As entrances go, one couldn't do much better than Eric Avila in his first race of the season last Saturday at the Stanford Invitational.

Senior halfback Nick Chouard scored two goals and junior forward Lucas Golding and sophomore forward Stenley Graham each had a goal and an assist as 5A Ashland improved to 3-0 against 6A competition with a 6-0 nonconference victory over Crater Wednesday at Ashland Middle School.

Chouard needed just three minutes to tally his two goals, first off a Graham assist in the second minute and then unassisted in the third. Golding tacked on goal No. 3, with an assist by Dylan Woodruff, in the 20th minute and Graham made it 4-0 with a spectacular bicycle kick in the 24th. Golding assisted Graham's score, which came from just outside the penalty box.

Also for the Grizzlies, senior halfback Chris Fuller scored off an assist by freshman forward Tim Dunlop, and senior forward Geronimo Garcia-Ayala dribbled through the Crater defense for an unassisted goal in the second half.

Crater (0-7) was shutout for the fifth time.

Cross Country

As entrances go, one couldn't do much better than Eric Avila in his first race of the season last Saturday at the Stanford Invitational.

The NAIA office deemed Wednesday that it was good enough to make the Southern Oregon University junior the men's cross country national runner of the week.

Avila — who on Monday took Cascade Conference runner of the week kudos for the fourth time since last year — placed seventh out of 243 runners on the 8,000-meter course in Palo Alto, Calif., with a time of 24 minutes, 38 seconds among runners from the likes of Stanford, which is ranked No. 20 in NCAA Division II, along with Chico State and Colorado Mines, which are fourth and sixth in the NCAA DII ranks.

Raiders coach Grier Gatlin said Avila clung to a group of 10 to 12 runners that broke away about a mile and a half into the race.

"He was engaged the whole time and I think just getting the rust off a little bit might have stopped him from winning it because he was reeling a couple guys in at the end, but there was a little bit of a gap created over the last 1,000 meters," Gatlin said. "But that was big-time division I competition and he was just as good as anyone."

Avila's time was 25 seconds better than what he clocked last year at the same race. Gatlin believes he came into the season motivated by what Avila saw as a disappointing finish last fall at the NAIA championships, where he placed 51st.

"He's learned a lot," Gatlin said. "He's definitely setting himself up to do some big things later on this year."

The Raider men were No. 2 for the third straight week in the NAIA rankings, which were also released Wednesday. The Raider women went from 25th to 24th.

Both SOU teams will return to action on Oct. 19 at the Lewis and Clark Invitational, which will be held at McIver State Park in Estacada. The Raiders were originally scheduled to compete at the Santa Clara Bronco Invite on that day.