SOU gets another Lofstedt; 14 recruits join soccer team

One of the top prep wrestling recruits in the state of Oregon has decided to continue a strong family lineage at Southern Oregon University.

Roseburg's Mitchell Lofstedt, whose brother Trevor will be a senior next season and whose father Brent was a two-time national champion with the Raiders in the early 80s, signed a letter of intent with SOU on Tuesday.

"It gives us a lot of validity as far as an athlete of that caliber signing with us," SOU coach Mike Ritchie said. "Statistically, I'd have to say he's the highest-ranked kid we've ever signed."

Lofstedt, a 119-pounder in his senior season at Roseburg, won his final 92 matches including three consecutive state titles. He is ranked No. 4 by Wrestling International Newsmagazine and turned down a handful of Division I offers, including from Oregon State.

Lofstedt said he appreciated the notion that he could experience life away from wrestling more easily at an NAIA school.

"It took a lot of consideration what would be in my best interest but Southern Oregon is the one that stood out the most," Lofstedt said. "I'm not going to sell my soul to wrestling."

Trevor Lofstedt helped the Raiders finish 11th at nationals last season with a fifth-place finish at 133 pounds. He said his role in Mitchell's recruitment process was strictly an advisory one.

"I didn't want to push him, but I knew SOU would be a better fit," Trevor Lofstedt said. "In Division I, you have to devote a lot more of your time. The coaches kind of take your second life away."

Mitchell Lofstedt will wrestle at 125 next season. The Raiders had to forfeit that weight from late December until the end of the season after moving his brother up to 133.

"He's good in all three areas," Ritchie said of the younger Lofstedt. "He's not outstanding on his feet, but he's hard to take down and he's obviously dominant on top with all the pins he's had. And he can still get off the bottom. That makes a guy pretty tough to beat."

Women's Soccer

The Southern Oregon University women's soccer team signed 14 players, among those being 2007 South Medford graduate Chelsie O'Neill, in the 2008 recruiting class, head coach Jon Clement announced Tuesday.

O'Neill, a midfielder/forward, spent her freshman season at Western Oregon University but enrolled at SOU during winter term.

"We're thrilled to add Chelsie to our team this year," Clement said in a release. "She has pace, technical speed, competitiveness and high-level experience &

all factors that will help her excel in a Raider uniform."

O'Neill was an honorable mention All-Southwest Conference performer in 2006 for the Panthers and was second team All-Southern Oregon Conference in 2003 as a freshman. She played in 16 games, starting five and scoring one goal, for WOU in 2007.

"Western wasn't really the place for me," O'Neill said. "I wanted to be closer to home. It's a good group of girls here. I'm really excited."

Other signees included: Denise Powell (Grants Pass), Jessica Kuehlwein (Oregon City), Kristen Delsigne (Torrance, Calif.), Sarah Pierce (Graham, Wash.), Kelly Cates (Poulsbo, Wash.), Katie Griffith (Mt. Vernon, Wash.), Shelby Brown (Buckley, Wash.), Stefani Vert (Burien, Wash.), Lily Granston (Kirkland, Wash.), Briana D'Aguiar (Auburn, Wash.), Stacy Hamer (Spokane, Wash.), Maggie Converse (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and Chenin Young (Upland, Calif.).

The Raiders finished with a 7-8-3 overall record and a 3-5-2 Cascade Collegiate Conference record last season.

Cross Country

Southern Oregon University cross country coach Marnie Binney has resigned, effected June 1.

Binney, who is also the distance coach for the track and field program, oversaw cross country for two seasons.

Under her guidance, SOU sent five runners to the national championships. Her men's team was ranked as high as 11th nationally last fall.

In her third year with the track program under head coach Mike Jones, Binney has coached four All-Americans and has three runners who have qualified for nationals in May.

Binney is a special education teacher for the Medford School District.

"It has been difficult to be the only head coach not on campus full time and really do the job justice," she said in a release.

"I don't feel as if I have given the athletes the attention and personal time they truly require at this level. It has been tough to have the time necessary to really move the program forward. I hold the student-athletes dear to my heart and will genuinely miss them."

Binney, a Klamath Falls native, ran for Brigham Young University, then served as head coach for cross country teams at Klamath Union and North Medford.

She then coached the Oregon women's team for two years before joining SOU.

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