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SOU duo, team to be honored

Former Southern Oregon University student-athletes Jacki Speer and Mitchell Lofstedt and the 2010 men's cross country team have all been named finalists for the Oregon Sports Awards.

The Oregon Sports Awards are slated for Sunday, January 30 at 7 p.m. and will be broadcast on Comcast Northwest. The event takes place at the Stanford Theatre at the Nike World Headquarters.

Speer, a women's basketball player, is a finalist for the Ad Rutschman Female Small College Athlete of the Year award, while Lofstedt, part of the SOU wrestling team, is a finalist for the Ad Rutschman Male Small College Athlete of the Year award. The Cross Country team is a finalist for the George Pasero Team of the Year honor.

Speer is a finalist along with Concordia golfer Lindsay Aho, Concordia soccer player Brittany Orr and Linfield softball players Staci Doucette and Karleigh Prestianni.

Speer was named to the NAIA's second team last winter, marking the third time in SOU history a player has been named All-American in multiple years (Melissa Bogh 1994-95, 95-96, 96-97 and Nada Janackovic 1997-98, 98-99). Speer was named third team All-American as a junior.

Lofstedt is a finalist along with Linfield baseball player Kelson Brown, Concordia track and field athlete Eric Burck, Linfield football player Eric Hedin and Oregon Tech basketball player Justin Parnell.

Lofstedt was named the NWCA/NAIA National Wrestler of the Year following his sophomore season last winter and is the first Raider to ever win the award.

Lofstedt wrapped up his record-setting season with a championship run at 125 pounds at the NAIA National Championships.

On the season, Lofstedt set a school record with a 43-6 season record and a school record with his 24 pins. To go along with the NAIA National Championship, Lofstedt also won the NAIA Regional Championship and was ranked No. 1 throughout the season.

The cross country team are finalists along with the Oregon football team, the Oregon Northwest Juniors 18 Air Max volleyball team and the ESUFC Liverpool soccer team.

In three years, the SOU men's cross country program went from unranked to national champions under new head coach Brent Ericksen.

The Raiders, ranked No. 1 in the NAIA Top 25 poll for the last six weeks, used their depth to defeat second place Wayland Baptist, 105-124. Three-time defending national champion Malone finished a ways back in third at 251.

The Raiders finished with three All-Americans, but more importantly had five individuals finish in the Top 43, while Wayland's top five individuals were scattered in the Top 115.

Senior David Laney wrapped up his impressive collegiate career with his second straight All-American honor and a fourth-place finish in a time 24:57. Only Kelly Jensen, who won the individual national championship in 1978, has turned in a better finish in school history.

Sophomore Zach Elliott continued his amazing postseason performance by finishing 13th in 25:18 to claim his first All-American title.

Junior Ryan Sorenson also finished with All-American honors with a 22nd place finish in 25:35.

For the second straight year, senior Dennis McCaffrey finished 33rd (25:49) and just missed All-American honors, while junior James Johnstone finished 43rd (25:58).

Other finishers for the Raiders included Ryan Ghelfi (47th, 26:02) and Josh Seitz (96th, 26:34).