Portland State’s cross-country team has been running for a couple of different reasons. They are running for athleticism, school pride and, of course, a Big Sky Cross Country Championship. The Men’s and Women’s cross-country teams have been battling hard to win a Big Sky championship for the 2003 season and have been able to overcome quite a few obstacles.
The Viking cross-country teams however have sprinted to success. The weekend before last, they competed at the Big Sky championship 8K run in Flagstaff, Ariz. The women’s team scored seventh place at the meet with a score of 151 points. Out of 58 runners, sophomore Mallory Moye finished in 18th place and senior Andrea Schwarts came in at 22nd place.
The women’s team had a very big challenge running up against the champions from Northern Arizona University (NAU). However, NAU persevered and gave an excellent performance at the competition as the first three runners to finish the race were on NAU’s cross-country team.
The men’s cross-country team also did a very good job by placing seventh in the competition with 167 points. Sophomore Michael Davenport was the first runner to score for Portland State, placing 14th out of 52 runners. He placed just a minute before fellow sophomore Black Flanders, who placed 30th in the 8K race.
The Viks still could not best the Lumberjacks of NAU, who happened to dominate the race with five members of their team placing within the top 10 finishers. The Lumberjacks’ Travis Laird has been very impressive thus far, winning first place this season and won second place last season.
The performance of both the men’s and the women’s teams should be applauded by PSU students and by the coaching staff. Head coach Kebba Tolbert feels that the Viks could have done better at the Big Sky Championship and finished this season a little bit stronger.
“I think the cross-country team did fairly well this season except for Big Sky,” Tolbert said. “I feel that our women’s team could have finished in fifth place and our men’s team could have finished in sixth.
The Viks will have to work very hard next season to catch up with the champion Lumberjacks and become a better team. Tolbert said Viking fans should look forward to seeing such runners as Davenport, Moye and freshman phenom Bobeya Krishnek, who during her high school years held a 2A record in Washington.
Overall, the men’s team had a solid season, scoring second place in its first run at the Seattle Invitational on Sep. 6 and finishing in no less than seventh place during its five-game season. The women’s cross-country team scored a great season as well. It became a hometown hero by winning first place at the Portland Scoring Meet and scored no less than eighth place out of its meets this season.
The Viks do have a chance to win big this weekend as they compete in the NCAA Western Regionals, held in Portland. The Vikings have the chance to win the regionals and go on to win the NCAA Championships, held in Waterloo-Cedar Falls, Iowa.
They have a great challenge in the form of the champion Lumberjacks. Tolbert hopes the Viks finish in the top 15 at the regionals.
“I do not think that we’ll be finishing in first place with all of the teams that we’ll be up against,” Tolbert said. “I think that regionals will give us a chance to redeem ourselves from Big Sky. If we finish in the top 15, I think that will be very respectable.”