MARION, Ind. — Eight Southern Oregon University student-athletes earned All-American honors and the Raiders broke a pair of school records Saturday during the final day of competition at the NAIA Outdoor Track & Field Championships.
The Southern Oregon men cracked the top-10 team rankings for the second consecutive year, following up last season's program-tying sixth-place finish with a ninth-place finish. The Raiders tallied 29 total points on the men's side, while the women's team garnered 11 points to rank 24th in the team standings.
"We were very happy with how the meet played out," SOU head coach Grier Gatlin said. "We were really looking to get into the trophies, but things didn't go exactly how we'd lined them up. In spite of that, we were very happy to see how hard everyone competed."
Amelia Maguin broke the school record by nearly a full second to finish second in the women's 400-meter hurdles. The sophomore earned All-American honors with a time of 1:00.49, besting the previous SOU mark of 1:01.33 set by Jill Carrier in 1995.
The men's 4x400 relay team of Nick Perrino, Sullivan Stevens, Zach Boyd-Helm and Jonz Olander shaved nearly two more seconds off the school record the squad set in the preliminary race on Friday. The team's time of 3:11.76 was also good for fifth place overall and All-American recognition.
Boyd-Helm and Eric Avila each narrowly missed individual championships, placing second in the 800 and 1,500. Boyd-Helm's time of 1:51.77 was .24 seconds behind champion Clay Sheerson, while Avila finished just over three-tenths of a second behind British Columbia's Luc Bruchet in the 1,500 with a time of 3:50.77.
Sullivan Stevens posted a personal-best time of 52.75 to place sixth in the men's 400 hurdles, while Trevor Lynn earned All-American honors with an eighth-place finish in the men's steeplechase, overcoming a fall in the final laps of the event.
Hector Aleman and Alexandra Rudd rounded out SOU's All-Americans, as Rudd completed the women's marathon in sixth place and Aleman placed eighth in the men's race. With Danny Parks' fifth-place finish in the discus on Friday, SOU ends the meet with a total of nine All-Americans and three national runners-up.
MILLER SIGNS WITH SOU — Cascade Christian point guard Alex Miller was one of two players added to the roster by SOU men's basketball coach Brian McDermott on Friday.
At 6-foot-1, Miller was a two-year team captain and was named second-team all-state this season after leading the Challengers to an undefeated league season and a fourth-place finish at the Class 3A state tournament. He will continue a family tradition at SOU, as his father Brian spent three years on the Raider squad.
Also signing with the Raiders on Friday was Brennan Rakoz of Toledo, Wash. Rakoz averaged nearly 20 points per game and was named Washington 1A player of the year and 1A state tournament MVP. The 6-7 wing carries an ability to play multiple positions and is a capable shooter from beyond the 3-point line.
All five starters and 10 of the top 12 players return from the 2012-13 team that set a program record with 25 wins and advanced to the NAIA Division II Sweet Sixteen. NAIA All-Americans David Sturner and Eric Thompson highlight the list of returners.