BROOKINGS, S.D. — The Southern Oregon University track and field team had a perfect Friday at the NAIA Indoor Championships, producing four All-Americans in as many events at the Sanford Jackrabbit Athletic Complex.
Two senior outdoor stars collected their first indoor All-America plaques as Zach Beltz placed fifth in the long jump and Joseph Dotson took sixth in the heptathlon. Running their preliminary races, Arianna Daniel was fifth in the women’s 400-meter race and Rhett Gonzalez was seventh in the men’s 60-meter hurdles to clinch top-eight spots.
Gonzalez will run his final at 10:55 a.m. Pacific Time this morning and Daniel will runs hers at 11:05 a.m. Beltz will be in a second discipline, the triple jump, at 11:30 a.m.
Beltz, a two-time outdoor All-American in the long jump, saved his best jump for last by clearing 23 feet 9 inches, nearly three inches better than his previous long of the day. He came into the meet as the No. 6 seed.
Dotson is now a four-time overall multi-event All-American after going from 11th place to sixth in the final three disciplines and finishing with 4,967 points. He was seeded 14th of 16 coming into the meet, having scored 4,590 in his only other outing of the winter. He made the jump thanks to three consecutive personal bests on Day 2: 8.78 seconds in the 60-meter hurdles, a mark of 14-9 in the pole vault that was the third-best in the field, and a time of 2:43.99 in the 1,000-meter finale that made him the runner-up.
According their seeds, Daniel and Gonzalez also overachieved to reach the finals.
Daniel came into the meet 10th with a season best of 57.91, but ran her 400 prelim in 56.31 for the No. 5 spot out of 21 entries. She’s now a five-time overall All-Americans, most recently finishing eighth in last spring’s outdoor 400 finals.
Gonzalez was the No. 11 seed in a field of 32 and clocked in at 8.18 seconds to tie for the No. 7 spot — edging a pair of ninth-place finishers by a tenth of a second. He was also the runner-up in his heat.
FISCGER, POPPEN BECOME ALL-AMERICANS ON DAY 1: At Des Moines, Iowa, Tanner Fischer and Devin Poppen, both seniors from Oregon City, put forth the 229th and 230th All-America efforts in Southern Oregon University men’s wrestling history during the first day of the NAIA Championships.
Fischer became a two-time All-American at 197 pounds and Poppen locked down his first top-eight finish at 141, helping the Raiders to 19th in the team standings with 17 points. Grand View (Iowa) is on its way to an eighth consecutive team title with 137 and an 80 -point cushion in front of second-place Life (Ga.).
Both Raiders had to win consolation matches after dropping their quarterfinals bouts and can finish as high as third place when the tournament resumes at 8 a.m. Pacific Time this morning.
SOU 125-pound junior Pancho Barrera also made the quarterfinals and 149-pound seniors Chandler Michael lost a pair of one-point decisions, stopped just short of advancing. Freshman Justin Coon (133) went two-and-out against the Nos. 7 and 8 seeds in the 133-pound bracket.
Fischer, the No. 10 seed at 197, eased past Missouri Valley’s Terry Martin, 10-4, in his first match. He then upset Southeastern (Fla.)’s seventh-seeded Luis Peguero with a 5-4 sudden victory to reach the quarterfinals, where he lost an 8-0 major decision to No. 2 Isaac Bartel, a Cascade Conference rival from Montana State-Northern. In his “blood round” match, he manhandled Campellsville (Ky.)’s David Richardson to the tune of a 7-0 decision.
Fischer will face ninth-seeded David Hamil of Brewton-Parker (Ga.) in his first match Saturday and attempt to outdo his seventh-place finish of 2017. He’ll bring a 27-10 record to the table.
Poppen, now 27-6, no longer has to worry about being the most accomplished Raider ever without an All-America tag. The four-time national qualifier — who sits at No. 5 on SOU’s all-time wins list and No. 2 in pins — made sure of that by edging TJ Baun of Providence (Mont.), 4-3, in his consolation match. Before that, he opened with his 19th pin of the season in 3:59 against Midland (Neb.)’s 12th-seeded Tristan Zamilpa, then lost 12-6 to No. 4 Gaige Torres of Indiana Tech in the quarterfinals.
Poppen will see unseeded Oklahoma Wesleyan freshman Dayton Marval in his next consolation match.
Michael, seeded third at 149, was denied a repeat All-America bid and finished his season with a 20-7 record. The four-time qualifier lost an 8-7 heartbreaker to Anthony Maia of Cumberland (Tenn.) in his first match. He stayed alive with a second-round pin of Ottawa (Ariz.)’s John Reina, but was eliminated by No. 6 Latrell Davis, 6-5, two wins short of advancing.
SANDOVAL HELPS RAIDERS TO SPLIT VS. EOU IN CCC OPENERS: At Ashland, third-ranked Southern Oregon’s Gabby Sandoval and Eastern Oregon’s Ashton Kazmierski stole the show in the circle and pitched their teams to a Cascade Conference-opening split with complete games at University Field.
All three runs against Sandoval were unearned in the opener, a 6-3 Raiders win in which she struck out seven and scattered three hits. Kazmierski was just as sharp in Game 2, a 5-1 Mountaineers win, with a six-hitter in her first victory of the season that ended a six-game EOU (2-10) skid.
Sandoval went to 7-1 with her seventh complete game for SOU (12-3 overall). Pitching with a 3-0 lead in the top of the fourth, a Raider error extended EOU’s inning and Hannah Rothwell cashed in with a two-run double before Madison Barr tied it with an RBI single.
SOU’s Hannah Shimek broke the tie in the bottom of the inning with a well-placed popup that fell in and scored Olivia Mackey. A pair of Mountaineer errors helped the Raiders tack on two more in a sixth inning rally that was capped by Paige Leeper’s RBI single.
Leeper, Mackey (2 runs) and Lauren Quirke (2 RBI, 1 run) had two hits apiece for SOU, while Barr accounted for two of EOU’s four hits.
The Mountaineers scored five runs against three Raider pitchers in the first four innings of Game 2. They benefited from eight free passes, as Rothwell drew a bases-loaded walk in the first and Ashley Kelley hit an RBI single in the third and later took a bases-loaded walk in EOU’s three-run fourth.
Shevan Defreitas, Haley Ebner and Rayne Spencer each had two hits. Ebner doubled and reached base four times with a pair of walks.
Olivia Mackey drove in SOU’s only run with a single in the fourth. The Raiders left seven runners on base, though the Mountaineers stranded 12.