SOU wrestlers in the hunt after first day of nationals

Eight of Southern Oregon's 12 wrestlers are still alive in the championship bracket after the first day of the NAIA National Wrestling Championships, Thursday in Oklahoma City, Okla.

The Raiders sit in second place in the team race with 38 points. Top-ranked Notre Dame (Ohio) sits on top of the leaderboard with 44 points.

For the Raiders, Mictchell Lofstedt (125 pounds), Brian Jacob (131), Kyle Wirkuty (141), Barry Johnson (141), Jimmy Eggemeyer (149), Chris Platt (184), Ron Lee (197) and John Bates (Hwt) are all still alive in the championship bracket.

Lofstedt and Lee made sure to give the Raiders plenty of bonus points during the opening day with a pair of pins each. Lofstedt won his 39th and 40th matches of the year with his 23rd and 24th pins of the season. Lee also advanced to the quarterfinals with a pair of 4:00 pins.

Jacob, Wirkuty, Johnson and Bates all had a pin each to advance and Eggemeyer had to win three matches during the first day to get to the quarters.

Jared Dalgleish (125), Justin Mills (149), Tommie Hooper (157) and Austin Vanderford (174) are all still alive in the consolation bracket for the Raiders.

"We did a great job going out and getting some bonus points today," SOU head coach Mike Ritchey said. "We are going to have to wrestle very well to stay with Notre Dame."

Notre Dame advance 10 in the championship bracket.

Track and Field

The Southern Oregon track and field team will open the 2010 season Saturday with the 22nd annual Artie Sullivan Invitational at Raider Stadium.

The meet, named after a former SOU track and field student-athlete who passed away in the late 1980s, will feature men's and women's teams from SOU, Oregon Tech, College of the Siskiyous and Southwestern Oregon Community College.

The opening of the season marks the second season for head coach Brent Ericksen. Much like with what he's done with the SOU cross country program, Ericksen has added some much needed depth to the Raider track and field program.

"The most important thing is now we can cover more events,"

Ericksen said. "Last year we hardly had any throwers, very few jumpers and sprinters. Now we are trying to be a more well-rounded track and field team. It's still a work in progress."

Even with the added depth, the 2010 version of Raider track and field will be carried by the distance squads.

David Laney (10,000), Ryan Ghelfi (10,000), Ryan Sorenson (10,000) and Chris Paterson (Steeplechase) are four of the five returning national championship qualifiers.

Newcomers Hector Aleman and Andrew Milne will add some depth on the men's side.

On the women's side, freshman Seena Frantz, junior Tara Krempley and freshman Anya Martinez will be counted on as major point scorers.

The women's squad will also be helped by a trio of new throwers.

Freshmen Holly Haga and Kaitlyn Higgins and junior Tamra Beardsley will all have an immediate impact on the Raiders.

The Raider men will see some added stars in the sprints, hurdles and jumps.

Kwame Agyemang and Wendell Sells should shine in the 100, 200 and relays.

Dennis Olstedt, Zack Elliott and Erik Evasovic will give a men a deep hurdles squad, while Amy Nelson and Chenin Young will run hurdles on the women's side. Young finished third at the Cascade Conference Championships last year.

In the jumps, Seth Lindquist may be SOU's top athlete with the capability to score points in the triple jump, long jump and high jump.

In the multi-events, Alex Waroff is the top returner on the men's side after a trip to the Nationals last year and Rosie Converse is the tops on the women's side.

The Raiders will return to Raider Stadium on March 13th for a dual with Willamette.

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