re always competing with them and we controlled [the game] the whole time,” Lewis said. “It was really in our hands to control the pace of the game.”
Lewis, Parker Webb, and Zoe McBride all had a day: 16 kills by Webb, 15 by Lewis and 10 by McBride. All three had at least one ace to help secure the win. Snook led the game with 28 digs while Lewis had 21. Teniyah Leuluai had 22 assists and Ally Wada had 19.
“We’re gonna dominate whoever is across the net and that’s our mentality every single time,” Lewis said. “So whenever we start getting on that momentum, when we just have fun and be loud, it makes it a lot easier. That second set in the huddle we were thinking: Let’s go back to having fun, that’s what we need to do to win this.”
The Viks went out to dominate after that first set and won the next three. Portland State made the fourth set look easy, quickly quieting the Wildcats 25-11 with a 13-0 run in the middle.
After a much-deserved celebration in the locker room, the Viks play Sacramento State in a rematch—this time at the Viking Pavilion. The match is Thursday, Nov. 4 at 7 p.m. Weber State, in their final games, will play Idaho State, Northern Colorado, Northern Arizona and Southern Utah. The Viks play Sacramento State, Southern Utah, Montana State and, finally, Montana. Three of those four games will be at home.
The Viks had a convincing 42-21 win over Cal Poly on Saturday. Running back—and Big Sky offensive player of the week—Malik Walker was a menace on the field with 14 carries, 116 yards and two touchdowns. Jalynne McGee gave the Viks their second touchdown in just the first quarter, giving the Viks the 14-0 lead.
Cal Poly made it a close game after the half, tying 14-14 after a two-point conversion. Scoring 21 in the fourth quarter solidified the win and boosted confidence for the next game. Davis Alexander went 22 for 36 and 198 yards—and went in for a touchdown. McGee had 17 carries for 63 yards and had a touchdown. Beau Kelly stayed consistent with eight receptions for 101 yards.
While the offense had a season-high 42 points, the defense stayed strong. Parker McKenna had 10 tackles and a sack, with VJ Malo right behind him with eight tackles—and five tackles for loss. Freshman Tyreese Shakir had five tackles and got himself an interception.
Portland State is now 4-4 this season and 3-2 in conference play. This is the first time they have been at .500—and look to go above .500 when they play Weber State next week, currently holding the same record after a win over #5 Eastern Washington.
After Weber State, the Viks go to #22 Sacramento State and try to disrupt the Hornets. The last game of the season will be at home against the rival Eastern Eagles in the Dam Cup on Nov. 20. Eastern Washington currently leads the close series 21-20-1.
Basketball is back in the park blocks, and the Vikings had their first game back with fans in the bleachers since 2019. The Viks played an exhibition game against National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) school, Multnomah University, and won with a statement 95-75.
Freshman Esmeralda Morales dropped an impressive 30 points on the Lions in her first ever game as a Viking. She also led the team in 12 assists. Freshmen Alaya Fitzgerald and Rhema Ogele both scored 13 points in their first ever start. Jada Lewis had 11 rebounds and led the team with four steals.
Redshirt senior Savannah Dhaliwal had her long-awaited return to the court after missing the 2020 season due to an injury. She came in second in rebounds with 10, followed by Ogele in third with 8.
This new team is young, but the chemistry in this exhibition game made it look like they’ve been together for a while. The Viks start their regular season on Nov. 9 at the Viking Pavilion versus Warner Pacific. Portland State is expected to finish eight in the Big Sky based on the women’s basketball media poll and expected to be ninth in the coaches’ poll. Idaho State, the reigning champs, is expected to win the Big Sky in both polls.
With new members and new coaches, the Viks plan to prove the coaches’ poll wrong and take on the rest of the Big Sky.