Lofstedt earns top Oregon honor

BEAVERTON — Former Southern Oregon wrestler Mitchell Lofstedt walked away with the Ad Rutschman Male Small College Athlete of the Year award at Sunday's Oregon Sports Awards at the Nike World Headquarters.

The SOU National Championship men's cross country team was recognized for their title run and former basketball star Jacki Speer was a finalist for the Ad Rutschman Female Small College Athlete of the Year.

Lofstedt was a finalist along with Linfield baseball player Kelson Brown, Concordia track and field athlete Eric Burck, Linfield football player Eric Hedin and Oregon Tech basketball player Justin Parnell.

Lofstedt no longer wrestles. He is a musician who performs with a band in Portland.

"This a tremendous honor for a tremendous young man," SOU head wrestling coach Mike Ritchey said. "Mitch had a truly special season last year. From breaking his dad's pin record to winning the national championship and being named national wrestler of the year, Mitch was on a roll all season long and his season will go down as one of the best ever."

Lofstedt was named the NWCA/NAIA national wrestler of the year following his sophomore season last winter and is the first Raider to ever win the award.

Lofstedt wrapped up his record-setting season with a championship run at 125 pounds at the NAIA national championships.

On the season, Lofstedt set the school mark with a 43-6 season record and 24 pins. To go along with the NAIA national championship, Lofstedt won the NAIA regional championship and was top-ranked throughout the year.

Coach Chip Kelly and the Oregon Ducks, who earned a berth in the BCS championship game after going undefeated in the regular season, were among the other winners at the awards.

Kelly, in his second year as Oregon's coach, won the Slats Gill Sportsperson of the Year award, while the Ducks were among four recipients of the George Pasero Award for team of the year.

Among the other winners were Ndamukong Suh, a Portland native who plays for the Detroit Lions, and Mariel Zagunis, a two-time Olympic gold medal-winning fencer.

Oregon track standouts Ashton Eaton and Brianne Theisen were honored with the Bill Hayward award for amateur athlete of the year. Eaton broke the world indoor heptathlon record set by Dan O'Brien in 1993 before winning his third straight NCAA decathlon title last summer. Theisen won the NCAA heptathlon title.

Linfield softball player Staci Doucette won the other Ad Rutschman award for outstanding small-college athletes.

Annamarie Maag of Jesuit, winner of three straight state cross-country titles, won the Nike-Steve Prefontaine Award honoring the prep distance runner of the year.

Jefferson High school basketball player Terrence Jones and three-sport athlete Elizabeth Brenner of Jesuit won honors as top high school athletes from class 6a-5a. Sweet Home track and field star Dakotah Keyes and Santiam Christian basketball player Tayla Woods were honored as top 4a-1a athletes.

Other honorees included marathoner Eric Thompson, a Special Olympian from Medford, Tigard football coach Craig Ruecker and longtime Portland soccer benefactor Harry Merlo.

Along with the Ducks, the Eastside United FC-Liverpool soccer team and the Oregon NW Juniors 18 Air Max volleyball team also won George Pasero awards.

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