SEASON PREVIEW: Depth Has Vikings Looking forward to Even Larger 2022 Season after Report-Breaking 2021

September 2, 2022

PORTLAND, Ore. — The minute the Viking Rust Buster – the primary race of the 12 months for the Portland State cross nation program – concludes Friday afternoon at Westmoreland Park in Southeast Portland, the Vikings will load into vans and head to the coast for a four-day staff retreat. It is there that each Viking groups will set their objectives for the 12 months.
These objectives will come completely from the staff itself. No exterior enter Nevertheless, it is not laborious to see the place the staff’s sights may be set, particularly after a record-breaking 2021 season.
2021 featured this system’s first-ever look at nationals as Katie Camarena certified individually after inserting fifth on the NCAA West Regionals. Camarena additionally led program-best finishes on the Large Sky Championships and NCAA West Regional for the ladies, whereas the lads blew away their very own earlier finest on the NCAA West Regional whereas inserting eighth – eight spots higher than the staff had ever completed earlier than. Camarena is gone – although nonetheless on the Park Blocks as a volunteer coach this season – however the Vikings return most of each groups that competed at convention and regionals.
“They see the writing on the properly with who’s coming again, who’s right here. They know,” Portland State head coach David Hepburn mentioned of the staff’s potential objectives. “The fellas for positive. They most likely have a quiet confidence that we will be higher than we had been final 12 months. All of us got here again. We’re all a 12 months, athletically, older. I am positive they’ll set some lofty objectives. And I guess the women, identical factor. I guess the women might be, ‘sure, we misplaced Katie, however now we have this underlying depth in order that we’re deeper than we had been.'”
The lads probably return six of the seven runners who competed for them finally 12 months’s regionals, together with Keynan Abdi and Jordan MacIntosh who led the Vikings whereas inserting fortieth and forty third total, respectively. Abdi and MacIntosh turned the primary pair of Viking teammates to put collectively within the high 50, as solely two different Vikings had ever cracked the highest 50 at regionals earlier than final 12 months.
The Vikings’ complete high 5 positioned within the high 77, as Josh Snyder (sixtieth), Dom Morganti (seventy fifth) and Drew Seidel (77th) adopted Abdi and MacIntosh. The Vikings had by no means positioned greater than three runners within the high 100 at regionals earlier than final 12 months, and the lads had been two spots from inserting their complete high 5 within the high 75.
The ladies, in the meantime, had their strongest staff efficiency on the Large Sky Championships the place they completed on the rostrum for the primary time in program historical past, inserting third. Camarena led the best way with a program-best fourth place particular person end, however it was the bunching behind Camarena that closed out the Vikings’ record-breaking staff end. The staff’s second by fifth finishers all positioned inside 11 spots and 18 seconds of one another.
So, even with out a objective on the books, the theme of the 12 months might be apparent: Depth.
“Normally we’re like, ‘oh yeah, we have got 5.’ And now we’re out to love eight who’ve had fairly good summers and are able to go,” Hepburn mentioned of the staff’s depth.  “We’re simply deeper. We positively had extra numbers [last year], however numbers and our bodies are one factor…travel-squad-worthy athletes, that depth is one thing else.”
The Vikings will not simply be reliant on their returners, both. Much like final 12 months – when the Vikings introduced in Camarena and MacIntosh as graduate transfers – the Vikings have introduced in an skilled group of newcomers to bolster the staff’s depth.
The ladies have three senior transfers that Hepburn expects to contribute this season between Alex Barbour, Bára Stýblová and Jamie Zamrin. The lads, in the meantime, introduced in senior transfers Ben Drew, Josh Jarpey, Pat Roos, Bradley Rzewnicki and Ben Vanderbosch to assist Abdi, MacIntosh and the opposite returners.
The ladies additionally return Sammy Burke, who ran for the Vikings as a freshman in 2018 however took a break as a result of harm and the pandemic earlier than returning to the staff final outside season.
The reliance on older transfers comes partly because of the pandemic, which granted each runner an additional 12 months of eligibility. The Vikings took benefit of that final 12 months with Camarena, who broke the college information in all seven occasions by which she competed whereas turning into the Vikings’ first-ever NCAA nationwide qualifier in cross nation, in addition to its first double qualifier for the NCAA Indoor Championships within the winter.
Hepburn will not put stress on any of this 12 months’s transfers to match Camarena’s output final 12 months. However nonetheless, their maturity will assist the Vikings make speedy features this cross nation season.  
“That is clearly fairly good since you see some confirmed outcomes, academically and out on the course. You see…okay, that is who this individual is. They don’t seem to be going to vary that a lot,” Hepburn mentioned of including older transfers. “Now granted, they have to come back and adapt to the coaching or no matter that’s, the brand new dwelling life, the brand new college, or no matter, and that does pose a problem, however normally they’re fairly stable.”
Hepburn mentioned it is helped having established leaders on the staff who’ve been at Portland State for a number of years and know the tradition. Final 12 months’s captains – Sophie Jones and Phoebe Brown on the ladies’s facet, and Chase Lovercheck and Luke Ramirez on the lads’s facet – are all again, which helps make the transition simpler.
Hepburn additionally famous he was inspired with how another returners have stepped right into a management position, even with out being a named captain. The Vikings’ head coach singled out Tatum Miller and Abi Swain as doing simply that on the ladies’s facet, in addition to MacIntosh – now in his second 12 months on the park blocks – on the lads’s facet.
“They’ve gotten one 12 months older, they know what is going on on, and that is cool. The extra persons are main in that manner, the higher,” Hepburn mentioned. “Like we are saying, you do not have to have a ‘C’ in your jersey to steer. We nonetheless elect captains, however it’s not needed. We have at all times talked about that. If all people’s main, we’re good. We’re entering into the best route.”
The captaincy, just like the staff’s objectives, is one thing that might be labored out on the staff’s retreat following this Friday’s Rust Buster. However as Hepburn mentioned, if everybody on the staff takes a management position no matter whether or not they’re a captain or not, the extra the staff will run itself, which is at all times Hepburn’s objective.
If the Vikings try this this 12 months, then regardless of the groups set as their objectives needs to be reachable.
Friday, Sept. 2
Viking Rust Buster
Portland, Ore.
Westmoreland Park
2 p.m. – Males’s 6k
2:30 p.m. – Ladies’s 5k
3 p.m. – Alumni and Group 5k

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