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MailTribune.com
  • Raider relay team repeats at indoor nationals

  • GENEVA, Ohio — The Southern Oregon University men's distance medley relay team really only had its own national record to race against by the end of its run Saturday at the NAIA Indooor Track & Field Championships.
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  • GENEVA, Ohio — The Southern Oregon University men's distance medley relay team really only had its own national record to race against by the end of its run Saturday at the NAIA Indooor Track & Field Championships.
    Winning back-to-back titles wasn't a problem. The Raiders were nearly a full 10 seconds better than their competition in the final at the SPIRE Institute, making Zach Boyd-Helm, Jonz Olander, Kevin Jorgensen and Eric Avila runaway champions again.
    And although there was some doubt early, a roaring finish helped them set another new NAIA standard as they tackled 4,000 combined meters in 9:47.60 — bumping their mark of 9:48.16 set on the same track a year earlier.
    They didn't do it without encountering a scare. According to head coach Grier Gatlin, Boyd-Helm was tripped up just before completing his 1,200-meter portion and handing off to Olander for 400.
    "We had a moment with our hearts in our throats but (Boyd-Helm) stayed upright and Olander gave us a big gap on the other teams," Gatlin said. "Jorgensen [for 800 meters] and Avila [for 1,600] widened it even further. It was really great to watch."
    Oklahoma City came in second in 9:57.49, and Concordia (Ore.) was third in 9:57.90. The former had the best time in Thursday's preliminaries, 9:58.81, but the Raiders improved on their time by about 12 seconds and no one else got better by more than three seconds.
    SOU's mark is the 36th-best that's been recorded at any collegiate level this year. Every time ahead of the Raiders' belongs to an NCAA Division I school.
    The win gave the Raiders all 10 of their points in the team standings and made them 24th out of 47 schools. Indiana Tech won the men's title and Oklahoma Baptist won the women's. Two Cascade Conference schools — Concordia (men's) and College of Idaho (women's) — placed third.
    Women's Softball
    SIMPSON 2-8, SOUTHERN OREGON 0-3 — At Ashland, by its 23rd inning against Simpson this week, the Southern Oregon University softball team was able to pin a run on the Redhawks but couldn't salvage a win Saturday at University Field.
    The Redhawks claimed both ends of the nonleague doubleheader to sweep four games from the Raiders since Tuesday. They improved to 16-3 behind Carlye Avey's Game 1 shutout, which was Simpson's third straight against SOU. Simpson had 11 hits in the nightcap in support of Paris Hallums' complete game.
    SOU's offensive drought mercifully came to an end in the fourth inning of the nightcap, when consecutive doubles by Sierra Anderson, Julia Willison and Sulie Augustine netted two runs. Willison also led off the sixth with a single and scored the Raiders' final run, and Augustine went 3-for-3.
    The Raiders (1-7) could have used that production in the first game, when Brianne Craig worked around eight hits and four walks to throw her first career complete game. Craig worked out of bases-loaded jams in the third and sixth innings but allowed the only run Simpson needed in the second when Cherie DeJesus tripled and Shayley Madruga doubled her home.
    Avey made that and a fifth-inning insurance run stand. She allowed six hits, struck out three and walked one.
    The Redhawks put Hallums in cruise control early, scoring twice in the first and twice in the second, though three of those runs were unearned. After SOU's string of doubles cut into the lead, the Raiders brought the go-ahead run to the plate with two outs in the fifth inning. However, Hallums got out of trouble and Chelsea Dunn's three-run triple busted the game open the following frame.
    Hallums struck out eight, walked two and allowed seven hits in as many innings. Sydney White took the loss.
    The Raiders, whose three opponents thus far have a combined record of 52-7, begin Cascade Conference play at home next Friday against Northwest Christian, the first of five straight home doubleheaders to start CCC play. First pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m.
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