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Irons earns All-American honors

ABBOTSFORD, B.C. - Nicole Irons became an All-American Thursday with a tie for sixth in the women's pole vault finals at the NAIA Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Rotary Stadium.

The Southern Oregon University senior posted a lifetime-best vault of 11 feet, 53/4 inches. Krystal Laughlin of Huston-Tillotson in Texas won the event at 12-51/2.

The top six performers in each event are awarded NAIA All-American status.

Southern Oregon junior Tiwana Merritt qualified for today's semifinals with the eighth-best time in the 400 meters. Merritt finished third in her heat with a mark of 57.58 seconds. The top qualifier is Sharline Maxwell of Briar Cliff College, Sioux City, Iowa with a time of 56.19.

Raider Laura Lincoln completed three of the seven events in the heptathlon Thursday. Lincoln finished sixth in the 200 (27.46), fourth in the 100 low hurdles (16.01) and 10th in the high jump (4-73/4). Lincoln has 1,921 points going into today's final four events.

The SOU women are tied for 15th after the first day with 21/2 points. Azusa Pacific, Calif. leads with 26.

Freshman Nick Dunn provided the Raiders their top highlight on the men's side. Dunn finished second in his heat and seventh overall in the 400 intermediate hurdle preliminaries. Dunn's time was 54.17. The former North Medford standout will compete in the semifinals today.