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SOU tracksters head east for indoor championships

Southern Oregon's small group at the NAIA Indoor Track & Field Championships is capable of making a big splash this week as usual.

The Raider men's distance medley relay team will go for its third straight national title and Amelia Maguin will attempt to build on her All-American resume in the 400-meter dash. The meet runs today through Saturday at the SPIRE Institute in Geneva, Ohio.

The DMR semifinals are scheduled for 5 p.m. Pacific time today and the top eight teams will advance to Saturday's 12:50 p.m. final. Maguin will be in the women's 400-meter semifinals at 10:55 a.m. Friday, and those finals are set for 9:55 a.m. Saturday.

SOU's distance medley relay team easily had the top qualifying time of the 17 quartets that will be competing. In their only outing of the season, the Raiders clocked a 4,000-meter time of 10:01.72 (adjusted) on Feb. 13 at the University of Washington's Husky Classic. Oklahoma Baptist's 10:08.98 was the next-best time this season.

In 2014, the Raiders clocked a new NAIA record for the second time in as many years in the NAIA finals with a time of 9:47.60, beating runner-up Oklahoma City by nearly 10 seconds. The year before they won with a mark of 9:48.16.

Returning from both those teams are Zach Boyd-Helm and Kevin Jorgensen. Boyd-Helm gets the first 1,200 meters, JJ Latu (a return specialist on SOU's national championship football team) takes the 400 portion, Jorgensen runs the 800 and Jared Hixon finishes up with the final mile.

At the NAIA Outdoor Championships last year, Jorgensen was an All-American in the 800 and Hixon was an All-American in the 1,500.

Maguin has been the 400-meter hurdle runner-up at the NAIA Outdoor Championships the last two years, making her the 12th two-time All-American in SOU women's track and field history. On the indoor side, she just missed qualifying for the 400-meter dash finals last year with a time of 58.14 in the preliminaries. She qualified this season with a time of 57.49 on Feb. 14 at the Husky Classic.

Maguin has the No. 7 seed. Bianca Farrington of Wayland Baptist owns the top qualifying time, 54.99.

Men's Basketball

Eric Thompson and Tim Weber have made lasting marks on the Southern Oregon University men's basketball program during their senior seasons, and now they'll have the hardware to prove it.

Thompson and Weber, both fourth-year seniors from Roseburg, were selected to the 12-person All-Cascade Conference team, the league office announced Wednesday. They've also been voted by CoSIDA onto the Capital One Academic All-American team — an honor only eight other players across the NAIA share.

Raider junior forward Jordan West garnered honorable mention for the All-CCC team.

The Capital One Academic All-America program is designed to recognize the nation's best student-athletes for their combined performance athletically and in the classroom. Thompson and Weber both landed on the second team, making them SOU's first Academic All-Americans since Brad Coen earned the honor in 2005.

Of the 10 Academic All-Americans chosen, SOU's are the only ones currently in graduate programs. Both completed their undergrad work at SOU in three years. Thompson did so with a cumulative grade-point average of 3.57 and carries a 3.93 GPA as he pursues a master's degree in teaching. Weber sported a 3.71 as an undergrad and has a 3.89 in his master's elementary education program.

Thompson, the leading scorer in Raider history and a second-team NAIA All-American last year and honorable mention twice before that, is now SOU's first ever four-time All-CCC performer. The 6-foot-8 forward ranks third in the league in scoring (19.4 points), fourth in rebounding (7.5), 15th in field-goal percentage (51.5), fourth in 3-point percentage (45.5) and second in 3-pointers made per game (2.7). He's scored in double figures in 26 of 31 games, recorded nine double-doubles and reached the 20-point mark 19 times this season.

Weber, a 6-8 guard, needed to pick up the slack this season as the Raiders replaced three senior starters, and has done so to the tune of one of the most prolific seasons in SOU history. His four triple-doubles are the only ones in at least the last 20 years at SOU and lead the NAIA; no one else has more than one. He's also shattered SOU's single-season assists record (269) with a mark of 8.2 per game that leads the NAIA. Weber has recorded 10-plus assists 12 times while no one else in the CCC has done it more than once. He also ranks 20th in the CCC in scoring (12.3), 10th in rebounding (6.6) and 12th in field-goal percentage (52.3).

Forty-four percent of SOU's total baskets this season have been made or assisted by Weber, compared to 27 percent for College of Idaho point guard Josh Wilson, who was named the CCC Player of the Year.

Concordia's Tyler Velasquez and Warner Pacific's Michael Hall shared Defensive Player of the Year honors, Oregon Tech's Lavar Moore was the Newcomer of the Year, and WPC's Jared Valentine was the Coach of the Year.

WPC was the only team with three players on the All-CCC list. West, a 6-8 junior from Gymea Bay, Australia, was just short of getting on despite being the league's most consistent scorer. He's scored in double figures 23 straight games – the longest such streak in the conference – ranking 12th in points (14.6), fifth in field-goal percentage (57.5) and 19th in rebounds (5.7).