GULF SHORES, Ala.— Southern Oregon senior Jessa Perkinson became an All-American for the 13th time and the Raider women’s 4x100-meter relay team secured a seat at the same table Thursday on Day 1 of the NAIA Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Mickey Miller Blackwell Stadium.
Perkinson placed fourth of 18 runners in the 10,000 meters, finishing in 37 minutes 13.23 seconds. With Saturday’s 5K final still to go, she’s the first individual in SOU women’s history to attain five All-America plaques at the Outdoor Championships alone, and each one has been the result of a top-five showing.
Ray Schireman ran the Raiders’ only other final of the night, the men’s 10K, and took 13th of 22 in 32:50.85 following a lightning delay to end his career with his best-ever finish at the Outdoor Championships.
For the second year in a row and third time in school history, SOU’s 4x100 team will also have All-America status regardless of how Saturday’s final turns out. In 47.03 seconds, the No. 8-seeded quartet of Savannah Greenwade, Arianna Daniel, Margot Hamman and Lindsey Bonney was the eighth and final team to qualify in Thursday’s prelims. They beat out ninth-place Xavier-Louisiana, which came in at 47.21 in a separate heat.
The men’s 4x100 team wrapped its season at 16th place in the prelims, recording a time of 41.93 seconds with Hayden Saparto, Eli Chapman, Aidan Tank and Rey Vega. The final qualifier, McPherson (Kan.), finished in 41.41.
Three other Raiders were short of qualifying: Chapman in the 200 prelims, where he was 27th of 34 in 22.07 seconds, and Jenna Storms and Bree Weber in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. Storms was the first person left out the final, 2 seconds back of the final qualifier at 11:29.11 for 15th place, and Weber was 17th of 24 in 11:38.29.
Thursday was also the first of two days of the multi events. Through five of 10 disciplines in the men’s decathlon, Joseph Dotson sits in 11th of 16 with 3,318 points — a higher total than he posted on Day 1 last year (3,295) before jumping from ninth to second place on Day 2. He capped the outing with a personal best of 50.35 in the 400 for 799 points and is separated from the leader, Westmont’s Pieter Top, by just 328 points.
Through four of seven events in the women’s heptathlon, Loghan Sprauer is in 16th place with 2,363 points. Her highlight was a time of 25.28 in the 200, which netted her 861 points.
Perkinson cleared the fifth-place finisher by 16 seconds in the 10K. The race was dominated by Oklahoma City’s Aminat Olowora, who clocked in at 34:53.20 to win by 86 seconds and pad a résumé that already included two NAIA cross country championships and an indoor 3K title. Perkinson will see her again in the 5K, the prelims for which were scrapped. Saturday’s final will comprise 14 runners.