OKLAHOMA CITY — On Friday, Kal Holliday, Alejandra Rodriguez and Desiree Zavala established themselves as Women's College Wrestling Association All-Americans. On Saturday, they gave Southern Oregon a perfect end to its season by sweeping their placing matches at Abe Lemons Arena.
Led by that trio, the Raiders landed at 10th of 32 in the WCWA Championships team standings, outdoing both their pre-tournament ranking (12th) and their finish in the team's inaugural season last year (11th). Zavala placed third at 143 pounds, Holliday was fifth at 123 and Rodriguez took seventh at 130.
"The team did extremely well and had almost advanced seven wrestlers to All-America status but just came up short on a few matches (Friday)," SOU head coach Tony Champion said. "We're a very young and talented group and this year's tournament and overall season was another big step forward."
Zavala, a freshman and the fifth-ranked 143-pounder in the WCWA, was stopped in the semifinals Friday but dominated Saturday. She notched two technical falls — 11-0 against Menlo's Rachael Chinn in the consolation semis, and 11-0 against third-ranked Montana Drum of Missouri Baptist in the third-place match. Zavala finished the season with a record of 22-3 that included 11 technical falls and eight pins.
With the top-three finish, Zavala also qualified for a spot in the USA Olympic Team Trials, the date and location of which have yet to be announced.
Holliday started with a pin of Menlo's Bianca Arizpe with 13 seconds left in the second period to advance to the consolation semifinals, where she was defeated by King's top-ranked Hanna Grisewood by fall in 1:14. In the fifth-place match, however, Holliday upset second-ranked Tarkyia Mensah of Wayland Baptist — overcoming an early 5-0 deficit and rallying for a 7-5 decision.
She wrapped up at 14-8 on the year with 10 technical falls, three of which were recorded Friday, and topped her sixth-place finish of a year ago.
Rodriguez, ranked fourth at 130, capped her long road back with a first-round pin of Oklahoma City's Carla Ponce in 1:06 for seventh place. She started the day with a 6-4 loss to Simon Fraser's Ashley Osachuk after having to win three consolation matches Friday to stay alive due to her loss short of the quarterfinals.
She wound up SOU's season wins leader, going 24-5 with 12 pins and eight technical falls.
SOU 73, C OF I 56: At Caldwell, Idaho, fifth-ranked Southern Oregon hounded College of Idaho defensively and ended the Yotes' five-game win streak.
Raider forward Autumn Durand dominated with 25 points and nine rebounds and Casey Williams came through with a season-high 17 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the field and 3-of-4 from downtown.
But the game was decided on the defensive end, where the Raiders forced 29 turnovers and cornered the Yotes into 35-percent shooting.
SOU (23-3 overall, 16-2 Cascade Conference) remained in a first-place tie with Eastern Oregon, which was a 68-63 winner Saturday against Oregon Tech. The Raiders will come home with a chance to capture at least a share of their second straight CCC title, hosting Northwest Christian next Saturday and Corban on Sunday in the regular-season finales.
C OF I 87, SOU 70: At Caldwell, Idaho, 25th-ranked College of Idaho wore down Southern Oregon in the second half.
The Yotes (20-8 overall, 13-5 CCC), who maintained a perfect home record in conference play, clinched a top-four seed in the CCC tournament and, therefore, a quarterfinal home date with the win. Tied 44-44 with 15 minutes remaining, they made five straight shots to score 11 unanswered points, a rally capped by Dominique Jordan's 3-pointer.
They hit six of their eight 3-point attempts in the final 12 minutes to keep the distance, brushing the Raiders (17-11, 11-7) off after four Jordan Hunt free throws made it 67-60 at the eight-minute mark.
Kenny Meyer scored a team-high 13 points for the Raiders, who were without posts Tate Hoffman and Hunter Bradford after they sustained injuries Friday.
SOU WINS TWICE: At Redding, Calif., freshman Gabby Sandoval picked up two wins in relief as Southern Oregon defeated William Jessup for the second day in a row, 6-5, and knocked off sixth-ranked Simpson, 6-2.
Sandoval totaled 10 innings of three-hit, scoreless relief and improved to 4-0. She hasn't allowed a run in her last 23 1/3 innings.
Harlee Sandoval went 4-for-6 with two runs scored and two RBI on the day, Taylor Martinez was 3-for-5 with a double, and the Raiders had just one fielding error — they've committed three in six games — while bringing their record to 5-1.
Track and Field
EAST SIXTH: At Seattle, Southern Oregon sprinter Matt East ran the 60-meter dash in 6.92 seconds to finish sixth among 36 competitors at the Husky Classic inside Dempsey Indoor Facility.
East's time gave him a provisional qualifying mark for the NAIA Indoor Championships by one-hundredth of a second to go with his auto-qualifier time in the 200 meters. He ran the prelims in 6.97 seconds, while teammate Zac Hannan just missed advancing to the final with the 10th-best qualifying time, a 6.99. Jamarius McTear of the club Seattle Speed won the final in 6.70.
East's time is tied for 19th on the NAIA 60-meter list. His 200-meter mark of 22.09 currently ranks second.
Zach Beltz was the only other Raider in action, placing 11th of 26 in the long jump at 21 feet, 3 inches.