BEAVERTON — Jessa Perkinson checked off another box and collected one last piece of hardware Wednesday night at the Oregon Sports Awards.
Perkinson, a Southern Oregon University graduate as of last weekend, received the Ad Rutschman Small College Female Athlete of the Year award in front of a regional television audience at the Nike World Headquarters. The award was voted on by various media members and sports professionals around the state, and presented inside the Stanford Theatre at the Tiger Woods Center.
“I have to give all the glory to God,” she said in her acceptance speech. “This all started with a gift that he blessed me with and I’m so thankful to have coaches and friends and family who came alongside me to get the most out of that. It’s just been wonderful.”
Perkinson wrapped up having compiled an unprecedented list of accomplishments at SOU, including 14 NAIA All-America performances and two national championships. She started her senior season by winning the Raiders’ first Cascade Collegiate Conference women’s cross country title and was selected the NAIA West Region XC Runner of the Year after placing second at the NAIA Championships. Her finish was the highest ever for an SOU runner at the women’s national meet.
The Roseburg native kicked off her final track season with third-place showings at the NAIA Indoor Championships in both the 3,000 meters and distance medley relay. During outdoor season, she recorded the NAIA’s fastest 5K in nine years (16:13.79) and the fastest 10K in five years (34:35.33) before going on to add CCC titles in the 1,500 and the 5K. At her last national meet, she was the 5K runner-up and took fourth place in the 10K.
Also a CoSIDA Academic All-American as a psychology major, Perkinson was named the CCC Women’s Athlete of the Year for all sports in 2016-17 – the Raiders’ first since 1999.
The other Small College Athlete of the Year finalists were also CCC representatives: Eastern Oregon women’s basketball player Maya Ah You Dias and Northwest Christian track and field thrower Bailey Dell.
SOU football quarterback Tanner Trosin, an All-American and the 2017 Frontier Conference Offensive Player of the Year, was a finalist for the Ad Rutschman male award. Western Oregon runner David Ribich won it.
Perkinson became the first SOU women’s student-athlete to win the award. The Raiders produced three previous men’s winners: Dusty McGrorty (2003), Mitchell Lofstedt (‘10, ‘12) and Austin Dodge (‘15).