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SOU softball No. 3 in final coaches' poll

ASHLAND – After coming within one win of a spot in the national final, the Southern Oregon University softball team was No. 3 in the final NAIA Top 25 coaches’ poll for the highest ranking in team history.

The Raiders finished with a school-record win total at 51-15 after winning Cascade Conference regular-season and tournament titles, the NAIA Opening Round Southern Oregon bracket, and four consecutive elimination games at the NAIA World Series. They were also No. 3 in the preseason poll and were No. 8 at the end of the regular season.

It’s the fifth time the Raiders have ever been included in the final poll. Last year, when they finished No. 6, marked the first time since 2005.

University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma claimed the top spot for the first time after winning the national championship with a 57-5 record. Columbia (Mo.), the team that knocked out SOU in the middle of the night to advance to the final, was No. 2.

The Cascade Conference was also represented by No. 13 Oregon Tech and No. 20 Corban in the poll.

On Thursday morning, the NAIA also announced that the 2019 and ‘20 World Series will be held in Springfield, Mo., at Missouri State University’s Killian Sports Complex.

Academic All-America

For the second consecutive season, Kelsey Randall was named to the Google Cloud Academic All-America softball second team Thursday to make more history on her way out of Southern Oregon University.

Randall, a senior from Concord, Calif., is the second individual at SOU to hit a CoSIDA Academic All-America team two years in a row, joining Trevor Palmer, who made the track/cross country third teams in 2006 and ‘07. Last year, she became the first Raider softball player to garner the honor.

Voted on by the College Sports Information Directors of America, the program is designed to recognize student-athletes for their combined performances athletically and in the classroom. Covering the NAIA, Canadian and two-year institutions, one must have a cumulative grade-point average of 3.3 to be eligible for the honor.

A total of 23 individuals were selected — 11 to the first team, 12 to the second — and Randall’s name was one of just three that also appeared in 2017. She was the Cascade Conference’s lone representative.

On track to graduate next week, Randall is a business major with a 3.69 GPA. She starred all four years at SOU on both the softball and women’s soccer teams and will depart as one of the most accomplished student-athletes the school has ever produced.

For the Raider softball team, Randall started at shortstop and batted leadoff in all 239 games since her arrival. On the NAIA’s all-time career list, she finished No. 1 in triples (31), No. 5 in hits (335), No. 6 in stolen bases (154), No. 7 in runs scored (235) and broke Cascade Conference records in all four categories as a career .402 hitter. This year, she batted .368 and was the national leader in triples (12) and runs (73) while ranking second in stolen bases (55) and third in walks (40).

Randall was a four-time selection to the All-CCC first team and won four CCC Gold Glove awards. Last week, she earned NAIA All-America honorable mention; she received honorable mention as a junior and was second-team All-America as a freshman.

Randall was also a four-year starter for the Raider women’s soccer team as a midfielder/forward. This fall, she was an All-CCC first-team performer and was selected to the CoSIDA Academic All-District IV women’s soccer team.

Director’s Cup

The Southern Oregon University athletic department’s performance was once again among the best in the NAIA in 2017-18, landing at No. 13 in the final Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup standings that were released Thursday by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics.

SOU led all Cascade and Frontier Conference schools in the standings and was also the top-performing public school in the NAIA.

The Directors’ Cup, which debuted in the NAIA in 1995-96, awards points based on an institution’s finish at the NAIA Championships in up to 13 sports. The Raiders totaled 609 points — 248 in the fall, 176 in the winter and 185 in the spring — to exceed last year’s total of 527¾ points, which landed an identical 13th-place finish.

Each of SOU’s top-four finishes have occurred in the last four years; the Raiders were sixth in 2014-15, which still stands as a Cascade Conference record, and eighth in 2015-16.

In the spring, SOU got 86.5 points from its third-place softball team, 51 points from its 22nd-place women’s track and field team and 47.5 points from its 25th-place men’s track and field team. The other points during the year were accounted for by football (83, tied-3rd), men’s cross country (80, 4th), women’s basketball (53, tied-9th), women’s indoor track and field (64.5, 12th), women’s cross country (60, 15th), men’s wrestling (58.5, 16th), and men’s soccer (25, tied-17th).

Oklahoma City University won the Cup with 847 ¾ points, and Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) was second with 846. The next-highest placing CCC team was College of Idaho in 16th place (543 ½), while Carroll was the top Frontier team in 37th (344).

This year, SOU also captured its third consecutive Cascade Conference All-Sports Trophy.

Wrestling

The Southern Oregon University men’s and women’s wrestling teams will host the school’s annual outdoor dual today in front of Lithia Motors Pavilion.

The intra-squad scrimmage is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m.

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