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Escobar leads SOU wrestler to title at regionals

FOREST GROVE -- Ryan Escobar might only be a redshirt freshman, but he set the tone for Southern Oregon University at the NAIA regional wrestling tournament Saturday at Pacific University.

Not only did Escobar win the 118-pound division, but he was selected outstanding wrestler.

He was one of three Raider champions as SOU won its third straight regional title with a workman-like effort against five other schools.

The Raiders totalled 171 points to 157 for runner-up Embry-Riddle. Central Washington was third at 146, followed by Simon Fraser with 143, Pacific Lutheran with 111 and host Pacific with 58.

All 12 Raider wrestlers at the tournament placed in the top six, with nine coming in fourth or better.

We've been training real hard, so some of our guys might have been a little tired, Southern Oregon coach Mike Ritchey said. All day we struggled a little bit. We weren't real crisp, but we don't shoot for this tournament, we shoot for nationals.

SOU has 14 wrestlers qualified for the NAIA national tournament March 5-7 at Primm, Nev., but can only take a full contingent of 12.

Escobar completed his impressive tournament with a fall over Tony Helgesen of Central Washington in 2 minutes, 35 seconds.

It was pretty awesome for a freshmen to win the district and get the outstanding wrestler, Ritchey said. He was being aggressive and wrestled to win.

SOU defending national champion Matt Paulsen (134) picked up his intensity in the tournament and registered a key win in the finals by knocking off Embry-Riddle wrestler Dave Knudsen, 13-6.

That was a big factor in the team points, said Ritchey. He's kind of had some ups and downs. He's never been a real good season wrestler but turns it on for tournaments.

Jamie Dixson (190) was the other Raider individual champion. The SOU senior defeated Luigi Bianco of Simon Fraser 7-5 in the finals.

He's been wrestling forever and it's the first tournament he ever won, said Ritchey.

The only Southern Oregon loss in the finals came when Matt Armstrong (158) got pinned by Dan Igali, the defending national champion from Simon Fraser.

It's always nice to win the regionals, said Ritchey. It gives you a good atmosphere heading into the nationals. It keeps the team cohesiveness going.

Raiders tennis team beaten by Albertson

CALDWELL, Idaho -- The Southern Oregon University women's tennis team suffered its second loss of the season, losing 6-3 to Albertson College on Saturday.

The Raiders (3-2) got singles victories from Katie Fankhanel and Mallika Miller and their lone doubles win from Fankhanel and Kristin Williams.

SINGLES -- Ione Sawao, ACI, def. Tori Waggoner 7-6 (7-3), 6-1; Katie Fankhanel, SOU, def. Erin Teagle 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (8-6); Libby Ames, ACI, def. Kristin Williams, ACI, 6-2, 6-1; Lauren Bernard, ACI, def. Wendy Halversen, 8-6; Molly McGourty, ACI, def. Amy Krueger, 8-4; Mallika Miller, SOU, def. Lindsay Stadley 8-6.

DOUBLES -- Sawao-Ames, ACI, def. Waggoner-Miller 8-1; Fankhanel-Williams, SOU, def. Teagle-Halversn 8-3; McGourty-Stadley, ACI, def. Barnard-Krueger 9-7.