VANCOUVER, Wash. — Southern Oregon earned its third consecutive top-three national finish Saturday as the Raiders placed second at the 2012 NAIA men's cross country championships at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site.
The Raiders, who entered the season ranked No. 1 in the NAIA poll, totaled 153 points to finish behind team champion St. Francis (138) by 15 points. California State San Marcos took third with 165 points in an extremely close championship race.
"I thought overall the team ran very well," SOU head coach Grier Gatlin said. "We had a race plan and we executed it. There were just a few things that maybe didn't go our way, and that's the difference between first and second."
Tyler VanDyke from Eagle Point High led the Raiders with a 19th-place finish (25 minutes, 6 seconds), followed closely by teammate Scott McIntyre in 22nd place (25:10) to give SOU a pair of All-American finishers. Eric Avila finished in 51st (25:40), followed immediately by Nathan Normo in 54th (25:41). Brett Hornig placed 63rd (25:47), Eric Ghelfi took 29th (25:57) and Jared Hixon finished 94th (26:04), as all seven Raider runners finished within one minute of each other.
"While we're disappointed to not walk away with the title, taking a conference championship and finishing second at the national meet with two All-Americans is a huge accomplishment," Gatlin said.
After claiming its fifth consecutive Cascade Collegiate Conference two weeks ago, Southern Oregon earned its second-best national finish in program history Saturday.
In the women's race earlier in the morning, Anne Hagy represented the Southern Oregon women's team with a 94th-place finish. Hagy ran the 5,000-meter race in 19:26 as the only Raider in the competition.
SOUTHERN OREGON 82, WILLIAM JESSUP 70 — At Klamath Falls, 23rd-ranked Southern Oregon continued its hot shooting and held off a late William Jessup run to defeat the Warriors at the Midland Empire Insurance Classic.
Southern Oregon improves to 4-2 with the win, while William Jessup falls to 1-5. The Raiders return to action Tuesday evening in a nonconference rivalry showdown, hosting No. 2 Oregon Tech at 7:30 p.m. at Bob Riehm Arena.
Southern Oregon shot 56 percent in the contest (28-for-50), including 60 percent in the second half (15-for-25). David Sturner connected on 8 of 13 shot attempts to lead SOU with 19 points, while Eric Thompson scored 15 points on only eight shot attempts. Terriel Thomas tallied 11 points with eight rebounds, and both Kyle Tedder and Dex Daum added 10 points for the Raiders.
SOUTHERN OREGON 97, WILLIAM JESSUP 80 — At Klamath Falls, for the second straight night, Southern Oregon used a second-half run to pull out a nonconference victory as the Raiders knocked off William Jessup at the Midland Empire Insurance Classic.
Melissa Sweat connected on all 10 of her shot attempts to record a team-high 27 points in only 22 minutes for unbeaten SOU (5-0), while Alexi Smith posted a double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds and nearly reached a triple-double with seven assists. Allison Gida finished with 16 points and Carly Meister added 11 points and nine rebounds.
The Raiders limited William Jessup (2-4) to 28.4 percent shooting, while SOU connected on 48.6 percent of its shots (36-for-74). Ashley Rose scored a game-high 32 points for the Warriors.