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SOU relays, Stevens end strong at nationals

GULF SHORES, Ala. — The Southern Oregon University women’s track and field team had a little magic left as the NAIA Outdoor Championships concluded Friday at Mickey Miller Blackwell Stadium.

The Raiders collected three more All-America plaques on a day highlighted by their 4x100-meter relay team’s runner-up finish in the final. Abi Stevens logged her second top-eight finish of the meet, taking fifth in the high jump, and the 4x400 squad placed eighth in its final.

The Raider women completed their three-day stay with five All-America performances, the most in program history, and accumulated 18 points to land at 14th in the team standings.

The 4x100 team — comprising Aayzia Dumas, Camille Lawrence, Baylee Touey and Lindsey Bonney — accounted for eight of those points. They nearly matched the school record they established at the Cascade Conference Championships, hitting the finish line in 46.16 seconds to beat third-place British Columbia by one-hundredth of a second as Indiana Tech won in 45.55.

When SOU took fifth in the 4x100 last year, it had been the team’s top standing ever in the race.

The Raiders qualified for both the women’s 4x100 and 4x400 finals at the same meet for the first time. In the latter, Dumas, Lawrence and Touey joined anchor Erin Gibson to clock in at 3:51.09, a day after they broke the school record by almost four seconds in a 3:45.81 prelim run.

Including indoor nationals, SOU’s women’s relays have totaled eight All-America showings since 2017. Bonney and Touey both became three-time relay All-Americans.

Stevens — a freshman who ended up seventh in the heptathlon on Thursday — became SOU’s first women’s outdoor high jump All-American since 1989 and the third Raider in team history to go home with two non-relay All-America honors at the same outdoor meet, joining Melanie Byrne and Jessa Perkinson. She posted a mark of 5 feet, 7 inches, landing in a five-way tie for the second-highest clearance but dropping to fifth on tiebreaker criteria.

In March, Stevens was also among the top-eight in two events at the NAIA Indoor Championships, placing fourth in the pentathlon and sixth in the high jump.

After entering Thursday’s heptathlon in fourth place, Stevens wound up with 4,679 points — six more than her previous best and No. 3 on the Raiders’ all-time performance list — after running the 800-meter finale in 2 minutes, 26.49 seconds for 738 points.

Jenna Hodges finished 13th in the heptathlon with 4,257 points, 86 higher than her qualifying score. She finished strong, posting the fifth-best javelin throw, eighth-best long jump and ninth-best 800 time in the field.

Molly Guerra had been scheduled to throw the discus as the No. 4 seed on Friday but was a late scratch.

On the men’s side, two-time All-American Adam O’Brien placed 11th of 23 in the pole vault. He cleared 15-5.

Also on Thursday in the women’s 10K, another race rescheduled from Wednesday, Kayla Clayton placed 18th of 26 by clocking in at 38:32.69.