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Maas takes mentorship grant to Trials

ASHLAND — Eric Avila won't be alone in representing Southern Oregon University this Thursday through Sunday at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene. Raiders assistant track coach Shannon Maas has received an exclusive mentorship grant that will allow him to learn from one of the best in his field.

Maas was chosen for one of the six available Championship Mentor grants and will shadow sprints guru Darryl Woodson, who coaches Mike Rodgers among others, at Hayward Field. A former NAIA champion at Oklahoma Baptist, Rodgers owns the fifth-fastest 100-meter time in U.S. history (9.85 seconds). He competed at the 2012 Summer Olympics and has been a USA Track & Field indoor and outdoor champion.

"To be able to watch how the best in our sport practice and prep for the biggest meet of their careers is an experience I've only dreamed of," Maas said. "I'm extremely thankful to USATF, Darryl Woodson and his athletes for this opportunity. I'm really excited to be a part of this."

Maas came to SOU as Grier Gatlin's top assistant prior to the 2014-15 season, specializing in coaching sprints, hurdles, relays and horizontal jumps. Prior to joining the Raiders, he was the head track and field coach at College of the Siskiyous for seven years and guided 15 JUCO All-Americans, three state champions and four state runners-up.

This spring Maas oversaw the Raiders' record-breaking 4x100-meter men's relay team — made up entirely of freshmen and sophomores — which was SOU's first ever to make an NAIA final, finished fifth overall and set school and Cascade Conference Championships records with a time of 41.31 seconds.