Raiders to bring 16 to nationals
Sixteen members of Southern Oregon University's men's and women's track and field teams have earned spots in 16 different events at the NAIA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, to be held May 22-24 in Gulf Shores, Ala.
Those numbers were finalized with the conclusion of conference tournaments across the country over the weekend, as the Raiders learned that three of their NAIA 'B' standard marks would be good enough to qualify.
Only 'B' marks that ranked in the top-16 on the NAIA performance list turned into qualifiers. Cary Dunagan's mark in the 3,000-meter steeplechase ranked 15th, Jonz Olander's was 16th in the 400 meters, and the men's 4x100-meter relay team of Kermit Knight, Robert Benamati, Cameron Bremner and Olander also had the 16th-best time.
The rest of the Raiders making the trip established automatic marks during the season.
For the men, who just won their second straight Cascade Conference title, Eric Avila qualified in the 800 meters, 1,500 meters and 5K. Kevin Jorgensen qualified in the 800 and 1,500, and the latter event will also include SOU's Zach Boyd-Helm and Jared Hixon. Markus Sanders qualified for the hammer and discus, Eric Ghelfi for the 10K and marathon, and Greg Garcia for the marathon.
Amelia Maguin will lead the Raider women in the 100- and 400-meter hurdles. She'll be joined by Rebecca Lupescu (5K), Stephanie Techler (pole vault) and Holly Haga (discus).
Nine Raiders earned All-American status at last year's NAIA Championships, including Avila, Boyd-Helm, Maguin and Olander.
Kim Fritts announced Monday she will not return as head coach of the Southern Oregon University softball team.
Fritts just wrapped up her eighth season in charge of the SOU program, leading the Raiders to a 15-23 record and their first Cascade Conference playoff berth since 2010.
"We are very thankful for the efforts made by Kim with our softball program over the past eight years," SOU Athletic Director Matt Sayre said. "Kim is a true professional and was a valued member of our athletic staff."
Fritts finished her time at SOU with a 127-158 overall mark and playoff berths in 2009, 2010 and 2014. The 2009 squad went 22-15 overall and 18-6 in conference play, finished second in the conference, and just missed a trip to the NAIA National Tournament.
She came to SOU prior to the 2007 season from the College of Charleston, where she served as an assistant.
A search for a replacement will start immediately.