Riders men, women find equal footing at Florida Cross-USA finals Tallahassee, Fla. — Isaac Fernandez repeated as an All-American and each Southern Oregon University men's and women's Go-USA teams finished ninth at the NAIA Championships Friday morning at Appalachian Regional Park.
Led by Fernandez's 28th-place finish, the Raider men placed four of the top-78 in the 326-character field. Sophomore Lauren Forster paced the Raider women around 55, helping them to the fourth-finest showing in group history.
SOU previously landed the Pinnacle-10 boys and women's standings in the same nationwide race three times.
Riders did it this time under an unusual schedule, the men's 8K starting at 5:30. Pacific Time and 8:30 a.m. Domestically. Fernandez, a senior from Yreka, Calif., still managed his best time of the season — finishing the course in 24 minutes, 43.5 seconds for his 38th-nearest effort of the year.
Sophomore Lincoln Woodhouse logged a PR of 25:03.7 to finish 52nd, and freshman Logan Jones came in 25:09.4 for 61st region. The Raiders' fourth and fifth scorers, Zachary Alexander (25:19.2) and Jensen Salvatori (25:39.1), were 78th and 118th.
The Raider girls surpassed their No. 12 ranking behind Forster's 23-second PR of 18:26.1, which gave her a 118-place improvement over 2021. Alejandra Lopez handed 17 runners to the 83rd region in 18:43. After a 12 month placing at 154th.
Kayla Clayton (18:46.6) and Hailey Brodahl (18:48.8) followed shortly after in 92nd and 96th. Maya Smith (19:00. Four), the fifth and final scorer for the Raiders, placed 112th.
The finish marked a massive improvement for both groups by 2021, with the boys finishing 14th and the women 18th. Dordt (Iowa), ranked third before the race, was an upset winner in the men's field with a 97. Top-seeded Taylor (Ind.) easily won the women's race with five top-19 scorers, adding 50 factors to 2d-place Milligan's (Tenn.) 177.