VANCOUVER, Wash. — The most accomplished athlete in Southern Oregon University history hit another milestone and made more history on Saturday at the NAIA Women's Cross Country Championships.
Jessa Perkinson, a senior from Roseburg, put on the kind of show the Raiders have become accustomed to with a runner-up performance in the 5,000-meter race at the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site.
With a time of 17 minutes 20 seconds, she notched SOU's best-ever finish at the meet for the third year in a row and became the school's first 10-time overall All-American.
Her effort led the Raiders to 15th place in the team standings while University of British Columbia won the title for the fifth time in six seasons.
Junior Jenna Storms was SOU's second finisher in 69th place with a time of 18:45. The Raiders' other scorers were freshman Shayla Potratz in 109th place (19:07), senior Bree Weber in 155th (19:31) and senior Kim Nava in 234th (20:09) among a field of 338 runners.
"The women were great," SOU head coach Grier Gatlin said. "We just had no room for error, and that's kind of how we thought it would be, but I'm really proud of what they've accomplished."
The Raider men, meanwhile, came up short in their bid to defend the title they won last year. But SOU did have three All-Americans.
Noah Oberriter, Connor Cushman and Kevin Poteracke earned the national honor in the 8K.
Top-ranked British Columbia put all five of its scorers in the top-19 to win in a rout with 41 points to the 68 of second-place Columbia (Missouri). Oklahoma City was third (179) and SOU fourth (193).
It was the Raiders' ninth top-four finish in the last 10 years.
In the women’s race, No. 1 Oklahoma City finished third behind Wayland Baptist. OKC senior Aminat Olowara repeated as the individual champion a year after setting an NAIA-record time, coming in 30 seconds ahead of Perkinson in 16:50.
By the third and final loop, Perkinson and Oliwat separated themselves from the pack along with UBC's Nicola Symonds and OKC's Lydia Mato. Perkinson didn't catch the other two until the final hill, ultimately putting Symonds six seconds behind her and Mato five more.
"The course was deceptively tough but Jessa was awesome and ran very tactically smart," Gatlin said. "She looked like a talented senior athlete and what she's done is pretty incredible."
Perkinson was coming off a third-place finish in 2016. She'd been 13th as a sophomore, her first-ever All-America outing, and 178th as a freshman.
Gatlin called the men’s race “kind of an up-and-down” for the Raiders.
“UBC was the class of the field and no one was going to beat them today," he said. "They were well-prepared, well-coached and just really good. You have to tip your cap."
Oberriter, a junior from Truckee, Calif., placed 16th overall in 25:06. Cushman, a senior from West Linn making his fourth appearance, was an All-American for the second year in a row in 25:13 for 20th place. Poteracke, a senior from Petaluma, California, claimed the 30th and final All-America spot in 25:24.
"Those top three were really good," Gatlin said. "It was a nice finish to a strong season for all of them."
Ray Schireman came in next for the Raiders in 95th overall (26:13), and their final scorer was Caleb Diaz in 97th (26:13).
Mark Shaw, an Oklahoma City sophomore, won the individual title by 10 seconds in 24:09.