Southern Oregon captures first CCC All-Sports Trophy
For the first time in its 10-year existence, the Cascade Conference's 2015-16 All-Sports Trophy has been captured by Southern Oregon University, the league office announced Wednesday.
Points for the All-Sports Trophy standings are awarded based on a department's top eight finishes in CCC regular-season standings — except in the cases of cross country and track and field, which are scored based on finishes in the championship meets. SOU finished with 196.56 points, followed by second-place College of Idaho (185.18), third-place Eastern Oregon (177.24) and fourth-place Oregon Tech (173.27).
Last year the Raiders were second in the standings, which at that point was the department's highest ever finish. Concordia, which has transitioned to the NCAA Division II level's Great Northwest Athletic Conference, had won the CCC All-Sports Trophy eight of the previous nine years.
SOU claimed the top spot by taking first place in four sports: men's cross country for the eighth year in a row, men's track and field for the third time in four years, women's basketball (19-1) for the first time in eight years and softball (20-8, tied first with Oregon Tech) for the first time in 11 years.
The Raiders also got second-place finishes from the men's basketball (16-4) and volleyball (17-3) teams. They got their other points in women's cross country (fourth place) and women's soccer (7-4, fifth place).
Northwest Christian, which was sixth in the standings with 164.07 points, was the only other department with multiple titles (women's cross country and men's basketball) this season.
Needing to replenish its frontcourt and deepen the guard spots, the Southern Oregon University men's basketball team has signed six incoming freshmen to Cascade Conference letters of intent who should accomplish both, head coach Brian McDermott announced Wednesday.
Arriving in Ashland this fall will be the Raiders' first products of South Medford High in over a decade, forward Hunter Bradford and wing Conor Carroll; forward Tate Hoffman, who went head-to-head with the South Medford duo as his West Linn team won its fourth consecutive OSAA Class 6A title in March; wing/forward Jason Simmrin, joining the Raiders after a decorated prep career at San Marcos High (Calif.); crafty Australian guard Aaron Borich; and Jordan Hunt, a 6-foot-9 post who will become the first New Zealander to suit up for the Raiders.
The Raiders, coming off their fourth straight 20-plus-win season and third appearance at the NAIA tournament during that span, will come into the 2016-17 season needing to replace three starters: Australian all-stars Joel Spear (point guard) and Jordan West (forward), who left as the program's all-time leaders in wins, and Clay Sierra (forward), who completed one standout season at SOU while working on his master's degree.
SOU will return eight players from its 2015-16 roster (including three redshirts), but only four regular rotation players — starters Ben DeSaulnier and Kenny Meyer, and backups Justin Martin and Tristen Holmes. Just like last season, when freshmen and sophomores accounted for 42 percent of the Raiders' total minutes, underclassmen figure to be a prominent part of the equation again.
"We'll be asking freshmen to play a significant role and believe this is the unique class than can provide quality minutes early in their careers," McDermott said. "We've been graduating big guys for the last few years without replacing them, and this class doesn't contain as many true posts but has a great group of guys that provide the flexibility of playing all over the court. Every one of these players is very unselfish, which has become a bedrock principle in our program, and they can all stretch the floor and have good basketball IQs."