Perry leads SOU All-Americans parade

MARION, Ind. — The Southern Oregon track and field team opened the 2012 NAIA Outdoor National Championships Thursday with three All-Americans and a pair of school records.

Following the first day of competition, SOU is sixth in the men's team rankings with nine points, trailing co-leaders Wayland Baptist and Concordia (16 points), Hastings (11) and Valley City State and Azusa Pacific (10).

In the women's standings, the Raiders picked up three points to sit 21st heading into today's action.

"It was a great start for us, with a lot of good performances and several athletes advancing in the preliminary races," SOU head coach Grier Gatlin said. "Everyone seems to be primed going into Day 2, and we're all excited."

Max Perry began the day with a second-place showing in the men's hammer, earning All-American honors and eight points with a school-record throw of 194-8. Perry's throw broke his own school record of 190-7, set at last year's NAIA Championships, when he finished fourth to earn All-American recognition.

"It's great for a senior to go out like that, and he looked great," Gatlin said. "He has a lot of confidence going into the shot put on Saturday."

The Raiders finished with two more All-Americans in the men's and women's 10,000 meters.

Seena Frantz, from Ashland, finished sixth in the women's race with a time of 37:23.01, and Ryan Sorenson placed eighth in the men's race with a time of 31:38.69.

In preliminary events, Sullivan Stevens set a school record in the 110 hurdles. The sophomore finished sixth in 14.42 seconds to advance to today's semifinals.

Jonz Olander, of Grants Pass, hit a personal-best time in the 400, finishing 15th with a time of 47.88, and the men's 4x100 relay posted its best time of the year with a 13th-place finish in 41.73.

Matt Battaglia finished fourth in the men's 800 prelims in 1:53.54, while Eric Avila advanced in the 1,500 prelims with a seventh-place showing in 3:52.38.

Three of the Raiders' four runners in the men's steeplechase advanced to Saturday's final, as James Johnstone placed second (9:27.84), Scott McIntyre took seventh (9:29.26) and Dennis McCaffrey, of Ashland, placed eighth (9:32.98).

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