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Raiders place eighth in Directors' Cup

ASHLAND — The top two NAIA Learfield Sports Directors' Cup finishes in Cascade Conference history now belong to Southern Oregon University after it was announced Tuesday that the Raider athletic department took eighth place in the 2015-16 standings.

The Directors' Cup, which was introduced to the NAIA in 1995 as a joint effort between the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics and USA Today, awards points based on an institution's finishes at the NAIA Championships in up to 12 sports. Ten of SOU's 12 NAIA-affiliated programs advanced to their respective national championships and contributed to a total of 591¼ points this season.

For the second year in a row, SOU also had the top finish among public universities in the standings.

Last year, the Raiders totaled 596½ points to place sixth in the standings and beat out the previous best finish for a Cascade Conference institution, which had been ninth place by Concordia (Ore.) on three different occasions. This year the CCC's next top finishers were 12th-place College of Idaho, 40th-place Northwest Christian and 41st-place Eastern Oregon.

The Frontier Conference (in which the SOU football team competes) was led by 11th-place Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) and 19th-place Carroll (Mont.).

Six of the top seven finishes in SOU history and each of the top three have come under director of athletics Matt Sayre, who took over in 2010 and was named the CCC Athletic Director of the Year for the second year in a row on Monday.

SOU came into the spring in sixth place in the standings and was only active in three of the NAIA's eight spring sports but got points from each of them — men's track and field (11th place), women's track and field (20th place) and softball (21st place).

In the winter, the Raiders got points from their second-place women's basketball team, 10th-place wrestling team and 17th-place men's basketball team.

And, in the fall, the football team placed second, the volleyball team was 13th, the women's cross country team was 14th and the men's cross country team was 23rd.

Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) was first in the standings with 852¾ points, followed by Oklahoma City (777) and Wayland Baptist (Texas) (750). SOU edged out ninth-place Marian (Ind.) by 1¼ points.