Raiders' Avila named CCC's top male athlete
ASHLAND — Eric Avila has been voted the Cascade Collegiate Conference Men's Athlete of the Year for all sports, the league office announced Wednesday. A week ago, the Southern Oregon University runner was named the CCC Men's Track and Field Athlete of the Year.
On the same day he received the latter award, Avila made history in San Diego by becoming the first runner at the Jim Ryun Festival of Miles since 1988 to run the mile in under four minutes. He won with a personal-best time of 3:56.89.
The 24-year-old won three NAIA championships this year — the first at the NAIA Cross Country Championships, the second as a part of SOU's distance medley relay team at the NAIA Indoor Championships, and the last in the 1,500-meter race at the NAIA Outdoor Championships. He was also the CCC cross country champ and the Athlete of the Meet at the CCC Track and Field Championships.
College of Idaho's Hillary Holt was named the CCC Women's Athlete of the Year.
Southern Oregon men's basketball coach Brian McDermott rounded out his latest recruiting class with the signings of two more graduating high school seniors and a junior college transfer.
After previously landing three standouts within the region who will be incoming freshmen in 2014-15, McDermott added two more for the Raiders in Jordan Blue of Jesuit High and Grant Lannin of Bend's Mountain View. Gary Melvin II, a product of Sacramento, will come to SOU from Yuba College (Calif.), where he played his first two seasons.
A breakout player during the summer before his senior season, Blue started five games at guard and scored a season-high 19 points for Jesuit in 2013-14 before suffering a season-ending wrist injury. The 6-foot-2 lefty is the son of David Blue, who played for the Raiders during the 1999-2000 season.
Lannin, a 6-4 forward, was the Intermountain Conference Player of the Year as a senior at Mountain View. He averaged 16 points, 8 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game in leading the Cougars to a 19-4 record.
The 6-5 Melvin, another forward who went to Jesuit High in Sacramento, played for Doug Cornelius as a freshman and sophomore at Yuba, which won the Bay Valley Conference with a 15-1 record last season. He played and guarded multiple positions as a starter and a reserve.