RAIDER ROUNDUP: SOU runners debut with title sweep
ARCATA, Calif. — The Southern Oregon University men’s and women’s cross country teams made triumphant returns at Humboldt State (Calif.)’s Jim Hunt Invitational Saturday, both picking up team wins amid a downpour at Baywood Golf and Country Club.
The No. 18-ranked Raider women had four of the top-eight placers in the five-team field and totaled 35 points to second-place Humboldt State’s 49. Led by third-place Kayla Clayton, who completed the 6,000-meter course in 23 minutes 25.58 seconds, the Raiders had five individuals in front of No. 13-ranked Oregon Tech’s second finisher.
SOU’s men — ranked No. 15 in the NAIA preseason coaches’ poll — dominated with five placers among the top-eight in a four-team field that also included Oregon Tech, which entered with a No. 11 ranking. The Raiders had 35 points to HSU’s 49 and Oregon Tech’s 69, putting six runners ahead of the Owls’ second.
A strong group of returning runners for the Raiders — who opted out of the modified 2020-21 season and hadn’t raced since the 2019 NAIA Championships — set the pace. Kevin VanDyke was the runner-up on the 8K trek in 26:23.23, followed closely by third-place Isaac Fernandez (26:26.45), fourth-place Alex Harbert-Castro (26:27.58), sixth-place Zeke Stelzer (26:50.86) and eighth-place Jensen Salvatori (27:01.22).
Patrick Clayburn led a group of four Raider men making their freshman debuts in 11th place, clocking in at 27:27.93.
“The course was challenging enough on its own, but adding the absolute downpour for about 90 minutes didn’t help,” SOU coach Grier Gatlin said. “It was slow moving out there so the times weren’t spectacular, but both the men and women grouped up nicely one-through-five.”
Sydnee Kizziar, the top SOU finisher for a team that took ninth at the 2019 NAIA Championships, was the second finisher for the Raider women in 23:41.01 for fifth place overall. Seventh-place Lauren Forster (24:14.54), eighth-place Haylee Brodahl (24:21.93) and 12th-place Maya Smith (24:57.93) were next.
SOU 2, NORTHWEST 1: At Ashland, Alan Gaytan’s goal streak came to an end but the junior forward, who had tallied in four straight games, was pulled down while making a run into the box in the 76th minute and earned a penalty kick that Joao de Santos converted for the game-winner.
The Raiders went to 6-0 overall and 2-0 in the CCC, clawing by against an Eagles squad (4-3, 0-2) that played a man down for the final 40 minutes.
SOU dominated the scoresheet, generating advantages of 24-7 in shots and 11-1 in corner kicks, but had little to show for it until de Santos cashed in his second goal of the season.
Brayden Corwin scored on a chip shot over SOU keeper Liam Kalhagen three minutes into the match but Adrian Villegas scored an equalizer for SOU in the 12th minute.
NORTHWEST 1, SOU 0: At Ashland, Northwest (Wash.) all-star Callie Wright’s 20th career goal was the difference in a Cascade Conference victory at Raider Stadium.
Wright broke the deadlock in the 50th minute thanks to some pretty work from Claire Jo Diede, who started with the ball near midfield and split the defense before finding Wright. Wright took the pass just wide of the left post and snuck it inside the right on a couple bounces.
The Eagles improved to 2-4-1 overall and 1-1 in the CCC. The Raiders, who had shut out four of their first six opponents, fell to 3-3-1 and 1-1. NU keeper Kierstin Patefield stopped three shots by Baylee Touey, while SOU’s Jessie Selby made six saves.
BUSHNELL 3, SOU 0: At Eugene, Southern Oregon freshman hitter Hannah Stadstad’s 10 kills on 16 attacks were a bright spot on a night that didn’t have many for the Raiders in a 25-22, 25-13, 25-19 loss. The Beacons went to 9-2 overall and 5-2 in the CCC.
SOU also got eight kills from Shelby Young, seven kills from Simone Gordon and 11 digs from Kadyn Jones.