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Raider football players honored

The 2003 Southern Oregon University football team's late-season surge helped the program garner a school-record four first-team NAIA All-American selections.

Seniors Steve Baker, Garret Gelker, Dusty McGrorty and Todd Wesolowski earned the top individual all-star honor while leading the 23rd-ranked Raiders on a season-ending four-game win streak that clinched the program's fifth consecutive winning year (5-4).

Baker, one of three Raiders to compete in the Blue Gray All-Star Classic on Dec. 25, finished as a two-time All-American after leading the NAIA with a 43.8 punting average - the school's best clip since 1965. The Bakersfield, Calif., native and former Arizona State record-setter, who was a second-team All-American in 2002, also paced the squad in kick scoring with three field goals and a 30-for-34 effort in point-after-touchdown attempts.

Gelker, a 6-1, 225-pound defensive end from Laramie, Wyo. and a transfer from the University of Montana, earned All-American status for the second consecutive year by racking up 41 season tackles, including 19 for losses, along with three forced and recovered fumbles. The two-time NAIA Scholar-Athlete recipient is also only the third SOU student-athlete ever to receive CoSIDA Academic All-America distinction based on a 3.65 gpa as a Health and Physical Education major.

McGrorty, a six-foot, 220-pound tailback who also competed in the 2003 Blue Gray game, capped his extraordinary career as a three-time All-American by rushing for 1,703 yards and 22 touchdowns in 2003. The Warrenton prep legend set 10 school and eight regional records and finished with 5,414 career yards (No. 4 all-time among NAIA players), 79 touchdowns (No. 2 all-time) and 474 points (No. 2 all-time).

The all-time national rushing touchdown leader (75) finished second in the NAIA for both rushing (189.1) and scoring (14.7) in 2003, and also earned first-team American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) and third-team Associated Press Little All-American status.

McGrorty is also a finalist for the Oregon Sports male collegiate athlete-of-the-year award, which will be announced Sun., Jan. 25 at the Nike headquarters in Beaverton.

Wesolowski, a 6-4, 250-pound left tackle from Las Vegas, is the school's first two-time

All-American offensive lineman. The four-year starter and 2002 second-team All-American pick helped the 2003 team finish ninth nationally for scoring offense (33.4 per game) and 10th for total offense (414.3).

As a team, the quartet helped Southern Oregon finish in the NAIA top-25 for the fifth time since 1997.