RAIDER ROUNDUP: SOU men finish 14th at national meet
VANCOUVER, Wash. — Isaac Fernandez became an All-American as the Southern Oregon men finished 14th and the Raider women took 18th on Friday at the NAIA Cross Country National Championships.
Fernandez capped an outstanding junior season by placing 38th in a field of 332 at the Fort Vancouver National Historic Championship Course to lead all Raiders. He recorded a time of 25 minutes 51.9 seconds on the 8,000-meter course. Six seconds behind him, senior Kevin VanDyke was just three spots outside of All-America status with a 43rd-place finish in 25:58.1
The Raider men totaled 354 points, leaving them 72 short of a top-10 spot. Milligan (Tenn.) handily won the team title with 115 points.
Milligan also won the women’s championship with 122 while SOU amassed 495 behind Kayla Clayton’s 49th-place finish in 19:08.3 on the 5K trek. The Raiders’ five scorers had a spread of just 1:04, which was better than 10 teams in front of them.
On the men’s side, senior Alex-Harbert Castro also had stellar afternoon in 70th place (26:27.4). The Raiders’ other two scorers were Jensen Salvatori in 105th (26:48.9) and Lincoln Woodhouse in 161st (27:15.8).
Fernandez continued his upward trajectory, which also resulted in All-Cascade Conference status two weeks ago. This was his first appearance at the national meet; he was a late scratch in 2019 after being SOU’s ninth finisher at the CCC Championships.
VanDyke’s showing represented a considerable improvement over 2019, when he placed 131st. The finish was his best in three appearances at the meet.
On the women’s side, Clayton came up big to pace the Raiders for the first time in a month. Sydnee Kizziar was their next scorer in 116th (19:44.4) and Alejandra Lopez was 14 seconds behind her in 154th (19:58.3).
Lauren Forster (173rd, 20:11.3) and Maya Smith (175th, 20:13.2) rounded out SOU’s scoring.
The Raider women came into the day ranked No. 13 and the men were No. 17.
MONTANA TECH 73, SOU 68: At Ashland, Keeley Bake converted a four-point play with 1:31 remaining, turning a three-point deficit into an eventual win for Montana Tech over Southern Oregon in the Flagship Inn Classic at Lithia Motors Pavilion.
Josh Meyer had 17 points and 11 rebounds for his first double-double and scored 13 with three 3-pointers in the second half for the Raiders (1-4). They faltered down the stretch though with just one field goal over the last five minutes: Tez Allen’s 3 that put them up 68-65.
Bake took the lead back for the Diggers (5-2) for the first time since the first half. Darius Collins solidified it with another 3-pointer a minute later.
The loss spoiled a career-high point total of 15 for redshirt-freshman forward Joe Juhala, who shot 6-of-7 from the field and made both of his attempts from downtown. He also pulled down five rebounds.
Allen collected a game-high 12 rebounds for the Raiders and added seven points and four assists. K’wan Carter had 10 points and three assists off the bench.