GULF SHORES, Ala. — Juniors Joseph Dotson and Zach Beltz continued to make Southern Oregon University track and field history during the second day of the NAIA outdoor championships on Saturday at Mickey Miller Blackwell Stadium.
Dotson jumped from 11th place after the first day of the decathlon to fourth place by its finish to become the first three-time All-America decathlete the Raiders have ever produced.
And Beltz, after garnering SOU’s first-ever All-America honors in the men’s long jump a year ago, did it again by capturing sixth place.
The Raiders will be represented in six finals during today’s final events after two more got through the prelims Friday: Arianna Daniel in the women’s 400 meters, and Noah Oberriter in the men’s 5K.
They’ll be joined by Beltz in the triple jump, Jessa Perkinson in the women’s 5K, Kevin Poteracke in the men’s steeplechase, and the women’s 4x100 relay team.
With 6,636 points, Dotson was in the middle of a packed bunch. He was just 40 points off the score of runner-up Calvin Korver from Northwestern (Iowa), and edged rival and former Rogue River star Seth Gretz of Oregon Tech, the Cascade Conference champion, by 11 points.
Dotson scored 783 in the final discipline, going 4:24.26 in the 1,500, compared to Gretz’s 643, and also jumped Westmont’s Anthony Cota in the race.
Dotson, a product of Florence, previously took second in the decathlon as a sophomore and fifth as a freshman.
Beltz was the fourth-place finisher in the long jump a year ago but entered this meet as the No. 10 seed. His best jump was 23 feet 6 inches, which matched the fifth-place finisher, but he dropped in the tiebreaker. In today’s triple jump, he’ll be the No. 20 seed.
Daniel will be the third 400-meter All-American in SOU women’s history after taking the seventh of eight qualifying spots with a time of 56.29 seconds, which was good for second in her heat. Oberriter grabbed the 16th and final qualifying spot in the men’s 5K by clocking in at 15:27.25 - seven-tenths of a second ahead of the 17th finisher.
Rey Vega’s time of 10.74 was good for 17th of 32 in the men’s 100 trials, and SOU’s 4x400 team of Daniel, Tara Crosswhite, Savannah Greenwade and Loghan Sprauer ran its qualifier in 3:49.54 but missed the cut in 10th place.
Sprauer also finished 15th of 16 in the heptathlon with 3,452 points.