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SOU's Oberriter, Galli earn All-American status on opening day of nationals

GULF SHORES, Alabama — Seniors Noah Oberriter and Joanna Galli gave the Southern Oregon men’s and women’s track and field teams one All-American apiece Thursday on a promising Day 1 of the NAIA Outdoor Championships at Mickey Miller Blackwell Stadium.

Galli placed fifth in the pole vault, clearing 11 feet 11 inches, and Oberriter finished seventh in the 10,000 meters with a time of 31 minutes 53.36 seconds.

Two more Raiders put themselves on the cusp of similar outcomes: Senior Ryan Alexander kept his top-eight hopes alive by claiming the 12th and final qualifying spot in the 1,500 trials, and junior Loghan Sprauer settled into eighth place through four of seven events in the heptathlon.

Galli, who came into the meet as the No. 11 seed, is a Grants Pass product who formerly competed for and will graduate from Linfield, but was deemed eligible to pole vault with the Raiders while accumulating credits in Ashland this spring. She matched the season-best height she recorded while winning a Cascade Conference title two weeks ago, and took a tiebreaker over Eastern Oregon’s Payton Jolley by clearing it on her first attempt.

Westmont’s Dana Nemitz won the pole vault at 12-5 . Galli became SOU’s first All-American in the event in five years.

The Raider men now have five All-Americans in the 10K, all since 2012. Oberriter captured his accolades handily with a 16-second gap between him and ninth place. Including cross country he’s now a three-time All-American and will go for more in the 5K, trials for which are set for today. His teammate, Ben Harter, dropped out of the 10K a little more than midway through in hopes of conserving energy for the same 5K race.

Sprauer amassed 2,830 points in the heptathlon and is just 60 outside of the top-five with the long jump, javelin and 800 still to come today. She excelled on foot, clocking the field’s second-best 200 time (25.76) for 818 points and its fifth-best 100-meter hurdles time (14.91) for 854.

Alexander was 12th of 16 overall in the 1,500 trials and sixth in his heat with a time of 4:00.83. With approximately 150 meters to go, he was bumped by another runner and nearly fell to the ground - a sequence that would have been worthy of a formal protest had he not recovered and ultimately cleared the final qualifying spot by 4.3 seconds. His final will be held Saturday.

In the women’s 3K steeplechase trials, Jenna Storms placed 16th (11:31.30) and Bree Weber 20th (11:42.94), missing the 14-person qualifier cutoff. And in the women’s 4x100 relay trials, the Raiders placed 13th in 47.74 in their attempt to advance to a third consecutive final. The final qualifier came in at 47.32.

Freshman KiAshe Hobby placed 21st in the women’s hammer with a mark of 153-3 and Dylan Knostman was 22nd in the men’s javelin at 180-9. Both were in the neighborhood of their entry seeds.