Raider men leave Alabama All-Americans
GULF SHORES, Alabama — Southern Oregon University brought 10 men's team members to the NAIA Outdoor Championships and every one of them will come home an All-American after Saturday's conclusion of the 66th annual meet at Blackwell Stadium.
The Raiders scored in four more events on Day 3 — Matt Eastwas fifth in the 100-meter final, Kevin Poteracke was seventh in the 3K steeplechase, the 4x100 relay team took fourth and the 4x400 team was seventh — to finish with 29 points and tied for seventh place in the team standings. Based on pre-meet seedings, they were predicted to score 18.
In the end, SOU's point total matched the third-highest in team history and its place in the standings was the best since 2012. The Raiders produced seven top-eight performances for just the third time.
British Columbia won the team title for the first time, scoring 71 points.
East's showing in the 100 was the best in Raider history, as he clocked in at 10.43 seconds — one-hundredth of a second off the school and conference-record time he recorded a month ago. He came into the meet as the No. 9 seed. SOU's only previous All-American in the race — and the last to do it out of the Cascade Conference — was Antwun Baker, who was sixth in 2009.
As part of both relay teams, East was also the first Raider to earn three All-America plaques from the same meet.
Dwight Shaw, Jeremiah Emershy and Cameron Bremnerteamed with him in the 4x100, and they broke their own school record (40.96) by finishing in 40.77 for fourth place. Bremner was the only one back from last year's team that put SOU in the final for the first time and also placed fourth.
The only previous time the Raiders advanced to the 4x400 final was in a fifth-place finish in 2005. This year's team — consisting of East, Bremner, Gary Fanelli and Cedric Quartey — placed ninth overall and sixth in its heat during the trials but was admitted to the final anyway after three other teams were disqualified late Friday night. Head coach Grier Gatlin believed they were in position for a top-four finish Saturday, but an opponent appeared to knock the baton out of Fanelli's hand on the second lap. Gatlin's protest was denie , and the seventh-place finish was on a time of 3:24.37, more than eight seconds slower than their best this season. Prior to Saturday, their time had improved in six straight meets.
Poteracke kicked off the day's running events with the steeple and placed seventh in 9:28.12 after taking eighth last year. He became SOU's second two-time All-American in the event, James Johnstone (2011-12) being the other.
Zach Beltz was the only other Raider in action, placing 23rd in the triple jump with a best of 43 feet 5 inches. He was coming off a school-record display in Friday's long jump, where he placed fourth with a mark of 24-10.