CLEVELAND — A strong winter performance helped Southern Oregon climb seven spots and into the top 10 of the latest National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) Learfield Sports Directors' Cup standings, setting the stage for a possible record-breaking spring finish.
Three of Southern Oregon's winter programs — wrestling, men's basketball and men's indoor track and field — finished their respective seasons in the NAIA's top 25 to garner points for the Raiders in the Directors' Cup standings. Wrestling led the way with its second consecutive national runner-up finish, with the second-place performance gaining 90 points. Men's basketball ranked 10th in the postseason NAIA poll and totaled 53 points, while the indoor track and field team picked up 49 points for a 24th-place finish.
Southern Oregon's winter season was one of the most successful in department history. Along with the second-place team finish for the wrestling team, the program set a school record as four individual wrestlers claimed national championships. The men's basketball team established a new team record with 25 wins and advanced to the NAIA Division II National Tournament Sweet Sixteen for only the second time in team history, and the men's indoor distance medley relay team gave the SOU track and field program its first ever indoor national championship.
Southern Oregon tallied 192 points in the winter sports and has a combined 342 points including the fall season total. The Raiders are one of three Cascade Collegiate Conference programs in the top 10 of the Directors' Cup standings, with the CCC the only conference to achieve that feat.
With five outdoor track and field athletes already qualified for the NAIA National Championships at the end of May and the SOU softball team off to a 7-1 start in conference play, Southern Oregon is poised to finish in the Directors' Cup top 30 for the third consecutive year and fourth time in department history.