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Raider relay squads make it to finals

PITTSBURG, Kan. — Two Southern Oregon University women's relay teams qualified for finals Thursday on Day 1 of the NAIA Indoor Championships, thereby clinching All-America status.

The Raiders' 4x400-meter team will be the first All-America quartet in SOU women's indoor or outdoor history in the event. Brooke Carson and Tara Crosswhite, both freshmen, gave way to sophomores Arianna Daniel and Savannah Greenwade to record the No. 6 preliminary time of 19 teams in 3 minutes, 53.65 seconds.

The distance medley relay squad of Kayle Blackmore (1,200 meters), Erika Soderstrom (400), Bree Weber (800) and Jessa Perkinson (mile) had the eighth-fastest time of 15 teams in 12:06.26. Coming off last year's second-place finish, the Raiders cleared the time of ninth-place Dordt (Iowa) by two seconds.

Both finals will be Saturday.

Loghan Sprauer was in the only other completed event for SOU, placing 15th of 16 in the women's pentathlon with 2,808 points. Joseph Dotson sits at 14th of 15 in the men's heptathlon with 2,411 points and four of seven disciplines down.

Wrestling

SOU TO NATIONALS: Southern Oregon's eight qualifiers for the 61st annual NAIA Wrestling Championships begin the two-day competition Friday in Des Moines, Iowa.

The 10th-ranked Raiders will be going for their 10th consecutive top-10 finish after taking fifth place a year ago, when they also entered the weekend at No. 10 in the polls.

The Raiders qualified eight individuals automatically at the CCC meet — matching the number of wrestlers they brought to the NAIA meet the last two years — but were not awarded any at-large berths. Four teams, including six-time defending champion Grand View (Iowa), will feature 11 or more individuals in the tournament.

Among the Raiders' entries, four have been to nationals before: Devin Poppen (141 pounds), Chandler Michael (149), Hunter Hodges (157) and Tanner Fischer (197).

Hodges and Fischer are returning All-Americans, while Poppen and Michael have both previously come up one win short of the top-eight honor.