The Southern Oregon Sports Commission will announce its 2016 male and female athletes of the year at its annual awards banquet Thursday at the Santo Community Center, 701 N. Columbus Ave. Doors open at 5 p.m., and the program starts at 5:30. Dick Fosbury, a Medford High graduate who won the high jump gold medal at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, will be the keynote speaker, and the Mail Tribune's Top 10 sports stories of 2016 will be recognized. Tickets are $30. They can be purchased at southernoregonsports.com, through Travel Medford at 541-608-8516 and at the door.
The Southern Oregon University point guard led the Raiders to the best season in school history, going 33-2 and advancing to the NAIA title game for the first time. She was a first-team All-American, averaging 17.8 points, shooting 43 percent on 3-pointers and 86 percent on free throws.
TRACK AND FIELD
Already a cross country state champion as a senior, the St. Mary’s distance runner finished her high school career with record-breaking victories in the 3,000 (9:53.89) and 1,500 meters (4:35.86) at the Class 3A state meet. The records in the two events had stood for a combined 59 years.
The Crater High junior captured the Class 5A state championship, in part because she shot the lowest round in history on the first day — a 5-under-par 67 at Quail Valley Golf Club. With a final-round 75 in difficult weather conditions, she was the lone player under par for the tournament.
She became Southern Oregon University’s first two-time women’s cross country All-American, placing third at nationals. It followed spring track, where she won the 10,000 meters at nationals, was a three-time All-American and, during the season, set school records in the 1,500, 5,000 and 10,000.
The South Medford High guard was first-team all-state, leading the Panthers to a 25-5 record. She was Southwest Conference player of the year for a second straight season, and finished her prep career with 42 points in the Mail Tribune All-Star Game, winning MVP honors for the third straight time.