Olsen, Palmer, Jeffers pace Raiders at nationals

FRESNO, Calif. — Southern Oregon University seniors Jeff Olsen of Ashland and Trevor Palmer of Central Point finished their careers in high style Saturday, both earning All-American honors at the 2007 NAIA National Track and Field Championships.

Olsen earned the top finish for a Raider at this year's championship meet, placing third in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. Palmer placed sixth in the 1,500 en route to a new SOU school record in the event.

Junior Kevin Jeffers of Salem was the third Raider to claim All-American honors, placing sixth in the steeplechase, while senior Grant Brannaman took 13th in the pole vault.

Olsen cruised to a time of 9 minutes, 10.04 seconds in the steeplechase to earn his second All-American honor as a Raider. The time was the third-fastest in SOU history and only .33 seconds slower than Olsen's personal best and SOU's second-fastest time in history.

Jeffers finished in 9:15.81 to place sixth, while Virginia International's David Cheromei claimed the gold in the event in 9:8.90.

Palmer, who earned his fourth All-American honor Saturday, broke his own record of 3:50 set in 2005 by finishing the 1,500 in 3:49.33. Cornerstone's Derek Scott broke the tape in the race with a winning time of 3:45.50.

In the pole vault, Brannaman finished tied with Brett Stewart of Olivet Nazarene for 13th place, clearing 14 feet, 11 inches. Mark Horens, also of Olivet Nazarene, won by clearing 17-5.75.

The Raider men finished with 16 team points, good for 20th, while the SOU women scored one point thanks to Emily Dunn's eighth-place finish in the 100 on Friday.

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