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Southern Oregon men claim fourth straight title

ASHLAND — Fourth-ranked Southern Oregon placed five runners among the top-12 as the Raiders earned their fourth consecutive Cascade Collegiate Conference men's cross country championship Saturday at Oak Knoll Golf Course.

Ryan Sorenson led Southern Oregon with a third-place overall finish in 25:28.02, with James Johnstone finishing in fifth with a time of 25:48.32. Brett Hornig (10th, 26:01.7), Eric Ghelfi (11th, 26:11.21) and Matt Battaglia (12th, 26:11.53) gave the Raiders five all-conference performers and a total score of 41 points.

College of Idaho's Greg Montgomery earned the individual title, finishing the 8,000-meter race with a time of 25:06.82 to beat second-place finisher Seth Bridges of Northwest by nearly eight seconds. Following the race, Montgomery was named CCC men's cross country athlete of the year and Southern Oregon head coach Grier Gatlin was named CCC men's cross country coach of the year.

Thirteenth-ranked Concordia took second place in the team standings with a final score of 73, followed by College of Idaho (79), Eastern Oregon (83), Corban (175), Oregon Tech (183), Warner Pacific (186), Northwest Christian (204), Northwest (207) and Evergreen (284).

The top 12 finishers earned All-CCC honors for the season. Montgomery highlighted the team, followed by Bridges, Sorenson, Concordia's Andrew Landstrom (fourth, 25:30.34), Johnstone, Concordia's Ben Foubert (sixth, 25:55.55), Eastern Oregon's Brian Bragg (seventh, 25:57.46), EOU's Isaac Updike (eighth, 25:58.35), College of Idaho's Andrew Hugill (ninth, 25:58.48), Hornig, Ghelfi and Battaglia.

By winning the conference title, Southern Oregon earns the conference's automatic berth in the NAIA Cross Country National Championships, which will take place at the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site in Vancouver, Wash., on Nov. 19.

In the women's race, SOU's Seena Frantz and Alexandra Rudd earned all-conference honors as the Raiders finished fifth in the CCC women's cross country championships.

Frantz placed ninth with a time of 18:50.12, with Rudd following two spots behind in 11th with a time of 19:00.78. As a team, the Raiders finished with 119 points to place behind No. 4 College of Idaho (51), No. 9 Concordia (61), No. 7 Northwest Christian (69) and Eastern Oregon (101).

Karlee Coffey claimed the individual title for the second year in a row and College of Idaho placed five runners in the top-17 to earn the team title. Coffey finished the 5,000-meter race in 18:10.71. College of Idaho's Hillary Holt finished second in 18:21.57, followed by a pair of Concordia runners, Gina Paletta (18:31.08) and Lauren Moran (18:33.84).

EMBRY-RIDDLE 28, SOU 16 — At Ashland, Embry-Riddle (Ariz.) won the first three matches and defeated No. 1-ranked Southern Oregon in all but three matches in the dual to pull off the upset at Bob Riehm Arena.

Southern Oregon returns to action today when the Raiders travel to Forest Grove, to compete in the Pacific Open.

Kyle Wirkuty, competing at 149 pounds, defeated Matt Hamilton 15-5 to earn the Raiders' first victory in the fourth match of the day. Fourth-ranked Austin Vanderford pinned Jonathan Castellow in 2:34 to win at 184, and No. 6 Bubba Owens pinned Garret Foster in 1:48 to earn the victory at heavyweight.

125 — Sean Silva, ER, pinned Tyler Lander, 2:41; 133 — Trace Gutknecht, ER, dec. Jordan Lowe, 7-4; 141 — Josh Chang, ER, pinned Trinity Castner, 2:57; 149 — Kyle Wirkuty, SOU, major dec. Matt Hamilton, 15-5; 157 — David Snook, ER, dec. Brock Crocker, 18-13.

165 — Luke Riley, ER, dec. Tucker Van Matre, 9-3; 174 — Jose Cruz, ER, dec. Tyler Thomas, 10-4; 184 — Austin Vanderford, SOU, pinned Jonathan Castellow, 2:34; 197 — Shawn Michalek, ER, major dec. Derek Rottenberg, 15-2; HWT — Bubba Owens, SOU, pinned Garrett Foster, 1:48.

NORTHWEST 2, SOU 1 — At Ashland, Northwest scored a pair of goals in the first 14 minutes as the third-seeded Eagles knocked off No. 2 seed Southern Oregon in the semifinals of the Cascade Collegiate Conference Tournament at University Field.

The Raiders fell to 11-7-1 while Northwest improved to 11-3-4 after defeating the Raiders for the second time in less than a week. The Eagles advance to next week's tournament championship match.

SOU 3, EASTERN OREGON 2 — At Ashland, No. 14 Southern Oregon pulled out its second consecutive five-set victory as the Raiders defeated Eastern Oregon 26-24, 25-27, 25-22, 23-25, 15-11 to clinch second place in the Cascade Collegiate Conference standings.

The Raiders closed out the regular season with a 19-4 record, 16-2 in conference play, and will face Eastern Oregon (17-10, 15-3) again in a CCC Tournament semifinal match Friday at College of Idaho.

SOU 71, SOUTHEASTERN 61 — At Lakeland, Fla., Southern Oregon closed out a 3-0 trip to Florida with a victory to improve to 5-0 overall as Krysten Copeland had 15 points and six rebounds.