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SOU men picked first in CCC preseason poll

The Southern Oregon University men's cross country team was a unanimous favorite to win its ninth straight Cascade Conference title and the SOU women's team was picked to finish fourth as the CCC preseason coaches' polls were released Monday.

The Southern Oregon men picked up all nine first-place votes after rolling to its eighth straight league title last season. The Raiders are led by defending CCC individual champion Ray Schireman and Connor Cushman, who placed fourth in the 2015 conference meet. Also back for SOU are 2015 NAIA 5,000-meter national champion Dylan Alexander and Caleb Diaz, who finished 56th at nationals.

The Southern Oregon men's team dominated the CCC meet last season and was ranked No. 1 heading into the NAIA national meet, but saw its championship hopes fade when Schireman and All-American Jared Hixon became sick before the race and couldn't run.

College of Idaho was ranked second in the coaches' poll, and Eastern Oregon, Northwest Christian and Oregon Tech tied for third.

Northwest Christian was a unanimous favorite to claim the CCC women's title, followed by College of Idaho, Oregon Tech and Southern Oregon.

The SOU women's team returns six of the top seven runners from a team that placed fourth in the 2015 CCC meet and 14th in last season's NAIA championship meet. The Raiders are led by NAIA track and field 10K champion Jessa Perkinson, along with Aspen Abbott, Kayle Blackmore, Marisa D'Orfani, Margarita Lauer and Braana Weber.

The Southern Oregon men's and women's teams open their season Sept. 9 at the Ash Creek Invitational, hosted by Western Oregon University in Monmouth.

2016 MEN'S POLL

School   Pts

1. Southern Oregon (9) 81

2. College of Idaho 69

T3. Eastern Oregon 53

T3. Northwest Christian 53

T3. Oregon Tech 53

6. Corban 39

7. Northwest 29

8. Warner Pacific 16

9. Multnomah 12

* First-place votes in parenthesis.

2016 WOMEN'S POLL

School   Pts.

1. Northwest Christian (9) 81

2. College of Idaho 71

3. Oregon Tech 59

4. Southern Oregon 58

5. Corban 41

6. Northwest 39

7. Eastern Oregon 30

8. Warner Pacific 16

9. Multnomah 11

* First-place votes in parenthesis.