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Ristvedt, Rohlfing make final ballot for Oregon Sports Awards

ASHLAND — Southern Oregon University volleyball star Taylor Ristvedt and coach Josh Rohlfing have been selected to the final ballot for the 68th annual Oregon Sports Awards, Sport Oregon and NBC Sports Northwest announced.

Ristvedt and Rohlfing were named on the initial ballot among five to seven others in their respective categories last week. Winners across all 21 prep and collegiate categories will be revealed live starting Monday on NBC Sports Northwest.

On the heels of an already fruitful 2019 season, Ristvedt is a finalist for the Ad Rutschman Small College Female Athlete of the Year with Linfield basketball player Kory Oleson and Warner Pacific cross country runner Amelia Pullen. Rohlfing is on the ballot alongside University of Oregon football coach Mario Cristobal, UO women’s basketball coach Kelly Graves and Western Oregon football coach Arne Ferguson for the Slats Gill Sportsperson of the Year Award, which recognizes excellence among coaches, administrators and executives across prep, collegiate and professional ranks.

This fall, Ristvedt was selected the Cascade Conference Player of the Year for the second straight season. The right-side hitter also became just the third first-team NAIA All-American in program history after leading the CCC at 3.7 kills per set and ranking 10th nationally with a .348 attacking average.

Ristvedt recorded 10-plus kills in 28 of her 35 matches — including 10 straight to end the season — and finished second on SOU’s all-time kills list with 1,375. She earned a spot on the NAIA Championships All-Tournament team after totaling 76 kills over four matches, posting 4.2 per set.

In his 13th season leading SOU, Rohlfing was named the CCC Coach of the Year for the fifth time and the NAIA West Region Coach of the Year for the second season in a row. He’s orchestrated back-to-back CCC regular-season and tournament championship campaigns, and the Raiders finished 9th in the NAIA Top 25 poll in 2019 a season after coming in at No. 8 — marking the two highest postseason rankings in team history.

The Raiders finished 2019 with a 31-5 record and a spot in the NAIA Round of 16. In total, Rohlfing’s teams have gone 293-99, giving him the fifth-highest career win percentage (.747) among active NAIA coaches.

College Softball

QUIRKE NAMED ACADEMIC ALL-DISTRICT: Lauren Quirke was among 11 softball players tapped for the NAIA Academic All-District 4 team Thursday by the College Sports Information Directors of America, making her Southern Oregon University’s sixth student-athlete to receive the honor during the 2019-20 academic calendar.

The annual team is designed to recognize the top student-athletes in the country for a combination of their academic and athletic accomplishments. Quirke, a senior NAIA All-American third baseman and pitcher, is a communications major with a cumulative 3.50 GPA.

A total of 46 Academic All-District softball players were named throughout the NAIA, each of whom will be eligible for Academic All-America consideration. Those teams will be announced in June.

When the Raiders’ season was cut short with a 23-3 record and the NAIA’s top ranking in March, Quirke carried a .488 batting average, ranked third nationally with 40 hits, and had a 3-2 pitching record with a 2.27 ERA. Her career average of .456 over 85 games is the best in Raider history among those who have spent at least two seasons with the team.

In 2019 she was named the NAIA World Series MVP and a second-team All-American, fueling the Raiders’ run to a national championship after transferring from College of San Mateo as a junior. She ended the season with a .444 average that included 18 doubles, 10 triples and five home runs, establishing a new SOU single-season record for extra-base hits.

Quirke also drove in 63 runs, the ninth-highest total in the NAIA, and scored 49. She went 7-1 as a pitcher and earned the decision in a victory that clinched SOU’s third consecutive World Series appearance.

Last month, she was named to the Academic All-Cascade Conference team.

The CoSIDA Academic All-District cross country/track and field teams will be announced in two weeks.

Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneSOU’s Taylor Ristvedt makes a hit for a point in the 2nd set.