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Raiders start strong at nationals

GULF SHORES, Ala. — Everything broke Southern Oregon’s way on Day 1 of the NAIA Outdoor Track and Field Championships before it ended early due to thunderstorms on Wednesday at Mickey Miller Blackwell Stadium.

KiAshe Hobby placed sixth in the women’s hammer and Andrew Mitchell took eighth in the men’s javelin to attain All-America status. The Raider women’s 4x100-meter relay team clinched a top-eight finish by qualifying for Saturday’s final, and Abi Stevens settled into fourth place through four of seven events in the women’s heptathlon.

The SOU women’s 4x800 team and 10,000-meter runners Haylee Brodahl and Kayla Clayton were also on Wednesday’s schedule before the storm muddied it up. Both races were rescheduled for today — the relay prelims 9 a.m. Pacific Time and the 10K at 7:30 p.m.

Hobby, in the meet for the third time as a senior, became SOU’s first-ever women’s hammer All-American. She threw 170 feet, 7 inches in the finals, her best mark of the season by nearly two feet. The Sacramento product and SOU record-holder had placed 10th and 21st in her two previous appearances, and she entered this one as the No. 13 seed.

Mitchell threw true to his No. 8 seed for SOU’s first top-eight showing in the men’s javelin since 2003. The sophomore’s top mark of 196-3 came on his first attempt of the day — easily surpassing his second-best of 179-5 — and was 2-3 better than the ninth-place finisher.

In the women’s 4x100 prelims, the team of Aayzia Dumas, Camille Lawrence, Baylee Touey and Lindsey Bonney clocked in at 46.76 seconds. They were second in their heat behind British Columbia’s 46.24 but had the seventh-fastest time overall in the 39-team field and earned the last qualifying bid. They’ll race the finals at 12:40 p.m. Friday.

Stevens scored 2,949 points in her first four heptathlon disciplines, tying for the top high-jump mark (5-7) and recording season-bests in the 100-meter hurdles (15.01) and shot put (31-1 1/4). She’s 224 points back of first-place Lauren Tamayo from Hastings (Neb.) but just nine behind third-place Henriette Halwas of Lindsey Wilson (Ky.). SOU’s Jenna Hodges stands in 15th place with 2,456 points.