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Raiders put 3 in semis, sit in fifth at nationals

JAMESTOWN, N.D. — Showing minimal signs of rust, the Southern Oregon University women’s wrestling team pushed three individuals through to the semifinals and settled in at No. 5 in the team standings Friday at the NAIA National Invitational inside Newman Arena.

The Raiders, competing for the first time in a year, will have five of the 11 wrestlers who made the trip still in action when the second and final day of the event begins at 8 a.m. Pacific Time this morning. The championship rounds are scheduled for 5 p.m., and 101-pounder Esthela Trevino, 109-pounder Macie Stewart and 155-pounder Sienna Ramirez are each a win away from getting there.

In addition to the trio of semifinalist, Carol Johnson (116 pounds) and Glory Konecny (123) secured top-eight finishes by staying alive in the consolation brackets.

The top-six finishers in each bracket will earn NAIA All-America status, and the seventh- and eighth-place finishers will be considered honorable mention All-Americans.

SOU entered the tournament ranked No. 6 in the NAIA, but with 71 1/2 points is just seven behind third-place Oklahoma City. Campbellsville (Ky.) is running away with the team title with 126 1/2 points and seven through to the semis.

The Raiders were in ninth place through the first half of Friday’s competition before pulling off some major upsets.

Trevino — a junior transfer who last year won the 101-pound WCWA title for Umpqua C.C. — breezed through her two matches as the No. 4 seed, topping Indiana Tech’s Destiny Shelton by technical fall and pinning Kassidy Ramirez of Lyon (Ark.) in the quarterfinals. In the 109-pound bracket, however, Stewart had to knock off No. 7-seeded Katalina Bartelt of Life (Ga.) and No. 2-seeded Rayana Sahagun of Jamestown (N.D.). The junior, who last year finished at No. 9 in the NAIA rankings, pinned them both.

Ramirez, a senior and SOU’s all-time wins leader, capped off her perfect day by pinning Oklahoma City’s top-seeded Cierra Foster. Seeded No. 8, Ramirez started with a technical fall over Missouri Valley’s Lynn Rush and a win by fall over Providence (Mont.)’s Anastasia Hardin.

Johnson banked three consecutive bonus-point victories in the consolation bracket after dropping her 116-pound Round of 32 match. Konecny was knocked out of the championship bracket in the 123 Round of 16 and also recovered with three straight wins.

Nine of eleven Raiders in action contributed with victories.

No Raider has ever appeared in the championship round of a postseason tournament. In Saturday’s semifinals, Trevino will face her bracket’s top seed, Stewart will face the No. 3 seed, and Ramirez will face the No. 5 seed.

In consolation action, Johnson matches up next with the No. 2 seed and Konecny with the No. 6 seed in their respective brackets.

SOU TO MAINTAIN NO-SPECTATOR POLICY: Southern Oregon University will maintain a no-spectator policy for all home athletics events due to Jackson County’s status in the “high” risk level for COVID-19 transmission as designated by the state.

The state announced Tuesday that, due to a rise in cases from Feb. 21 to March 6, Jackson County would enter a two-week cautionary period and needs to bring case rates back down in order to avoid being elevated to the “extreme” risk level. Counties at the “high” level are only allowed 75 individuals at an outdoor venue and “extreme” are allowed 50, including teams, officials and gameday staff.

SOU could reevaluate its spectator policy if the county drops down to the “moderate” risk level.